Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award

Summer 9-1-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Thomas F Oltmanns


Psychological disorders would not be considered as such if they did not result in some form of dysfunction. Yet, the assessment of impairment remains considerably flawed. Typical instruments used to measure impairment are susceptible to criterion contamination (e.g., explicitly confounding symptoms with impairment, as a result of mood-biased responses involved in self report). Additionally, individuals with personality pathology seem likely to underreport impairment, either due to a lack of insight or because of the manifestations of impairment assessed. The current project aimed to demonstrate the concurrent validity of a newly-developed, informant-reported measure of social impairment (the Scale of Unpleasant Relational Conduct Effects, SOURCE). To do this, we used first used psychopathology to predict SOURCE scores, to establish that the SOURCE achieves a basic expected relationship. We then used the SOURCE to predict psychopathology, as well as pathology-related outcomes (e.g., legal trouble), while accounting for scores on a self-report social impairment measure. This was done to determine whether the SOURCE provided any added predictive benefit. Results demonstrate a robust relationship between the SOURCE and personality pathology, even after accounting for a more typical assessment of social impairment. Significant relationships were not found between the SOURCE and Major Depression, or between the SOURCE and substance use disorder diagnosis. Ancillary research questions identified the SOURCE as a potentially useful screening tool for personality pathology, as its demonstrated good specificity and negative predictive power. These results contribute to the growing literature supporting the utility of informant report in the assessment of personality pathology and related dysfunction. They also suggest that the kind of social impairment experienced by individuals with maladaptive personality traits might not be adequately captured by existing measures.


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