Measuring the Psychosocial Dysfunction of Personality Traits: Comparisons Between Self-Report, Informant-Report, and Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR) Observations of Daily Behavior
Calabrese, William R.
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Decades of personality assessment research have shown the advantages of using a dimensional trait system to measure Personality Disorder (PD) patterns. This work is recognized in the alternative model for PD diagnosis in Section III of DSM-5, which includes systems for measuring personality traits as well as personality functioning (dysfunction). The present study tested the validity of this model by assessing the unique components of traits and dysfunction by (1) comparing how self-reports of these constructs relate with maladaptive daily behavior coded from audio clips captured by the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR) and (2) assessing how informant-reports of these constructs compare with self-reports in their prediction of these daily behaviors. Analyses targeted antagonistic traits (i.e., Dark Triad traits) that may involve inaccurate insight into related dysfunction. Seventy-three target-informant dyads completed all study procedures and an average of 253 audio clips across 4 days were transcribed and coded for the targets. As predicted, correlations between traits and dysfunction were significantly stronger within informant- than target-ratings at baseline. Contrary to hypotheses, target- and informant-ratings of both traits and dysfunction equally predicted daily behavior. However, important differences existed at the facet-level. Specifically, informant-ratings of PID-5 Grandiosity were more strongly related to maladaptive daily behaviors (e.g., unnecessary yelling, less positive affect in interactions) than target-ratings and target-ratings of SIPP-SF Social Concordance and Self-Control were more strongly related to behaviors (e.g., being mad and arguing) than informant-ratings. Findings underscore the importance of using multiple methods to assess personality pathology and related dysfunction.