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A dimensional perspective on adolescent personality functioning: its relationship to a secure attachment style and stressful life events

L.M.W. Willems-Passtoors, O.M. Laceulle , N. Koster, P.T. van der Heijden & M.A.G. van Aken

Attachment style and stressful life events are known to be related to categorical classifications of personality problems. The relationship between these factors and personality functioning (criterion A, AMPD DSM-5-III) is not entirely clear, while personality functioning is an important predictor for future functioning. We investigated this association in outpatient adolescents (N = 285). More impact of stressful life events is associated with maladaptive personality functioning in adolescents (β = 0,18). A more secure attachment style is associated with better personality functioning (β = 0,30), but does not buŸer the relationship between stressful life events and personality functioning. Early detection and intervention for personality pathology should consider the negative impact of stressful life events and the positive association of a more secure attachment on personality functioning.


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Gehechtheid en stressvolle levensgebeurtenissen houden verband met het ontstaan van persoonlijkheidsstoornissen. Laurien Willems- Passtoors c.s. onderzochten in een steekproef met kwetsbare jongeren het verband tussen een veilige gehechtheid, stressvolle levensgebeurtenissen en een dimensionele maat voor persoonlijkheidsproblematiek. ‘Een dimensionele blik maakt vroege detectie en proportionele interventie bij persoonlijkheidsproblemen beter mogelijk.’

Persoonlijkheidsproblemen zijn al in de vroege adolescentie te onderkennen en te behandelen (Miller, Muehlenkamp, & Jacobson, 2008; Sharp & Wall, 2017; Shiner, 2009). Classificatie van persoonlijkheidsstoornissen is mogelijk bij jongeren onder de 18 jaar (American Psychiatric Association; APA, 2013, p. 647), maar categoriale classificaties van persoonlijkheidsstoornissen hebben niet de voorkeur vanwege een matige interbeoordelaarsbetrouwbaarheid, beperkte stabiliteit, heterogeniteit en grote mate van comorbiditeit (Conway, Hipwell & Stepp, 2017; Hopwood et al., 2018; Vanheule et al., 2014). Categorale classificaties bieden bovendien geen juiste weergave van het complexe samenspel van belemmerende en bevorderende factoren in de ontwikkeling van de persoonlijkheid (Hopwood et al., 2018).

Om bovengenoemde redenen is er behoefte aan een dimensioneel en ontwikkelingspsychologisch perspectief op persoonlijkheidsproblematiek waarbij krachten en kwetsbaarheden al op jonge leeftijd in kaart worden gebracht. Het Alternatieve Model van PersoonlijkheidsStoornissen (AMPS) biedt een dergelijk dimensioneel perspectief en conceptualiseert problemen in het persoonlijkheidsfunctioneren als de kern van persoonlijkheidsstoornissen (APA, 2013).

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