PTSD Personality Subtypes in Women Exposed to Intimate-Partner Violence
Carleton, R. Nicholas
Mulvogue, Myriah K.
MetadataShow full item record
There is considerable research implicating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a common reaction to intimate-partner violence (IPV; Golding, 1999). PTSD is categorized as a single disorder; however, there is significant heterogeneity in its symptom-presentation patterns (Dickstein, Suvak, Litz, & Adler, 2010). Researchers have posited underlying personality characteristics as potentiating different expressions of PTSD (Miller, Greif, & Smith, 2003). Specifically, a model with 3 personality subtypes (i.e., externalizing, internalizing, and simple) has been proposed to explain PTSD symptom-pattern heterogeneity (Miller, 2003; Miller & Resick, 2007). The current study tested the PTSD personality-subtype model in a sample of 129 women exposed to a range of IPV experiences. Temperament patterns of women reporting clinically significant PTSD symptoms replicated the 3 personality-subtype patterns found in previous investigations (i.e., an externalizing subtype group characterized by high negative emotionality and low disinhibition, an internalizing subtype group characterized by high negative emotionality and low positive emotionality, and a simple subtype group characterized by midrange scores across the temperament variables; Miller et al., 2003; Miller, Kaloupek, Dillon, & Keane, 2004; Miller & Resick, 2007). Differences between personality-subtype groups and women without clinically significant PTSD symptoms were found (p < .05), with women reporting personality patterns consistent with the internalizing and externalizing subtype groups exhibiting higher comorbid personality pathology and psychological difficulties. Implications are discussed for personality as a risk or resiliency factor in PTSD and as contributing to explaining PTSD symptom heterogeneity.