Document Type

Article

Publication Date

May 2004

Journal or Book Title

Journal of Abnormal Psychology

Volume

113

Issue

2

Abstract

Personality disorders are presumed to be stable because of underlying stable and maladaptive personality traits, but while previous research has demonstrated a link between personality traits and personality disorders cross-sectionally, personality disorders and personality traits have not been linked longitudinally. This study explores the extent to which relevant personality traits are stable in individuals diagnosed with 4 personality disorders (schizotypal, borderline, avoidant, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders) and examines the assumption that these personality disorders are stable by virtue of stable personality traits. This assumption was tested via the estimation of a series of latent longitudinal models that evaluated whether changes in relevant personality traits lead to subsequent changes in personality disorders. In addition to offering large consistency estimates for personality traits and personality disorders, the results demonstrate significant cross-lagged relationships between trait change and later disorder change for 3 of the 4 personality disorders studied.