An empirically derived hierarchical tree typology of DSM-5 pathological personality traits in adolescence

A.Y. See, T.A. Klimstra, M. van den Bergh, J.J. Sijtsema, J.J.A. Denissen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Traditional personality disorder (PD) taxonomies have been developed for adult populations. We aimed to identify an adolescent hierarchical tree typology of PD indicators to provide classification into broad severity classes but also more fine-grained classification within those classes. A large sample of community adolescents (N = 1,940) completed a validated dimensional measure that covers a comprehensive range of pathologically formulated personality traits, the Personality Inventory for DSM-5. Latent class tree modeling suggested three classes at the first level of the tree representing high, medium, and low PD-trait levels-thus spanning the range between normal and pathological personality. These classes were divided into subclasses lower in the hierarchy, which suggested subclinical variants of patterns that are often found in clinical samples, medium levels of externalizing and internalizing behaviors, and differential profiles of thriving in the low-risk classes. The identified classes had promising initial criterion validity based on meaningful relations with self- and peer-reported measures of friendship and social functioning with peers. Our hierarchical PD tree typology may represent groups at differential risk for developing PDs and could therefore be useful for preventive purposes. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499–510
JournalPsychological Assessment
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Adolescent
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Friends
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peer Group
  • Personality Disorders/classification
  • Personality Inventory
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Social Interaction


Dive into the research topics of 'An empirically derived hierarchical tree typology of DSM-5 pathological personality traits in adolescence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this