Personality organization and sense of identity across clinical and non-clinical populations
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Institute of Psychology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poznan, Poland
Submission date: 2015-11-25
Final revision date: 2016-01-03
Acceptance date: 2016-01-04
Online publication date: 2016-02-02
Publication date: 2016-03-18
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2016;4(1):31–40
The aim of the study was to evaluate the usefulness of the core dimensions of personality organization introduced by Kernberg and the basic aspects of the sense of personal identity as criteria of mental health, and to verify those theses of Kernberg’s theory that link the maturity of one’s sense of identity with one’s development in the domains of functioning considered the core dimensions of personality. The main predictions were that (a) the core dimensions of personality organization and the basic aspects of the sense of identity would discriminate between patients diagnosed with mental disorders and individuals drawn from the general population, and (b) lower levels of personality functioning would be related to weakening and disorganization of the sense of identity.

Participants and procedure
The sample consisted of 94 persons from the general population and 49 psychiatric patients diagnosed with neurotic disorders, affective disorders, personality disorders, and psychotic disorders. Two research tools were used to collect data: the Inventory of Personality Organization (IPO) and the Multidimensional Questionnaire of Identity (MQI).

Statistical analysis revealed significant differences in the levels of personality dimensions and the sense of personal identity between participants from the general population and psychiatric patients. Moreover, the results confirmed the role of the level of personality organization as a factor responsible for the differences in the strength of the sense of identity.

The obtained results support the assumptions of Kernberg’s personality organization model and indicate the usefulness of the central personality dimensions outlined in Kernberg’s model for the diagnosis of personality pathology.
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