Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2010

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Clark, Lee Anna

First Committee Member

Marchman, James N

Second Committee Member

Markon, Kristian E

Third Committee Member

Turvey, Carolyn L

Fourth Committee Member

Watson, David B


Psychosocial functioning is a broad construct that encompasses a wide range of behaviors. Impairment in one or more areas of functioning is commonly observed in psychiatric patients. Moreover, an enduring, rigid pattern of maladaptive behaviors (e.g., interpersonal conflict) are frequent manifestations of personality pathology. The purpose of this study was to understand this comprehensive, yet underexamined, construct of psychosocial functioning by studying the construct's structure and associations with external correlates (e.g., personality traits and pathology, mood symptoms). The study was conducted in two phases. In Phase 1 study, 429 community residents (student N = 218; community sample N = 211) were recruited and administered eight psychosocial functioning measures sampled from three psychosocial functioning domains: Daily functioning measures typically used in Axis I disorders, personality functioning measures developed for use with Axis II disorder, and quality of life/ satisfaction measures. Personality traits--specifically the big five personality traits (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness)--and mood/affect measures also were administered to understand their associations with psychosocial functioning scales. Results suggested that psychosocial functioning could be understood as having a three-factor structure: Positive General Functioning, Poor Personality Functioning, and Poor Basic Functioning. When four of the five personality traits were added as variables (Openness excluded), a four-factor structure emerged--Positive General Functioning, Poor Basic Functioning, Internalizing Dysfunction, and Externalizing Dysfunction--with personality traits strong markers of the psychosocial functioning factors with the exception of Basic Functioning. In Phase 2, psychiatric outpatients were recruited (N=181) and were administered psychosocial functioning scales that had been refined by factor analyzing the Phase 1 data, and also personality trait measures focused on the more extreme, typically maladaptive range of the dimensions and personality pathology measures based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition (DSM-IV; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) personality disorders. The three-factor solution was replicated in this patient group. In a hierarchical regression, psychosocial functioning explained significant additional variance in predicting DSM-IV personality pathology after controlling for abnormal-range personality traits. In sum, the study revealed a multidimensional structure of psychosocial functioning that is closely linked to personality and psychopathology dimensions.


xii, 218 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 124-132).


Copyright 2010 Eunyoe Ro

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Psychology Commons