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Personality, Psychopathology, and Measurement lab

Research in the PPM lab focuses on psychopathy and other personality disorders (with a current focus on DSM-5 developments), the broader integration of personality and psychopathology, and personality assessment with the MMPI-2 and MMPI-2-RF instruments.

Personality Disorders

Most of this work has focused on how we can use individual differences personality traits to understanding and operationalise personality pathology. The current system in the DSM-5 uses arbitrary diagnoses with polythetic criterion sets that are fraught with problems; dimensional traits offer an attracted solution to these limitations. However, there remains a number of unresolved questions regarding assessment of such traits in clinical contexts, where to draw the line in terms of pathology vs normality, how to conceptualise and operationalise impairment associated with extreme scores on personality trait dimensions, etc. The PPM lab works actively to address these questions and more.


Most personality disorder researchers have a particular disorder on which they are the most expert. In the PPM lab, a lot of work is specifically directed on furthering our understanding of the psychopathic personality. In addition to conceptualising psychopathy from the perspective of dimensional personality traits, some specific areas are also being targeted. We are focused on how psychopathy manifests itself across different settings. While it is easy to study psychopathy in prisons, as individuals high on such traits are readily available there, we know relatively little about how psychopathic individuals operate in the community. Moreover, one major question that continues to puzzle the field is what factors differentiate individuals high on psychopathic traits who operate successfully in the community from those who end up in the criminal justice system. Finally, self-report is an economical method for assessing psychopathy - but can we trust the results given psychopathic individuals' propensity to lie? The PPM lab continues to address many of these questions and more.

Integration of Personality and Psychopathology

There is considerable evidence that the structure of common mental disorders is hierarchical in nature.

Research in behavior genetics, for instance, has indicated that a lot of the shared commonalities among groups of mental disorders (eg, internalising, externalising) can be largely attributed to genetic vulnerabilities that translate into brain (dys)functions. Interestingly, similar brain functions can also be linked to individual differences in personality traits (eg, neuroticism, disinhibition). The PPM lab seeks to further understand what mechanisms are shared between personality traits and mental disorders, with the idea that the former likely represent vulnerability factors for the latter.

Personality Assessment

How can patients' or offenders' personality and mental health be best assessed in applied settings? The PPM lab conducts research on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory – 2 – Restructured Form (MMPI-2-RF), which it a multi-scale omnibus clinical assessment measure designed to cover a wide range of personality and psychopathology. Recent work has focused a lot on the assessment of psychopathy, personality disorders more generally, and also mapping the instruments' scales onto contemporary hierarchical structures of personality and psychopathology. Another line of research has been on malingering and defensiveness. Can people feign their responses on the MMPI-2-RF and get away with it? The answer to that question is most often “no” and the PPM lab has focused on understanding how the MMPI-2-RF's so called validity scales can be best used in detecting distorted responding.


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles since 2015

* denotes student first or co-author

*Ang, X., Salekin, R.T., Sellbom, M., Coffey, A. (in press). Risk-Sophistication-Treatment Inventory-Self Report (RSTI-SR): A Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Exploration of Factor Relations. Psychological Assessment.

Shou, Y., Sellbom, M., & Xu, J. (in press). Psychometric Properties of the Chinese Triarchic Psychopathy Measure: An Item Response Theory Approach. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment.

Kotov, R., Krueger, R.F., Watson, D… Sellbom, M. et al. (in press). The Hierarchical Taxonomy Of Psychopathology (HiTOP): A Dimensional Alternative to Traditional Nosologies. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. [Note: Authorship beyond first three in alphabetical order; 40 authors total.]

Noordhof, A., Kamphuis, J.H., Sellbom, M., Eigenhuis, A., & Bagby, R.M. (in press). Changes in self-reported personality during treatment: changes in specific traits or remoralization? Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, & Treatment.

Sellbom, M., & Arbisi, P.A. (in press). Introduction to the Special Issue: Linking the MMPI-2-RF to Contemporary Models of Psychopathology. Journal of Personality Assessment.

*Anderson, J.L., Sellbom, M., & Shealy, C. (in press). Clinician Perspectives of Antisocial and Borderline Personality Disorders Using DSM-5 Section III Dimensional Personality Traits. Journal of Personality Disorders.

Sellbom, M., *Donnelly, K., *Rock, R.C., Phillips, T.R., & Ben-Porath, Y.S. (in press). Examining Gender as Moderating the Association between Psychopathy and Substance Abuse. Psychology, Crime, and Law.

*Sleep, C., Sellbom, M., Campbell, W.K., & Miller, J.D. (in press). Narcissism and response validity: Do narcissistic individuals under report psychopathology? Psychological Assessment.

