Does social problem solving mediate the relationship between personality traits and personality disorders? An exploratory study with a sample of male prisoners
McMurran, M., Oaksford, M. and Christopher, G. (2010) Does social problem solving mediate the relationship between personality traits and personality disorders? An exploratory study with a sample of male prisoners. Personality and Mental Health, 4 (3). pp. 180-192. ISSN 1932-8621
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmh.129
Social problem solving therapy is one helpful approach to treating people with personality disorders (PD). Consequently, it is worthwhile to develop a greater understanding of the role of social problem solving in PD. One hypothesis is that social problem solving mediates the relationship between personality dimensions and personality disorder. This premise was explored in a sample of male prisoners, a population known to have a high prevalence of PD. Sixty-eight men completed the International Personality Disorder Examination (IPDE), NEO-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) and the Social Problem-Solving Inventory – Revised: Short Version (SPSI-R:S). The data were explored for direct and indirect mediational effects of social problem solving variables in the personality dimension—PD relationship, using methods appropriate for small samples and multiple mediators. A number of relationships between personality dimensions, social problem solving, and personality disorder traits were identified, but only for paranoid, schizotypal, borderline, narcissistic, and avoidant PDs. These findings support the hypothesis that social problem solving mediates between personality dimensions and some PDs. Further research is necessary to verify these relationships, however, these findings begin to clarify the mechanisms by which personality dimensions relate to PDs. This knowledge has potential to contribute to the development of more effective interventions for people with particular personality dimensions and specific personality disorders.