Deriving an empirical structure of personality pathology for DSM-5

Robert F. Krueger, Nicholas R. Eaton, Lee Anna Clark, David Watson, Kristian E. Markon, Jaime Derringer, Andrew Skodol, W. John Livesley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The DSM-IV model of personality disorders is composed of trait sets arranged into 10 theoretically distinct, polythetically assessed categories, with little regard for how the traits comprising these disorders are interrelated and structured. Research since the publication of DSM-III has shown that this model is untenable. The question is not whether this model needs revision; rather, the question is how to move from the existing DSM-IV framework to a model better connected with data. Empirically- based models of personality trait variation provide a starting point for DSM-5, and ongoing research will be used to delineate further the empirical structure of personality traits in the pathological range. The ultimate goal is to frame future DSMs in a way that is maximally useful for clinicians as well as researchers. It is also critical to understand that the DSM-5 is intended to be a living document that will facilitate novel inquiry and clinical applications, as opposed to a document designed to promote and perpetuate a fixed set of constructs. Thus, we view a proposed trait system as a first step on a path to a wellvalidated, clinically-useful structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-191
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Personality Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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