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Personality pathology constitutes a major form of psychopathology in adolescents.
To examine the reliability and validity of a Q-sort instrument for assessing adolescent personality pathology designed for clinically experienced informants.
A sample of 294 randomly selected psychiatrists and psychologists each provided data on a current patient, aged 14–18 years. Clinicians completed several measures, including the Shedler–Westen Assessment Procedure for Adolescents (SWAP–200–A).
Factor analysis identified II dimensions of adolescent personality: psychopathology/malignant narcissism, dysphoria/inhibition, psychological health, histrionic sexualisation, schizotypy, sexual conflict, emotional dysregulation, anxious obsessionality, peer rejection, delinquent behaviour and attentional dysregulation. These correlated in predicted ways with a range of criterion variables, including measures of adaptive functioning, Axis II pathology, the Five Factor Model and the Child Behavior Checklist.
The SWAP–200–A shows promise as an instrument for assessing personality pathology in adolescents. Trait dimensions such as delinquent behaviour and emotional dysregulation may prove useful additions to a classification of personality.
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