Increasing evidence shows that personality pathology starts to develop from (late) childhood onwards. The current study extends previous research by examining maladaptive personality change using both a variable-centered approach (i.e., mean-level changes) and a person-centered approach (i.e., latent profile transitions). Data were used from a 3-wave longitudinal study on Dutch youth (at T1: N = 492, mean age = 10.1). Maladaptive personality traits (i.e., Emotional Instability, Disagreeableness, Introversion, and Compulsivity) were assessed yearly using the Dimensional Personality Symptom Item Pool (DIPSI). A Factor of Curves model indicated presence of a higher-order developmental factor, reflecting low initial levels and small decreases over time, which explained change in all DIPSI traits. Latent profile analyses revealed three quantitatively different maladaptive personality trait profiles. Latent Transition Analysis demonstrated substantial stability in profiles over time. Small groups showed a transition toward another (often more adaptive) profile. Although a person-centered approach may have some merit when aiming to detect high-risk subgroups, the current results suggest that a variable-centered approach—and a Factor of Curves model capturing shared underlying developmental processes in particular—is favorable over a person-centered approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-668
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
Issue number6
Early online date3 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023


  • Dimensional Personality Symptom Item Pool
  • personality pathology
  • personality profiles
  • personality development
  • youth


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