Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 233, Issue 7, pp 2021–2028 | Cite as

DSM-5 personality traits discriminate between posttraumatic stress disorder and control groups

  • Lisa M. James
  • Samantha L. Anders
  • Carly K. Peterson
  • Brian E. Engdahl
  • Robert F. Krueger
  • Apostolos P. Georgopoulos
Research Article


The relevance of personality traits to the study of psychopathology has long been recognized, particularly in terms of understanding patterns of comorbidity. In fact, a multidimensional personality trait model reflecting five higher-order personality dimensions—negative affect, detachment, antagonism, disinhibition, and psychoticism—is included in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and represented in the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5). However, evaluation of these dimensions and underlying personality facets within clinical samples has been limited. In the present study, we utilized the PID-5 to evaluate the personality profile elevation and composition of 150 control veterans and 35 veterans diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Results indicated that veterans with PTSD endorsed significantly more personality pathology than control veterans, with scores on detachment and psychoticism domains most clearly discriminating between the two groups. When personality domain scores were considered as parts of each subject’s personality profile, a slightly different picture emerged. Specifically, the PTSD composition was primarily characterized by detachment and negative affect, followed by disinhibition, psychoticism, and antagonism in that order of relative importance. The profile of the control group was significantly different, mostly accounted for differences in antagonism and psychoticism. Using these complementary analytic strategies, the findings demonstrate the relevance of personality pathology to PTSD, highlight internalizing features of PTSD, and pave the way for future research aimed at evaluating the role of shared maladaptive personality traits in underlying the comorbidity of PTSD and related disorders.


PTSD Personality traits DSM-5 PID-5 



We gratefully acknowledge the data collection and data management efforts of Kari Johnson, Alina Shub, Alexandra Alcorn, and Ryan Miller. This research was supported in part by service directed grants from the United States Department of Veterans Administration, the University of Minnesota American Legion Brain Sciences Chair (A.P. Georgopoulos), and the University of Minnesota Anderson Chair for PTSD Research (B.E. Engdahl).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Informed consent

The study protocol was approved by the institutional review board at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and was performed in accordance with the ethical standards outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki. All subjects provided written informed consent prior to participating in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa M. James
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Samantha L. Anders
    • 1
    • 4
  • Carly K. Peterson
    • 1
    • 5
  • Brian E. Engdahl
    • 1
    • 3
    • 6
    • 7
  • Robert F. Krueger
    • 6
  • Apostolos P. Georgopoulos
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 7
    • 8
  1. 1.Brain Sciences Center, Minneapolis VA Medical CenterMinneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care SystemMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.Center for Cognitive SciencesUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  4. 4.Hennepin County Medical CenterMinneapolisUSA
  5. 5.Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care SystemMinneapolisUSA
  6. 6.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  7. 7.Department of NeuroscienceUniversity of Minnesota Medical SchoolMinneapolisUSA
  8. 8.Department of NeurologyUniversity of Minnesota Medical SchoolMinneapolisUSA

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