Personality heterogeneity in PTSD: Distinct temperament and interpersonal typologies

Katherine M. Thomas, Christopher J. Hopwood, M. Brent Donnellan, Aidan G.C. Wright, Charles A. Sanislow, Meghan E. McDevitt-Murphy, Emily B. Ansell, Carlos M. Grilo, Thomas H. McGlashan, M. Tracie Shea, John C. Markowitz, Andrew E. Skodol, Mary C. Zanarini, Leslie C. Morey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Researchers examining personality typologies of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have consistently identified 3 groups: low pathology, internalizing, and externalizing. These groups have been found to predict functional severity and psychiatric comorbidity. In this study, we employed Latent Profile Analysis to compare this previously established typology, grounded in temperament traits (negative emotionality; positive emotionality; constraint), to a novel typology rooted in interpersonal traits (dominance; warmth) in a sample of individuals with PTSD (n = 155). Using Schedule for Nonadaptive and Adaptive Personality (SNAP) traits to create latent profiles, the 3-group temperament model was replicated. Using Interpersonal Circumplex (IPC) traits to create latent profiles, we identified a 4-group solution with groups varying in interpersonal style. These models were nonredundant, indicating that the depiction of personality variability in PTSD depends on how personality is assessed. Whereas the temperament model was more effective for distinguishing individuals based on distress and comorbid disorders, the interpersonal model was more effective for predicting the chronicity of PTSD over the 10 year course of the study. We discuss the potential for integrating these complementary temperament and interpersonal typologies in the clinical assessment of PTSD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-34
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological Assessment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Interpersonal pathoplasticity
  • Latent profile analysis
  • PTSD
  • Personality assessment
  • Temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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