A bifactor model of personality organization in adolescence: the validity of a brief screening measure assessing severity and core domains of functioning

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BMC Psychiatry


Background: Both the latest edition of the DSM-5 as well as the new ICD-11 have established a new focus in the diagnosis of personality disorders: the assessment of personality functioning. This recent shift in focus converges with long-standing psychodynamic conceptualizations of personality pathology, particularly Kernberg’s object relations model. Although a significant amount of research supports these models in adults, much less is known about the validity of these frameworks in youth. Considering the paucity of brief measures of personality functioning in adolescents, the current study aimed to develop and investigate the validity of the Inventory of Personality Organization for Adolescents—Short Form, a theoretically-informed measure assessing severity and core domains of functioning in adolescents. Methods: A total sample of N = 525 adolescents aged 13 to 19 years were recruited through a community University-Health Psychology Clinic as current patients (n = 94) or who responded to an online research call (n = 431). Results: Results indicate that a bifactor model provided the best fit to the data and consisted of a general factor reflecting core self-other functioning and three specific factors, representing additional dimensions of personality organization. Conclusions: A brief 15-item version of the IPO-A was successfully derived for time-efficient screening of personality pathology in youth. Similarities with the ICD-11 framework are discussed.

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