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About this Research Topic

Abstract Submission Deadline 30 November 2022
Manuscript Submission Deadline 29 January 2023

Personality functioning (also referred to as ‘structure’) as well as corresponding constructs such as attachment, mentalization, and epistemic trust have gained much interest in recent years. Since personality functioning mainly develops in early childhood, it might be an underlying pathway for the strong associations found between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and mental disorders and behavioral issues in adolescence and adulthood. Obtaining a comprehensive understanding of the role of personality functioning in psychopathology therefore is of utmost importance for both research and clinical practice alike. The inclusion of personality functioning as a dimensional notion of personality in the recent DSM-5 (AMPD) and the ICD-11 as well as recent advancements by the HiTOP research consortium introduced a substantial shift in personality diagnostics, allowing an overall assessment of the severity of personality dysfunction. In addition, personality functioning offers new treatment angles as it is modifiable by psychotherapy, and therefore, is highly relevant for research on psychotherapeutic interventions and prevention.

The goal of this research topic is to provide an overview of the most recent high-quality research in the field of personality functioning in varying contexts. We will examine, evaluate and discuss its role in order to advance our understanding regarding a) psychopathology, b) (trans-)diagnostic approaches, and c) treatment options for mental disorders and behavioral issues.

We want to address underlying associations and clinical implications for different mental disorders (e.g., depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, (complex) posttraumatic stress disorders, personality disorders, dissociative disorders, somatoform disorder, eating disorders, addiction disorders) and behavioral issues (e.g., interpersonal issues, partnership, and sexuality, COVID-related issues, suicidal ideations, disease management, adherence, self-awareness, bullying/mobbing, aggression). Additionally, we seek contributions addressing personality functioning in patients also suffering from comorbid chronic physical conditions.

This research topic will enhance the understanding of personality functioning as an underlying mechanism but also address its role in current diagnostic and treatment approaches.

We welcome original studies (including but not limited to clinical trials, observational studies, or epidemiological approaches); methodological papers (quantitative, qualitative, and mixed approaches); systematic reviews, reviews, or mini-reviews; theoretical works; brief research reports; general commentaries and perspective papers.

While studies addressing the following themes are strongly encouraged, contributors may also consider other approaches or topics not specifically mentioned:
• Associations, underlying pathways, and mechanisms considering the role of personality functioning or corresponding constructs (e.g., epistemic trust, mentalization, attachment)
• The impact of ACEs on personality functioning or corresponding constructs
• Advances in assessment and methodology, e.g. EMA and experimental – including neurobiological markers – research
• The role of personality functioning or corresponding constructs as risk factors or predictors
• Differences with respect to sociodemographic markers such as sex or age
• Interventional studies
• Personality functioning in the context of DSM-V and ICD-11

We are also interested in works addressing:
• Conceptual or theoretical frameworks considering personality functioning or corresponding constructs
• Development or validation of instruments assessing personality functioning or corresponding constructs

Keywords: mental disorders, behavioral issues, personality disorders, personality functioning, psychopathology, diagnostics, treatment, assessment, transdiagnostic, psychodynamic, ICD-11, DSM-V, Alternative Model of Personality Disorders, epistemic trust, mentalization, attachment, personality structure, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), childhood maltreatment


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Personality functioning (also referred to as ‘structure’) as well as corresponding constructs such as attachment, mentalization, and epistemic trust have gained much interest in recent years. Since personality functioning mainly develops in early childhood, it might be an underlying pathway for the strong associations found between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and mental disorders and behavioral issues in adolescence and adulthood. Obtaining a comprehensive understanding of the role of personality functioning in psychopathology therefore is of utmost importance for both research and clinical practice alike. The inclusion of personality functioning as a dimensional notion of personality in the recent DSM-5 (AMPD) and the ICD-11 as well as recent advancements by the HiTOP research consortium introduced a substantial shift in personality diagnostics, allowing an overall assessment of the severity of personality dysfunction. In addition, personality functioning offers new treatment angles as it is modifiable by psychotherapy, and therefore, is highly relevant for research on psychotherapeutic interventions and prevention.

The goal of this research topic is to provide an overview of the most recent high-quality research in the field of personality functioning in varying contexts. We will examine, evaluate and discuss its role in order to advance our understanding regarding a) psychopathology, b) (trans-)diagnostic approaches, and c) treatment options for mental disorders and behavioral issues.

We want to address underlying associations and clinical implications for different mental disorders (e.g., depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, (complex) posttraumatic stress disorders, personality disorders, dissociative disorders, somatoform disorder, eating disorders, addiction disorders) and behavioral issues (e.g., interpersonal issues, partnership, and sexuality, COVID-related issues, suicidal ideations, disease management, adherence, self-awareness, bullying/mobbing, aggression). Additionally, we seek contributions addressing personality functioning in patients also suffering from comorbid chronic physical conditions.

This research topic will enhance the understanding of personality functioning as an underlying mechanism but also address its role in current diagnostic and treatment approaches.

We welcome original studies (including but not limited to clinical trials, observational studies, or epidemiological approaches); methodological papers (quantitative, qualitative, and mixed approaches); systematic reviews, reviews, or mini-reviews; theoretical works; brief research reports; general commentaries and perspective papers.

While studies addressing the following themes are strongly encouraged, contributors may also consider other approaches or topics not specifically mentioned:
• Associations, underlying pathways, and mechanisms considering the role of personality functioning or corresponding constructs (e.g., epistemic trust, mentalization, attachment)
• The impact of ACEs on personality functioning or corresponding constructs
• Advances in assessment and methodology, e.g. EMA and experimental – including neurobiological markers – research
• The role of personality functioning or corresponding constructs as risk factors or predictors
• Differences with respect to sociodemographic markers such as sex or age
• Interventional studies
• Personality functioning in the context of DSM-V and ICD-11

We are also interested in works addressing:
• Conceptual or theoretical frameworks considering personality functioning or corresponding constructs
• Development or validation of instruments assessing personality functioning or corresponding constructs

Keywords: mental disorders, behavioral issues, personality disorders, personality functioning, psychopathology, diagnostics, treatment, assessment, transdiagnostic, psychodynamic, ICD-11, DSM-V, Alternative Model of Personality Disorders, epistemic trust, mentalization, attachment, personality structure, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), childhood maltreatment


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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