Personality Pathology Assessed by Self- and Other Report: Implications for Martial Satisfaction and Conflict

South, Susan Carol, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
Turkheimer, Eric, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia

Even though the diagnosis of personality disorder requires the presence of interpersonal impairment, no study to date has examined the relationship between personality pathology and dysfunction in marriage-a relationship most people find central to their lives. Further, even though many of the criteria for personality disorders have either a negative bias or require an individual to possess insight into his or her own maladaptive behavior, few studies have examined whether spouses may be a unique source of information beyond the target of interest. The primary aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between marital adjustment and personality pathology. A thorough battery of selfand informant-report measures of personality, including two personality disorder inventories in addition to more normative personality trait measures, was collected from each target and his or her spouse, as well as two knowledgeable informants per spouse. Outcome measures consisted of marital satisfaction, verbal aggression, and severe violence as reported by both spouses. Multilevel modeling was used to estimate the unique contributions of self-, spouse, and informant-report of personality on marital adjustment. Self-other agreement for PD traits was significant but moderate. Significant correlations between spouse-report and informant-report provided further evidence of the limits of self-report in the assessment of personality pathology. Multilevel modeling demonstrated that PD features explained between 25-400f the variance in marital adjustment. Discrepancy between self-report and spouse-report was related to satisfaction for wives but not husbands. For marital conflict behaviors, the best predictor was rating of a target's personality by their spouse; in other words, spouses who iv were verbally and physically aggressive were seen by their partners as higher in various personality pathology features.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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