Symptom-level analysis of <em>DSM–IV/DSM–5</em> personality pathology in later life: Hierarchical structure and predictive validity across self- and informant ratings.

Dissatisfaction with the categorical model of personality disorder led to several investigations on alternative, dimensional systems. The majority of these studies were conducted at the syndrome-level where each diagnostic criterion is summed or averaged within each disorder. Studies at the symptom-level have identified symptom dimensions that define and cut across categories, but the number and nature of dimensions varies across studies. The purpose of the present study was to examine the hierarchical structure and impact of personality pathology at the symptom-level across self- and informant ratings in a large community sample of older adults (N = 1,630; ages 55 to 64). Results indicated that multiple structural patterns can be organized within a common hierarchical framework, with a general factor of maladjustment at the top, 2 broad dimensions of internalizing and externalizing pathology directly below, and progressively more specific symptom dimensions toward the bottom. Factors at each level of the hierarchy were similar across self- and informant ratings. The 4-factor model showed significant incremental validity in predicting a range of life outcomes over simpler models, while increasingly complex models incrementally but modestly improved predictive power. Several consistencies emerged between the current findings and prior factor analytic studies. The most unexpected result was the conspicuous absence of a disinhibition factor reflecting antisocial and impulsivity-related problems. This anomaly may involve the older age of our sample and the changing expression of personality pathology in later life. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)