Connecting DSM-5 Personality Traits and Pathological Beliefs: Toward a Unifying Model

  • Christopher J. Hopwood
  • Nick Schade
  • Robert F. Krueger
  • Aidan G. C. Wright
  • Kristian E. Markon


Dissatisfaction with the DSM-IV model of personality disorders has led to the development of alternative conceptualizations, including pathological trait models and models linked to particular theoretical approaches, such as Beck and Freeman’s (1990) cognitive framework. An important issue involves the potential to interweave such models into a single, parsimonious system that combines their distinct advantages. In this study, pathological trait and dysfunctional belief data from 616 individuals in a non-clinical sample were evaluated for commensurability using structural equation modeling. These models can be integrated via five higher-order factors, and that specific dimensions of dysfunctional beliefs can be differentiated based on features of the DSM-5 trait model. Overall, these results suggest that traits provide scaffolding for individual differences in pathological personality, within which dysfunctional beliefs offer specific vectors for clinical intervention in a cognitive framework. Implications of the empirical commensurability of trait and cognitive models are discussed.


Personality disorders Traits Schema Dysfunctional beliefs DSM-5 


  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text-Revised (DSM-IV-TR). Washington: Author.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beck, A. T., & Beck, J. S. (1991). The Personality Belief Questionnaire. Bala Cynwid: The Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research.Google Scholar
  3. Beck, A. T., & Freeman, A. (1990). Cognitive Therapy of Personality Disorders. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  4. Beck, A. T., Butler, A. C., Brown, G. K., Dahlsgaard, K. K., Newman, C. F., & Beck, J. S. (2001). Dysfunctional beliefs discriminate personality disorders. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 39, 1213–1225.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Benjamin, L. S. (1996). Interpersonal diagnosis and treatment of personality disorders. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  6. Boden, M. T., John, O. P., Goldin, P. R., Werner, K., Heimberg, R. G., & Gross, J. J. (2012). The role of maladaptive beliefs in cognitive-behavioral therapy: evidence from social anxiety disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 50, 287–291.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Butler, A. C., Beck, A. T., & Cohen, L. H. (2007). The personality belief questionnaire-short form: development and preliminary findings. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 31, 357–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clark, L. A. (2007). Assessment and diagnosis of personality disorder: perenniel issues and emerging conceptualization. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 227–258.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Eaton, N. R., Krueger, R. F., South, S. C., Simms, L. J., & Clark, L. A. (2011). Contrasting prototypes and dimensions in the classification of personality pathology: evidence that dimensions, but not prototypes, are robust. Psychological Medicine, 41, 1151–1163.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fournier, J.C., DeRubeis, R.J., & Beck, A.T. (2012). Dysfunctional cognitions in personality pathology: The structure and validity of the Personality Beliefs Questionnaire. Psychological Medicine, 42, 795–805.Google Scholar
  11. Hopwood, C. J., Donnellan, M. B., Blonigen, D. M., Krueger, R. F., McGue, M., Iacono, W. G., & Burt, S. A. (2011). Genetic and environmental influences on personality trait stability and growth during the transition to adulthood: a three wave longitudinal study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 545–556.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hopwood, C. J., Thomas, K. M., Markon, K. E., Wright, A. G. C., & Krueger, R. F. (2012). DSM-5 traits and DSM-IV personality disorders. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 121, 424–432.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ingram, R. E., & Hollon, S. D. (1986). Cognitive therapy of depression from an information processing perspective. In R. E. Ingram (Ed.), Information processing approaches to clinical psychology. Orlando: Academic.Google Scholar
  14. Kendler, K. S., Aggen, S. H., Czajkowski, N., Roysamb, E., Tambs, K., Torgersen, S., Neale, M. C., & Reichborn-Kjennerud, T. (2008). The structure of genetic and environmental risk factors for DSM-IV personality disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry, 65, 1438–1444.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kernberg, O. F. (1984). Severe personality disorders: Psychotherapeutic strategies. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Kessler, R. C., Berglund, P., Demler, O., Jin, R., Merikangus, K. R., & Walters, E. F. (2005). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Study Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, 593–602.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Krueger, R. F., Eaton, N. R., Derringer, J., Markon, K. E., Watson, D., & Skodol, A. E. (2011). Personality in DSM-5: helping delineate personality disorder content and framing the meta-structure. Journal of Personality Assessment, 93, 325–331.