*Anderson, J.L., Sellbom, M., & Salekin, R.T. (in press). Utility of the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 Brief Form (PID-5-BF) in the Measurement of Section II Personality Disorders and Maladaptive Behaviors. Assessment.

Sellbom, M., & *Smith, A. (in press). Assessment of DSM-5 Section II Personality Disorders with the MMPI-2-RF in a Non-Clinical Sample. Journal of Personality Assessment.

Shou, Y., Sellbom, M., Xu, J., Chen, T., & Sui, A. (in press). Elaborating on the Construct Validity of Triarchic Psychopathy Measure in Chinese Clinical and Nonclinical Samples. Psychological Assessment.

Mowle, E.N., Kelley, S.E., Edens, J.F., Donnellan, M.B., Smith, S.T., Wygant, D.B., & Sellbom, M. (in press). Development of an Inconsistency Scale for the Triarchic Psychopathy Measure. Psychological Assessment.

Kutchen, T.J., Wygant, D.B., Tylicki, J., Dieter, A.M., Veltri, C.O.C., & **Sellbom, M. (in press). Construct Validity of the MMPI-2-RF Triarchic Psychopathy Scales in Correctional and Collegiate Samples. Journal of Personality Assessment.

*Liggett, J., Sellbom, M., & *Carmichael, K.L.C. (in press). Examining the DSM-5 Section III Criteria for Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder in a Community Sample. Journal of Personality Disorders.

*Anderson, J.L., & Sellbom, M. (in press). Evaluating the DSM-5 Section III Personality Disorder Impairment Criteria. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Practice.

*Christian, E., Sellbom, M., & Wilkinson, R. (in press). Clarifying the Associations between Individual Differences in General Attachment Styles and Psychopathy. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment.

Sellbom, M. (in press). Mapping the MMPI-2-RF Specific Problems scales onto Extant Psychopathology Structures. Journal of Personality Assessment.

*Neo, B., Sellbom, M., Smith, S.F., & Lilienfeld, S.O. (in press). Examining Psychopathic Personality Traits in the Workplace. Journal of Business Ethics.

*Shou, Y., Sellbom, M., & Han, J. (in press). Evaluating the Construct Validity of the Levenson's Self-Report Psychopathy Scale in China. Assessment.

*Liggett, J., *Carmichael, K.L.C., *Smith, A., & **Sellbom, M. (2017). Validation of Self-Report Impairment Measures for Section III Obsessive-Compulsive and Avoidant Personality Disorders. Journal of Personality Assessment, 99, 1-14.

Sellbom, M, & Hopwood, C.J. (2016). Evidence-Based Assessment in the 21st century: Comments on the Special Series Papers. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 23, 403-409.

Sellbom, M. (2016). Elucidating the Validity of the Externalizing Spectrum of Psychopathology in Correctional, Forensic, and Community Samples. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 125, 1027-1038.

*Carmichael, K.L.C., Sellbom, M., *Liggett, J., & *Smith, A. (2016). A personality and impairment approach to examine the similarities and differences between Avoidant Personality Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder. Personality and Mental Health, 10, 337-347.

*Bach, B., Sellbom, M., Bo, S., & Simonsen, E. (2016). Utility of DSM-5 Section III Personality Traits in Differentiating Borderline Personality Disorder from Comparison Groups. European Psychiatry, 37, 22-27.

Sellbom, M., *Drislane, L.E., *Johnson, A.K., *Goodwin, B.E., Phillips, T.R., & Patrick, C.J. (2016). Development and Validation of MMPI-2-RF Scales for Indexing Triarchic Psychopathy Constructs. Assessment, 23, 527-543.

Sansone, R.A., Sellbom, M., & Songer, D.A. (2016). Criminal behavior and borderline personality: Correlations among four measures. Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, 13, 14-16.

*Shou, Y., Sellbom, M., & Han, J. (2016). Development and Validation of the Chinese Triarchic Psychopathy Measure. Journal of Personality Disorders, 30, 436-450.

*Bach, B., & Sellbom, M. (2016). Continuity Between DSM-5 Categorical Criteria and Traits Criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 61, 489-494.

Wygant, D.B., Sellbom, M., *Sleep, C.E., *Wall, T.D., *Applegate, K.C., Krueger, R.F., & Patrick, C.J. (2016). An Examination of the DSM-5 Alternative Personality Disorder Model Operationalization of Antisocial Personality Disorder and Psychopathy in a Male Correctional Sample. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, & Treatment, 7, 229-239.

Detrick, P., Ben-Porath, Y.S., & Sellbom, M. (2016). Associations between MMPI-2-RF (Restructured Form) and Inwald Personality Inventory (IPI) Scale Scores in a Law Enforcement Pre-Employment Screening Sample. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 31, 81-95.

