Facing distress in Coronavirus era: The role of maladaptive personality traits and coping strategies

Pers Individ Dif. 2021 Jul;177:110833. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2021.110833. Epub 2021 Mar 14.


The aim of the current study was to investigate the intersecting roles of dysfunctional personality traits and coping styles in relation to psychological distress during the Italian national lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants included 633 adults who completed questionnaires of maladaptive personality traits, coping styles, and psychological distress. Results indicated that all the maladaptive traits were associated with psychological distress with magnitude of associations strongest for Negative Affect and weakest for Antagonism. Maladaptive traits were also generally positively associated with avoidant/maladaptive and negatively associated with acceptance and positive reframing, forms of coping. A series of path analyses further demonstrated that coping strategies partially explained associations between maladaptive personality traits and psychological distress. All told, results suggest that during an unprecedented stressful time, associations between maladaptive personality traits and psychological distress may be, at least in part, explained by maladaptive coping strategies.

Keywords: Alternative model of personality disorders; COVID-19; Coping styles; Maladaptive personality traits; Psychological distress.