Marko Biberdzic*, Karin Ensink, Lina Normandin and John F. Clarkin Pages 127 - 151 ( 25 )
Background and Goals: Despite general agreement that personality disorders (PDs) have their roots in childhood and adolescence, diagnosing PDs in adolescence remains a topic of debate. Reluctance to diagnose PDs in youth has been supported by the paucity of adapted measures of adolescent personality and by findings suggesting that a PD diagnosis may be less stable and reliable in adolescence. However, despite the reported instability of categorically defined diagnoses, there is increasing evidence that early maladaptive personality traits are predictive of future personality functioning. A more dimensional approach for the assessment of personality pathology in adolescence as well as new assessment measures are thus needed. The aim of this study was to examine the psychometric properties of the adolescent version of the Inventory of Personality Organization (IPO-A), a measure that allows both a categorical and dimensional approach to personality assessment. Moreover, potential differences between adolescents and young adults regarding specific dimensions of personality organization were investigated.
Method: Participants included 430 adolescents (M = 16 years old) and 448 young adults (M = 24 years old) from the community. Exploratory structural equation modeling analyses were conducted on both samples.
Results: Results suggest that the IPO-A is a valid and reliable instrument for assessing personality functioning in adolescents. Adolescents also reported significantly higher scores on four of the five dimensions, indicating more severe identity disturbance; more impaired reality testing; more aggression; and poorer moral functioning than adults. Significant differences were also observed among adolescents of different age groups as well as between boys and girls in terms of the five identified factors of the IPO-A. Adolescent girls experienced significantly more difficulties with regard to an unstable sense of self and others, and had poorer moral functioning than adolescent boys.
Conclusion: From a developmental point of view, a narcissistic reaction may be solicited in the context of the developmental challenges of adolescence and emerging adulthood, which may not necessarily be a part of an enduring stance and pathological narcissism.
Personality organization, personality assessment, personality disorders, adolescence, narcissism.
Ecole de Psychologie, Universite Laval, Quebec, Ecole de Psychologie, Universite Laval, Quebec, Ecole de Psychologie, Universite Laval, Quebec, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY