Dimensional Personality Disorder Assessment

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Overview

      The Dimensional Personality Disorder Assessment is a diagnostic tool which is designed to measure the respondant's full spectrum of personality traits for those criteria defined as personality disorders according to DSM IV. This test does not attempt to determine WHETHER OR NOT the respondant has a given personality disorder, but rather to create a multidimensional assessment of HOW MUCH OF EACH ONE the respondant has; thus assuming that each individual will score at least minutely for each of the personality disorders as defined in DSM IV.

      Since personality disorders are not yet assessed in a dimensional manner but rather a categorical manner, several advantages to measuring PD's in a dimensional fashion will be highlighted. There are important psycho-social consequences to being labeled as having one disorder or another as opposed to possessing small amounts of each one, with perhaps larger amounts of some than others. Patients who fit the DSM IV criteria for possessing a certain personality disorder are currently assumed to all fit into one group together both in terms of diagnosis and treatment. However, if patients were assessed not on the ground of which personality diorders they display, but rather on the grounds of how much of each one they display, this would not only serve to individualize the diagnosis and care of each patient, but it would also likely uncover thus far hidden correlations between the various levels of each personality disorder. In other words, patients would not only be seen as more individualized and unique, but it is likely that future treatment options will be discovered as a result of research into the correlations between varying levels of each personality disorder in any given individual. This course would also lead to earlier diagnosis (and perhaps treatment) of individuals who have not yet fully developed personality disorders (according to DSM IV criteria) because it is likely that correlations between even small amounts of any given personality disorder trait will be discovered given a dimensional model.

      The validity of this personality disorder instrument will be demonstrated by two criteria: 1) how well personality disorder scores on this test correlate to pre-existing individual practitioner diagnoses, and 2) The correlations that can be demonstrated in sub-disorder levels of each (presumed) pathological personality trait, as well as those that can be demonstrated in disorder level personality traits (as defined by DSM IV). Any correlations between personality traits measured by this instrument may be assumed to demonstrate the efficacy of a dimensional model of personality disorder assessment, even though the statistical and scientific validity of this particular instrument may not yet be demonstrated.

      It must be stated here that the author made no attempts to define or classify personality disorders outside of the confines of those detailed in DSM IV. The author is no particular advocate of the DSM IV model of classification, but is merely wishing to ascertain whether a dimensional model of assessment will 1) correlate with current diagnostic results, and 2) be more useful and informative than a categorical diagnostic approach.

      In addition to providing a numerical and graphical output relating to each respondant's individual scores for each personality disorder, this instrument additionally tests for discordance among similarly worded questions presented by the respondant. This score is refered to as the discord rate and will be measured both according to each individual criteria for each disorder, and averaged out for each disorder in general. In other words, a person with "narcissistic personality disorder" may be conflicted about his/her acceptance of these traits and answer in a discordant manner to similarly worded questions (criteria). This test will not only measure the rate of discord for each criteria but the overall level of discord for each personality disorder as a whole. It is assumed that it is of some importance to what degree any given individual is conflicted about admitting to or accepting that a given personality trait may or may not apply to him/her. This discordance rate till be made available to proctors and practitioners who possess the code to unlock this dataset from this instrument.

      It is hoped by the author that this test will be given by individual practitioners to their patients and that researchers will attempt to demonstrate or criticize it's validity as a scientific and statistical instrument. Comments are welcome at the address specified below. Any input or criticism of this instrument is welcomed by the authors and by the scientific community to which it is dedicated. Thank you.