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Krueger, R. F., Derringer, J., Markon, K. E., Watson, D., & Skodol, A. E. (2012). Initial construction of a maladaptive personality trait model and inventory for DSM-5. Psychological Medicine, 42, 1879–1890.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lenzenweger, M. F. (2008). Epidemiology of personality disorders. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 31, 395–403.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lynam, D. R., & Widiger, T. A. (2001). Using the five factor model to represent the DSM-IV personality disorders: an expert consensus approach. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 110, 401–412.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Markon, K.E. (2012). The development of an informant-report form of the PID-5: Rationale and initial results. Paper presented at the Society for Personality Assessment, Chicago IL.Google Scholar
  22. Markon, K. E., Krueger, R. F., & Watson, D. (2005). Delineating the structure of normal and abnormal personality: an integrative hierarchical approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 139–157.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Miller, J. D., Bagby, R. M., Pilkonis, P. A., Reynolds, S. K., & Lynam, D. R. (2005). A simplified technique for scoring the DSM-IV personality disorders with the five-factor model. Assessment, 12, 404–415.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nestadt, G., Hsu, G., Samuels, J., Bienvenu, O. J., Reti, I., Costa, P. T., Jr., & Eaton, W. W. (2006). Latent structure of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition personality disorder criteria. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 47, 54–62.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Samuel, D. B., Simms, L. J., Clark, L. A., Livesley, W. J., & Widiger, T. A. (2010). An item response theory integration of normal and abnormal personality scales. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 1, 5–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Shedler, J., Beck, A. T., Fonagy, P., Gabbard, G. O., Gunderson, J., Kernberg, O., Michels, R., & Westen, D. (2010). Personality Disorders in DSM-5. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 167, 1026–1028.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Thomas, K.M., Yalch, M.M., Krueger, R.F., Wright, A.G.C., Markon, K.E., & Hopwood, C.J. (2012). The convergent structure of DSM-5 personality trait faces and Five Factor Model trait domains. Assessment. doi:10.1177/1073191112457589.
  28. Trull, T. J., Goodwin, A. H., Schopp, L. H., Hillenbrand, T. L., & Schuster, T. (1993). Psychometric properties of a cognitive measure of personality disorders. Journal of Personality Assessment, 61, 536–546.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. van Kampen, D. (2000). Idiographic complexity and the common personality dimensions insensitivity, extraversion, neuroticism, and orderliness. European Journal of Personality, 14, 217–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Warner, M. B., Morey, L. C., Finch, J. F., Gunderson, J. G., Skodol, A. E., Sanislow, C. A., Shea, M. T., McGlashan, T. H., & Grilo, C. M. (2004). The longitudinal relationship of personality traits and disorders. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 113, 217–227.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Widiger, T. A., & Trull, T. J. (2007). Plate tectonics in the classification of personality disorder: shifting to a dimensional model. American Psychologist, 62, 71–83.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wright, A. G. C., Pincus, A. L., & Lenzenweger, M. F. (2011). Development of personality and remission and onset of personality pathology. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 1351–1358.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wright, A. G. C., Pincus, A. L., Hopwood, C. J., Thomas, K. M., Markon, K. E., & Krueger, R. F. (2012a). An interpersonal analysis of pathological personality traits in DSM-5. Assessment, 19, 263–275.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wright, A.G.C., Pincus, A.L., & Lenzenweger, M.F. (2012b). A parallel process growth model of avoidant personality disorder symptoms and personality traits. Personality Disorder: Theory, Research, and Treatment. doi:10.1037/a0027773.
  35. Wright, A.G.C., Thomas, K.M., Hopwood, C.J., Markon, K.E., Pincus, A.L., & Krueger, R.F. (2012c). The hierarchical structure of DSM-5 pathological personality traits. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. doi:10.1037/a0027669.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher J. Hopwood
    • 1
    • 5
  • Nick Schade
    • 1
  • Robert F. Krueger
    • 2
  • Aidan G. C. Wright
    • 3
  • Kristian E. Markon
    • 4
  1. 1.Michigan State UniversityLansingUSA
  2. 2.University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.Western Psychiatric Institute and ClinicPittsburghUSA
  4. 4.University of IowaIowa CityUSA
  5. 5.Clinical PsychologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

Personalised recommendations