Self-Ratings of Personality Pathology: Insights Regarding Their Validity and Treatment Utility

  • Kasey StantonEmail author
  • Matthew F. D. Brown
  • Meredith A. Bucher
  • Caroline Balling
  • Douglas B. Samuel
Personality Disorders (M Zimmerman, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Personality Disorders


Purpose of review

The validity of self-ratings of personality pathology often is questioned because personality disorders (PD) historically have been viewed as being characterized by poor insight. However, recent research indicates that PD self-ratings are valid in many ways and have significant clinical utility. Building upon this growing literature, our goal here is to provide practical discussion of how incorporating dimensional PD ratings into assessment protocols can benefit diagnosis and treatment.

Recent findings

We first review evidence suggesting that PD self-ratings are particularly useful for assessing constructs related to individuals’ own subjective experiences (e.g., propensities for experiencing negative mood states). We then highlight research indicating that PD self-ratings (a) change positively with intervention and (b) meaningfully inform diagnosis, treatment planning, and treatment outcome. Finally, we illustrate how freely available, well-validated self-report PD measures can be used to efficiently obtain clinically useful information in a manner comprehensible to both practitioners and patients.


Self-ratings of personality pathology are valid and useful in many ways and can be efficiently incorporated into assessment protocols. Key future directions for advancing knowledge of self-report PD assessment include examining the extent to which self-ratings of antagonism—a core PD trait—are accurate across contexts.


Self-report assessment Personality pathology Personality disorder Clinical utility Dimensional models 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Kasey Stanton declares that he has no conflict of interest. Matthew F. D. Brown declares that he has no conflict of interest. Meredith A. Bucher declares that she has no conflict of interest. Caroline Balling declares that she has no conflict of interest. Douglas B. Samuel declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and informed consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kasey Stanton
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Matthew F. D. Brown
    • 2
  • Meredith A. Bucher
    • 3
  • Caroline Balling
    • 3
  • Douglas B. Samuel
    • 3
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyWestern UniversityLondonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Psychological SciencesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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