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Personality Vulnerabilities to Psychopathology: Relations Between Trait Structure and Affective-Cognitive Processes


  • This article is based on the first author's doctoral dissertation completed under the supervision of the second author. The research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Research Grant 410-2002-1698 to Sampo V. Paunonen.

concerning this article should be addressed to Ryan Y. Hong, Department of Psychology, National University of Singapore, 9 Arts Link, Singapore 117570. Email:


ABSTRACT The present research examined (a) the relations among various affective-cognitive vulnerabilities to psychopathology, (b) the relations between vulnerabilities and dispositional traits, and (c) the mediating role of vulnerabilities between dispositional traits and psychopathological symptoms. Self-report questionnaires were administered to two independent samples in Study 1 (total N=274), whereas a longitudinal experience-sampling method was employed in Study 2 (N=100). All samples consisted of college students. Results suggested that affective-cognitive vulnerabilities showed a pattern of intercorrelations consistent with a 2-factor model representing general vulnerability to internalizing and externalizing psychopathology, respectively. The vulnerabilities also revealed common and unique aspects when mapped onto the trait structure represented by the Five-Factor Model. Most important, affective-cognitive vulnerabilities were found to constitute proximal-specific mechanisms that mediated between distal-broad dispositional vulnerabilities, such as Neuroticism, and different psychopathological symptoms. Our data support a model of personality-psychopathology relations that benefits from an integration of both the dispositional trait and social-cognitive approaches.