Personality Traits, Personality Disorders, and Aggression: A Comparison of Intimate Partner vs. Non-Intimate Partner Aggression
Both basic personality traits and clinical personality disorders have been studied in the context of a wide range of behaviors, including antisocial behavior and aggression. Although the five-factor model (FFM) has been examined in relation to several types of non-partner aggression, relatively few studies have assessed the relations between FFM traits and intimate partner aggression perpetration. Additionally, some work has suggested that there may be differential personality correlates of intimate partner aggression versus other forms of aggression, but none has directly compared these types of aggression in terms of their personality trait profiles. The present study, reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board, sought to answer those questions as well as critically evaluate the potential mediating role of basic traits in the relation between personality disorder (PD) symptoms and outcomes related to aggression and antisocial behavior. A total of 307 participants, recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), completed a number of questionnaires assessing personality traits, PD symptoms, and various types of aggressive and antisocial behavior. Findings suggest that traits related to Agreeableness and Conscientiousness generally demonstrated the strongest and most consistent (negative) relations across all measures of aggression and antisocial behavior; however, Neuroticism-related traits also demonstrated moderate (positive) correlations with certain types of aggression. PD symptoms almost all predicted aggressive and antisocial behavior, and although ASPD and BPD were two of the most robust PD symptom correlates across aggression and antisocial behavior outcomes, they were not always the strongest PD symptom correlate for each behavior. Personality profiles were moderately similar across aggression subtypes, but some showed more convergence than others. Finally, relations between PD symptom counts and aggressive and antisocial behavior were largely accounted for by more basic personality traits.