Advancing the DSM-5 Section III Alternative Personality Disorder Model

Restricted (Penn State Only)
Roche, Michael J
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
December 08, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Aaron Lee Pincus, Dissertation Advisor
  • David E Conroy, Committee Member
  • Michelle Gayle Newman, Committee Member
  • Stephen Jeffrey Wilson, Committee Member
  • DSM
  • personality disorder
  • assessment
The DSM-5 Personality and Personality Disorder (P&PD) Workgroup proposed several changes to the assessment of personality dysfunction. Their proposal was rejected and placed into Section III of the DSM-5 highlighting alternative measures and models needing further research. This dissertation reviews the changes proposed by the P&PD workgroup, focusing on the revised definition of general personality dysfunction (GPD), represented along a single dimension of functioning. Using cross-sectional self-reports and a two-week diary study, the GPD construct is evaluated for its structural validity, symptom course, and ability to predict costs to individuals and society. Several candidate dimensions from evolutionary theory, interpersonal theory, object relations theory and self-psychology are then proposed to capture GPD, and evaluated based on their theoretical contributions, consistency with DSM-5 definition of personality dysfunction, clinical utility, and empirical validity. Recommendations for which dimensions optimally operationalize personality dysfunction are presented, a crucial step in advancing research on the P&PD workgroup proposal to migrate it into the diagnostic section (Section II) of the next DSM revision.