Self Report Objective Personality Instruments

Clinical psychology has a long and rich tradition of assessing dimensions of personality using self-report personality tests (Segal & Coolidge, 2004). Several popular multiscale instruments have been designed specifically for the assessment of personality traits and personality disorders among adult respondents. At present, there is no specific inventory designed for older adults. The current instruments can be appropriately used with older adults, although some modifications and considerations are necessary. One issue is that older persons (especially those in the oldest-old cohort) are less familiar and experienced with taking psychological tests, so we recommend that the purpose of personality testing be carefully explained to older patients to reduce anxiety about and resistance to the process (e.g., "this test will tell us about you as a person, which will be very helpful as we proceed with treatment together"). Routinely encouraging the respondent to be honest and cooperative with the assessment process is also advised. Because the popular personality inventories are all lengthy, fatigue can also be a problem with older patients. It is important for clinicians to monitor the patient and, if necessary, break the testing session up into smaller sessions.

An important benefit of some self-report inventories is that they provide standardized scores for a multitude of DSM-based personality disorders. By looking at the relative elevations of the personality disorder scales, diagnostic hypotheses can be developed that should be further evaluated during subsequent clinical interviews or semi-structured interviews with the patient. Other advantages are that the inventories are unaffected by examiner biases and they provide a glimpse of the patient's intrapsychic world from the patient's perspective. A common limitation of the inventories is that they are tied to the diagnostic criteria in the DSM, and as we described earlier, some criteria for the personality disorders do not apply well to older people. Limitations in the diagnostic criteria reflect important limitations of the assessment instruments, especially as they are administered to older adults. Another general concern is that people afflicted with personality disorders often have difficulty perceiving themselves and their behaviors objectively, and as a consequence, accurate self-identification of problems may be difficult (Dougherty, 1999).

Although many personality disorder instruments are available to the clinician and researcher, a review of all of them is beyond the scope of this chapter. With these caveats in mind, we now provide a description of three popular multiscale self-report personality disorder instruments: the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III, the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire-4+, and the Coolidge Axis II Inventory. Personality disorders covered by

Table 9.2 Personality Disorders Covered by the SCID-II, IPDE, SIDP-IV, PDI-IV, DIPD-IV, MCMI-III, PDQ-4+, and CATI

Semi-Structured Interview Self-Report Inventory

Table 9.2 Personality Disorders Covered by the SCID-II, IPDE, SIDP-IV, PDI-IV, DIPD-IV, MCMI-III, PDQ-4+, and CATI

Semi-Structured Interview Self-Report Inventory

Personality Disorders

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