An investigation of the relationship of depression in adolescence to personality styles and traits as measured by the Millon Adolescent Personality Inventory

Anne Michelle Donnelly, Pace University


Depression and depressive experience in adolescence is an area of increasing concern. While the syndrome itself is generally well defined, factors that underlie and modify depression in adolescence have not been adequately explored and elucidated. This study investigated the relationship between personality styles and depression or depressive symptomatology in adolescence. The final sample consisted of 502 high school students and 207 adolescent psychiatric inpatients. Using inclusion and exclusion criteria subjects were classified as depressed and nondepressed. Personality styles were measured using the Millon Adolescent Personality Inventory (MAPI), a theoretically and empirically derived measure of adolescent personality styles. The relationship between MAPI Personality Style scales and self report and clinician rated diagnosis of depression was examined via correlational and multiple regression analyses. Clinically significant elevations on the MAPI Personality Style scales were explored using Chi Square statistics to determine the association between these elevations and clinically significant elevations on measures of depression. The MAPI's utility in differentiating depressed from nondepressed adolescents was examined utilizing discriminant function analyses. Elevations on MAPI Scales 2 (Introversive) and 8 (Sensitive) were associated with more YSR Depression Scale and Beck Depression Inventory scores in the clinically depressed range. Elevations on MAPI Scales 4 (Sociable) and 5 (Confident) were associated with fewer depression scores in the clinically depressed range on these depression measures. Results of the discriminant analyses of the MAPI Personality scales and the 150 MAPI items revealed that there were discriminant functions which significantly differentiated depressed from nondepressed groups. However, none of these discriminant functions provided sensitivity and positive predictive power adequate enough to yield reliable classifications. Predicted group membership was markedly improved when MAPI items were utilized in a discriminant function in the hospitalized group alone. The findings indicated that overall the MAPI has limited Axis I predictive capabilities. However, elevations on individual MAPI scales were found to be related to differential endorsement of depressive symptomatology and scores in the clinically significant range on depression measures. Theoretical implications and indications for future research were explored.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Personality|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Donnelly, Anne Michelle, "An investigation of the relationship of depression in adolescence to personality styles and traits as measured by the Millon Adolescent Personality Inventory" (1991). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9131046.



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