Poster Title (Current Submission)

Relative and absolute preference versus aversion for pathological personality traits in romantic partners

Major(s)

Psychology

Minor

Human Relations

Mentor Name

Theresa Morgan

Other Mentor Department

Clinical Psychology

Presentation Date

March 2011

Abstract

At extreme levels, pathological personality traits are associated with severe deficits in daily functioning including interpersonal conflict and social dysfunction (APA, 2000). Although this makes personality pathology particularly relevant to romantic relationships, research on preferences for partners focuses primarily on normal-range traits. As such, it is unclear which pathological traits are particularly less preferred (i.e., aversive) in romantic partners. As well, research has not addressed whether partners tend to prefer pathological traits that are similar or dissimilar to their own. The current study proposes the first examination of individuals’ “preference” for pathological personality traits. Our aims are: (1) To establish absolute and relative preference versus aversion for pathological personality traits in romantic partners; and (2) to assess whether preference versus aversion is guided by similarity or complementarity to self-reported personality. 240 undergraduates rated their preferences for 15 pathological traits using ranking and discreet response formats, and self-reported their own personality, using the Schedule for Nonadaptive and Adaptive Personality- Short Report Form. Results suggest (1) preferences for some pathological traits both relatively and absolutely, and (2) inconsistently reflect similarity and/or complementarity for pathological traits. These data provide insight on the ways in which individuals with pathological personality traits find romantic partners.

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Mar 26th, 12:00 AM

Relative and absolute preference versus aversion for pathological personality traits in romantic partners

At extreme levels, pathological personality traits are associated with severe deficits in daily functioning including interpersonal conflict and social dysfunction (APA, 2000). Although this makes personality pathology particularly relevant to romantic relationships, research on preferences for partners focuses primarily on normal-range traits. As such, it is unclear which pathological traits are particularly less preferred (i.e., aversive) in romantic partners. As well, research has not addressed whether partners tend to prefer pathological traits that are similar or dissimilar to their own. The current study proposes the first examination of individuals’ “preference” for pathological personality traits. Our aims are: (1) To establish absolute and relative preference versus aversion for pathological personality traits in romantic partners; and (2) to assess whether preference versus aversion is guided by similarity or complementarity to self-reported personality. 240 undergraduates rated their preferences for 15 pathological traits using ranking and discreet response formats, and self-reported their own personality, using the Schedule for Nonadaptive and Adaptive Personality- Short Report Form. Results suggest (1) preferences for some pathological traits both relatively and absolutely, and (2) inconsistently reflect similarity and/or complementarity for pathological traits. These data provide insight on the ways in which individuals with pathological personality traits find romantic partners.