An empirical examination of distributional assumptions underlying the relationship between personality disorder symptoms and personality traits

Aidan G.C. Wright, Aaron L. Pincus, Mark F. Lenzenweger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article examines the relationship between personality disorder (PD) symptoms and personality traits using a variety of distributional assumptions. Prior work in this area relies almost exclusively on linear models that treat PD symptoms as normally distributed and continuous. However, these assumptions rarely hold, and thus the results of prior studies are potentially biased. Here we explore the effect of varying the distributions underlying regression models relating PD symptomatology to personality traits using the initial wave of the Longitudinal Study of Personality Disorders (N = 250; Lenzenweger, 1999), a university-based sample selected to include PD rates resembling epidemiological samples. PD symptoms were regressed on personality traits. The distributions underlying the dependent variable (i.e., PD symptoms) were variously modeled as normally distributed, as counts (Poisson, Negative-Binomial), and with two-part mixture distributions (zero-inflated, hurdle). We found that treating symptoms as normally distributed resulted in violations of model assumptions, that the negative-binomial and hurdle models were empirically equivalent, but that the coefficients achieving significance often differ depending on which part of the mixture distributions are being predicted (i.e., presence vs. severity of PD). Results have implications for how the relationship between normal and abnormal personality is understood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-706
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of abnormal psychology
Volume121
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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