Austin & Deary - The "Four A's" Model of Personality Disorders

The Structure of Concern Project compares many theoretical models from many disciplines to the Adizes PAEI model, arguing that they must all be reflecting the same underlying phenomenon. One concern structure model is described below.

In their factor analysis of the DSM-III-R’s Personality Disorders classifications, Austin and Deary (2000) describe 4 factors that explain most of the variability across disordered personalities, consistent with many other 4-factor personality models. They derive their four factors from a joint factor analysis of the International Personality Disorder Examination (IPDE) and the Neuroticism Extroversion Openness - Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). As one result of this analysis, they suggest that Eysenck’s 5-factor model, might also be more simply cast using only 4 categories. Their schema has been labeled the “Four A’s”, attributing the variance in personality disorders to the following factors:

P – Antisocial: Very low Agreeableness and Conscientiousness, and high positive loadings for Antisocial, Paranoid, Histrionic and Borderline personality disorder. Destructively pursues self-interest, seeking or escalating conflict.

A – Anankastic: No major loadings for any of the personality traits, but high loadings for Compulsive, Narcissistic and Paranoid personality disorders. Does not see past own worries, suspicious of others, uses actions or rituals to manage anxiety.

E – Asocial: Neuroticism with low Extroversion and Conscientiousness, and significant loadings for Paranoid, Schizotypal and Avoidant personality disorder. Oversensitive, withdrawn from world, keeping distance and determined not to return.

I – Asthenic: Neuroticism, with loadings for Dependent, Histrionic, Borderline and Avoidant personality disorder. Overreactive, ambivalent and uncertain about relationships, highly dramatic interactions.

1. Austin, E. J., & Deary, I. J. (2000). “The 'four As': a common framework for normal and abnormal personality?” Personality and Individual Differences, 28, 977-995.
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