The mediating role of identity disturbance in the relationship between emotion dysregulation, executive function deficits, and maladaptive personality traits
2020 Difficulties in emotion regulation, executive function, and identity are central concerns associated with maladaptive personality functioning. However, no prior research has looked at the shared influence of these variables, and the central role of identity disturbance. The aim of this study was therefore to address the gaps in the current literature regarding the relationship between emotion dysregulation, executive dysfunction, and identity disturbance in individuals presenting with maladaptive personality traits. Structural equation modelling was used to analyse the mediating effect of identity disturbance on the relationship between both emotion dysregulation and executive dysfunction with maladaptive personality traits, among 212 university students aged 18-25. Identity disturbance partially mediated the relationship between emotion dysregulation and maladaptive personality traits, and fully mediated the relationship between executive dysfunction and maladaptive personality traits. Our results suggest that identity disturbance is a central construct involved in the manifestation of maladaptive personality traits. Whilst emotion dysregulation maintains an influence on the development of maladaptive personality traits, identity disturbance explains part of this relationship, as well as the relationship between executive dysfunction and maladaptive personality traits. Implications of these findings are discussed.