Loyola University Maryland

Emerging Scholars

Christopher Metzger, Martin F. Sherman, Ph.D., Ralph L. Piedmont, Ph.D., Matthew W. Kirkhart, Ph.D.

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Psychometric Properties of the Experiential Permeability Inventory Short Form

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The diagnostic criteria of personality disorders (PDs) that has been set forth by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, has been a focal point in research, receiving much criticism, ever since personality disorders were assigned their own axis (Axis II), in the DSM-III (American Psychiatric Association, 1980). There are numerous problems that have been identified with the current diagnostic framework presented in the DSM-IV including; co-morbidity, heterogeneity, lack of empirical support, diagnostic overlap, lack of clinical utility (e.g., citations) including the most frequently diagnosed PD, “Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified” (PDNOS). In the publication of the DSM-V, the axis system separating PD’s from other disorders on Axis- II was removed, however, PD’s are still diagnosed by the same categorical model present in the DSM-IV. As a potential solution to these previous problems Costa and McCrae (2002) have argued that personality pathology would be better served under a dimensional model, as opposed to the categorical model of the DSM-IV. The DSM-V does however provide an alternative model, following a dimensional framework. There have been many different proposals for which specific dimensional model of personality should be utilized in the understanding of personality pathology (e.g., citations). However the Five-Factor Model (FFM), which breaks personality into five dimensions (Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism) has received consistent support as the one of the most dominant models of personality, although ultimately it was not utilized for the DSM-V. In a systematic review of the literature by Widiger and Costa (2013), the extensive research  on the relation between the FFM and PD’s was analyzed, and it was concluded that PDs could indeed be interpreted as maladaptive aspect of normal personality. However an interesting finding emerged upon examining PDs in terms of the FFM, the domain of Openness within the FFM was greatly underrepresented by the current set of PD’s put forth by the DSM-5. It has been theorized that low Openness is related to alexithymia and prejudicial attitudes, whereas high Openness has been associated with Schizotypal PD, but evidence supporting this has been inconsistent (ref.). It can be argued that the FFM is insufficient since the DSM-IV did not represent the domain of Openness, but it can also be debated that the current understanding of PD’s in the DSM-V still does not adequately?  represent maladaptive variants of high and low Openness. Piedmont, Sherman, Sherman, Dy-Liacco, and Williams (2009) decided to take a new approach in attempts to capture maladaptive aspects of normal personality. Instead of organizing specific symptoms and behaviors that clinicians believe to be clinically relevant in specific themes (bottom-up), they started with normal personality and looked to see how it would manifest itself as maladaptive variants in each of the domains of personality (top-down). While using this top-down technique for the domain of Openness, Piedmont et al. (2009) were able to establish a relation between maladaptive aspects of high and low Openness and impaired personality functioning. They believed they had identified and created a scale (called the Experiential Permeability Inventory) that assessed a new domain of personality dysfunction, which they have termed Experiential Permeability. The current study is being designed in order to refine their scale and establish additional psychometric properties of the responses to their scale. It is hoped that the utilization of this refined scale will lead to a better understand ing of individuals who display dysfunctional High and Low Openness and thus potential lead to effective interventions for these individuals. This poster will address the process of creating a short form of Piedmont et al.’s measure of Experiential Permeability.