Dimensional personality traits and normative externalizing behavior in a college sample

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This study aimed to determine personality traits that are associated with a variety of different problematic externalizing behaviors among college students versus personality traits that are selectively associated with one or more specific types of externalizing behavior. In order to do this, a wide range of personality traits and externalizing behaviors (e.g. alcohol and drug use, risky driving, aggressive acts, sexual promiscuity and relationship infidelity, academic misconduct, etc.) typical among an undergraduate population were examined in conjunction. Furthermore, this examination was conducted using the recently proposed personality model for the DSM-5, a model that aligns well with existing personality models but is in need of further research. The sample included 257 college undergraduates who responded to the Personality Inventory for the DSM-5, a self-report personality survey designed to be representative of the DSM-5 model, as well a variety of self-report inventories measuring externalizing behaviors. Results revealed that externalizing behavior is best associated with the domain level trait Antagonism and to a lesser degree Disinhibition. In addition certain facet level traits (i.e. Deceitfulness and Risk-taking) were also associated with a variety of externalizing criteria while a few facet level traits (i.e., Hostility) were associated primarily with a particular type of externalizing behavior. Implications are discussed.

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