*Monaghan, C., Bizumic, B., & **Sellbom, M. (2016). The Role of Machiavellian Views and Tactics in Psychopathology. Personality and Individual Differences, 94, 72-81.

Sansone, R.A., Sellbom, M., & Songer, D.A. (2016). A survey of same-sex experiences among psychiatric inpatients with and without borderline personality symptomatology. The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders, 18(2). doi:10.4088/PCC.15l01876 DOI: 10.4088/PCC.15l01876

*Anderson, J.L., Sellbom, M., Sansone, R.A., & Songer, D.A. (2016). Comparing External Correlates of DSM-5 Section II and Section III Borderline Personality Disorder Constructs. Journal of Personality Disorders, 30, 193-210.

*Christian, E., & Sellbom, M. (2016). Development and Validation of an Expanded Version of the Three-Factor Levenson Self Report Psychopathy Scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 98, 155-168.

McGee Ng, S., Bagby, R.M., Goodwin, B.E., Burchett, D., Sellbom, M., Ayearst, L.E., Dhillon, S., Yiu, S., Ben-Porath, Y.S., & Baker, S. (2016). The effects of response bias on the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5). Journal of Personality Assessment, 98, 51-61.

Sellbom, M., Cooke, D.J., & Hart, S.D. (2015). Construct Validity of the Comprehensive Assessment of Psychopathic Personality (CAPP) Concept Map: Getting Closer to the Core of Psychopathy. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 14, 172-180.

Sellbom, M. (2015). Elucidating the Complex Associations between Psychopathy and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder from the Perspective of Trait Negative Affectivity. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 14, 85-92.

*Anderson, J.L., Sellbom, M., Pymont, C., Smid, W., De Saeger, H. & Kamphuis, J.H. (2015). Measurement of DSM-5 Section II Personality Disorder Constructs Using the MMPI-2-RF in Clinical and Forensic Samples. Psychological Assessment, 27, 786-800.

*Anderson, J.L., Sellbom, M., Ayearst, L., Quilty, L.C., Chmielewski, M., & Bagby, R.M. (2015). Associations between DSM-5 Section III Personality Traits and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory 2-Restructured Form (MMPI-2-RF) Scales in a Psychiatric Patient Sample. Psychological Assessment, 27, 801-815.

*Anderson, J.L., & Sellbom, M. (2015). Construct Validity of the DSM-5 Section III Personality Trait Profile for Borderline Personality Disorder. Journal of Personality Assessment, 97, 478-486.

Sellbom, M., Wygant, D.B., & *Drislane, L.E. (2015). Elucidating the Construct Validity of the Psychopathic Personality Inventory Triarchic Scales. Journal of Personality Assessment, 97, 374-381.

Dawel, A., McKone, E., O'Kearney, R., Sellbom, M., Irons, J., & Palermo, R. (2015). Contrasting three etiological accounts of the affective features of psychopathy: Individuals high in callous unemotional traits can ignore goal-irrelevant cues to attention with no specificity for fear or eyes. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 6, 216-228.

*Venables, N.C., Sellbom, M., Sourander, A., Kendler, K., Joiner, T.E., Drislane, L.E., Sillanmäki, L., Elonheimo, H., Parkkola, K., Multimaki, P., & Patrick, C.J. (2015). RDoC Separate and Interactive Contributions of Weak Inhibitory Control and Threat Sensitivity to Prediction of Suicide Risk. Psychiatry Research, 226, 461-466.

Noordhof, A., Sellbom, M., Eigenhuis, A.M., & Kamphuis, J.H. (2015). Distinguishing between demoralization and specific personality traits in clinical assessment: the NEO PI-R. Psychological Assessment, 27, 645-656.

Marek, R., Ben-Porath, Y.S, Sellbom, M., McNulty, J.L., & Heinberg, L.J. (2015). Validity of Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory - 2 - Restructured Form (MMPI-2-RF) Scores as a Function of Gender, Ethnicity, and Age of Bariatric Surgery Candidates. Surgery of Obesity and Related Disorders, 11, 627-636.

Glenn, A.L., & Sellbom, M. (2015). Theoretical and Empirical Concerns Regarding the Dark Triad as a Construct. Journal of Personality Disorders, 29, 360-377.

*Goodwin, B.E., Sellbom, M., & Salekin, R.T. (2015). Elucidating the Construct Validity of the Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD) in a Sample of Young Adults. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 37, 1-11.

*Wall, T.D., Wygant, D.B., & Sellbom, M. (2015). Boldness Explains a Key Difference Between Psychopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorder. Psychiatry, Psychology, and Law, 22, 94-105.

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