Personality, Social Skills, and Disturbed Behavior Patterns

An Introduction to the Issues
  • Brenda O. Gilbert
  • David G. Gilbert
Part of the Perspectives on Individual Differences book series (PIDF)


The question of how psychopathology is related to social skills and to personality and temperament is important for a number of practical and theoretical reasons. Different clinical interventions make different assumptions concerning the causal relationships among personality, social skills, and psychopathology. Dissatisfaction among behaviorally oriented clinicians and researchers with personality-trait-based and nonempirically based (predominantly psychodynamic) conceptualizations of psychopathology and social behavior contributed to the rapid development and extensive use of social skills assessment and training (Phillips, 1985). During the last quarter of this century many social-skill-oriented writers (e.g., Gottman, 1979; Wine, 1981) and social systems theorists (e.g., Watzlawick, 1977; Watzlawick & Beavin, 1977) have criticized psychodynamic and other trait models that assume defects in development, biology, or personality cause psychopathology and interpersonal distress. Such criticism, in part, may be based on the misperception that for the social skills and learning orientations to be useful, productive, and valid, conceptualizations from trait and biological models of behavior must be useless, unproductive, and invalid.


Social Skill Social Competence Social Skill Training Skill Deficit Perceptual Mode 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brenda O. Gilbert
    • 1
  • David G. Gilbert
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologySouthern Illinois University at CarbondaleCarbondaleIllinoisUSA

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