Levels of personality organization and internal relational patterns
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Submission date: 2017-09-20
Final revision date: 2018-09-13
Acceptance date: 2018-09-13
Online publication date: 2018-12-19
Publication date: 2018-12-17
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2018;6(4):292-304
This study aimed to determine whether level of personality organization is associated with a relational pattern present in an autobiographical narrative about an important interpersonal relationship. The main goals were to explore whether and how the components of the internal relationship pattern, and whether and how the configurations of the components, are related to personality organization, when integrated personality organization (IPO) is taken into account.

Participants and procedure:
Assessment of the relational patterns was based on the Core Conflictual Relationship Theme (CCRT) – wishes (WS), responses from others (RO), and responses of the self (RS) – as identified from participants’ self-narratives about important relationships (N = 90).

One-way analysis of variance revealed significant differences between groups with different levels of personality organization, according to one wish of self (WS2 To oppose, hurt, control), five responses of others (RO4 Bad; RO5 Rejecting; RO6 Helpful; RO7 Likes me; RO8 Understanding), and three responses of self (RS1 Helpful; RS4 Oppose and hurt others; RS8 Anxious). Considering the configurations of WS + RO + RS, the results indicate that in the borderline personality organization (BPO) group, the WS Libidinal + RO Frustrating + RS Negative pattern is most prevalent, while in the neurotic personality organization (NPO) and IPO groups, the WS Libidinal + RO Fulfilling + RS Negative and the WS Libidinal + RO Fulfilling + RS Positive configurations are most frequent.

The study supports the thesis that component relationship patterns and their configurations might be related to personality organization. The main differences were found between BPO and IPO with NPO placed between them, in a way congruent with Kernberg’s theory.

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