How Do DSM-5 Personality Traits Align With Schema Therapy Constructs?

Bo Bach, Christopher Lee, Erik Lykke Mortensen, Erik Simonsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


DSM-5 offers an alternative model of personality pathology that includes 25 traits. Although personality disorders are mostly treated with psychotherapy, the correspondence between DSM-5 traits and concepts in evidence-based psychotherapy has not yet been evaluated adequately. Suitably, schema therapy was developed for treating personality disorders, and it has achieved promising evidence. The authors examined associations between DSM-5 traits and schema therapy constructs in a mixed sample of 662 adults, including 312 clinical participants. Associations were investigated in terms of factor loadings and regression coefficients in relation to five domains, followed by specific correlations among all constructs. The results indicated conceptually coherent associations, and 15 of 25 traits were strongly related to relevant schema therapy constructs. Conclusively, DSM-5 traits may be considered expressions of schema therapy constructs, which psychotherapists might take advantage of in terms of case formulation and targets of treatment. In turn, schema therapy constructs add theoretical understanding to DSM-5 traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-529
Number of pages28
JournalJournal Of Personality Disorders
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


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