M-PACI Hierarchical Cluster Analysis: Personality Variants in a Pre-Adolescent Inpatient Sample and Their Correlates with Regard to Severity and Psychopathology

Vanessa Brodie, Pace University

Abstract

The topic of personality in childhood, particularly disordered personality, is often deemed controversial due to hesitance on the part of researchers and clinicians alike to label a child with a severe, long term disorder. However, more recent research has started to focus on the importance of earlier identification of especially these severe personality disorder features, so that earlier treatment interventions can be allocated appropriately. While some research has started to look at personality in adolescence, several theorists have pointed to the capacity to consider and analyze features in younger children. There remains, however, a dearth of research and of assessment measures that explore personality in younger children. ^ The present study expanded on the literature through identification of personality typologies among preadolescent children. More specifically, using an archival database consisting of assessment measures completed during psychiatric hospitalization, personality typologies were identified through a cluster analysis of the Milton Pre-Adolescent Clinical Inventory's (M-PACI) emerging personality patterns. These typologies were then examined with regard to their relationship to performance based severity indices (i.e. Ego Impairment Index-2 and Reality-Fantasy Scale for the Rorschach), parent rated psychopathology (using the Devereux Scales of Mental Disorders), and cognitive functioning (via the WISC-IV). ^ The sample consisted of 227 inpatient and 28 outpatient children aged 9 through 12 years old. Results of the cluster analysis identified five personality typologies based on the M-PACI emerging personality patterns, and labels were provided based on significant findings regarding the criterion variables. The identified clusters were: (1) Externalizing Unstable Pattern, who were elevated on the Outgoing, Submissive, Unruly, and Unstable scales, (2) Passive-Resistant Types, who were elevated on the Conforming and Inhibited scales, (3) Ego Impaired Unstable Pattern, who were elevated on the Submissive, Inhibited, Unruly, and Unstable scales, (4) Protected Type, who were elevated on the Confident, Outgoing, and Conforming scales, and (5) Moderate Externalizers, who were elevated on the Confident, Outgoing, and Unruly scales. ^ Overall findings indicated that the Ego Impaired Unstable pattern and Externalizing Unstable pattern are among a more severe typology, while the Protected Type is identified as more resourceful and/or at lower risk. Additional findings, links to similar personality types identified in the literature, and treatment recommendations based on the findings are discussed. The results are a useful addition to assessment of clinically identified children to better understand treatment needs as early as possible. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical|Psychology, Personality

Recommended Citation

Vanessa Brodie, "M-PACI Hierarchical Cluster Analysis: Personality Variants in a Pre-Adolescent Inpatient Sample and Their Correlates with Regard to Severity and Psychopathology" (January 1, 2012). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI3530499.
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI3530499

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