Age specific and age neutral expressions of personality functioning in adolescents: towards developmentally sensitive severity markers of personality pathology

[Speaker] Rossi, Gina:1
1:Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) (Belgium)

Up-to-date DSM-5 criterion A, or the level of personality functioning, has not been empirically examined in adolescents. We investigated which items of the Severity Indices of Personality Problems-118 were developmentally sensitive throughout adolescence and adulthood and which could be considered more age-specific markers. We detected Differential Item Functioning (DIF) in 29% of the items in matched samples of 639 adolescents versus 639 adults. The DIF across age-groups mainly reflected a different degree of symptom expressions for the same underlying level of functioning, which implies the need for age-specific norms. The threshold for exhibiting symptoms given a certain degree of personality dysfunction was lower in adolescence for facets related to the 'Self' and 'Interpersonal' domain. Some items also measured a different latent construct of personality functioning across adolescents and adults, suggesting these facets do not solely measure aspects of personality pathology in adolescents, but likely include more developmental issues.
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