Criterion A Scales: Convergent, Discriminant, and Structural Relationships

Gillian A. McCabe, Joshua R. Oltmanns, Thomas A. Widiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The alternative model of personality disorder was created to address the apparent failings of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders–Fourth edition–text revision personality disorder diagnostic categories and consists of Criterion A (i.e., personality functioning) and Criterion B (i.e., pathological personality traits). There are now four alternative measures of the Criterion A impairments but, perhaps surprisingly, no study has yet compared any one of them with any one of the other three. The current study assesses the convergent (and discriminant) validity of all four, as well as their structural relationship with the five-factor model (FFM), a widely accepted model for understanding the structure of normal and pathological personality traits. Exploratory structural equation modeling analyses of the Criterion A measures and FFM scales demonstrate that the Criterion A self-identity scale can be understood as a maladaptive variant of FFM neuroticism. Moreover, results indicate no appreciable discriminant validity in the assessment of the Criterion A impairments—the Criterion A scales correlated more highly within measures than across alternative measures, even when measuring the same construct. Implications of these findings for the conceptualization and assessment of Criterion A self and interpersonal impairments are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-828
Number of pages16
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • Criterion A
  • DSM-5 Section III
  • five-factor model
  • personality traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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