Background. Self-report instruments assessing the DSM personality disorders are characterized by overdiagnosis due to their emphasis on the measurement of personality traits rather than the impairment and distress associated with the criteria.
Methods. The ADP-IV, a Dutch questionnaire, introduces an alternative assessment method: each test item assesses ‘Trait’ as well as ‘Distress/impairment’ characteristics of a DSM-IV criterion. This item format allows dimensional as well as categorical diagnostic evaluations. The present study explores the validity of the ADP-IV in a sample of 659 subjects of the Flemish population.
Results. The dimensional personality disorder subscales, measuring Trait characteristics, are internally consistent and display a good concurrent validity with the Wisconsin Personality Disorders Inventory. Factor analysis at the item-level resulted in 11 orthogonal factors, describing personality dimensions such as psychopathy, social anxiety and avoidance, negative affect and self-image. Factor analysis at the subscale-level identified two basic dimensions, reflecting hostile (DSM-IV Cluster B) and anxious (DSM-IV Cluster C) interpersonal attitudes. Categorical ADP-IV diagnoses are obtained using scoring algorithms, which emphasize the Trait or the Distress concepts in the diagnostic evaluation. Prevalences of ADP-IV diagnoses of any personality disorder according to these algorithms vary between 2·28 and 20·64%.
Conclusions. Although further research in clinical samples is required, the present results support the validity of the ADP-IV and the potential of the measurement of trait and distress characteristics as a method for assessing personality pathology.
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