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

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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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2021-2028
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 15 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
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).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA).


  • DSM-5
  • PID-5
  • PTSD
  • Personality traits


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