Millon's Active-Passive and Independent-Dependent Personality Dimensions as Predictors of Behavior in a Competitive Task

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Millon (1969) has attempted to create a single theory of personality from which the major varieties of psychopathology can be derived logically. This personality classification scheme has two dimensions. The first dimension has to do with sources of reinforcement. In Millon's personality system, sources of interpersonal feedback sought by the individual form an INDEPENDENT-DEPENDENT dimension. The second dimension concerns styles of instrumental behavior, or the manner in which an individual seeks to obtain reinforcements (an ACTIVE- PASSIVE dimension). These two dimensions (four sources of reinforcement and two styles of instrumental behavior) combine to describe eight personality patterns forming the basis of Millon's theory. The construct validity of four of the personality patterns proposed by the theory were tested in a competitive task.

A pool of undergraduate males were screened with the Millon- Illinois Self Report Inventory (MI-SRI) (Form P) (Millon, 1975). Forty individuals having the ten highest scores on the ACTIVE-INDEPENDENT, ACTIVE-DEPENDENT, PASSIVE-INDEPENDENT and PASSIVE-DEPENDENT personality scales respectively were selected as subjects. Ten other individuals who had taken the MI-SRI (Form P) were selected at random to comprise a control group. As part of a competitive word game, the subjects performed a task that allowed them the opportunity to display either an ACTIVE or .a PASSIVE style of instrumental behavior and to select either an INDEPENDENT or DEPENDENT source of reinforcement (feedback). Results of the study indicate that with the present population sample, test reliability estimates

It was possible to statistically discriminate between subjects on the personality scales selected. It was further demonstrated that these subjects performed differentially according to their personality group assignment on pa^rts of the task devised to test Millon's personality dimensions. A tyo-way analysis of variance indicated that the task appropriately discriminated between subjects on the INDEPENDENT- DEPENDENT dimension (j> < .001) but did not discriminate between subjects on the ACTIVE-PASSIVE dimension. These results offer partial support for Millon's personality theory. Several reasons for the lack of discrimination on the ACTIVE-PASSIVE dimensions are explored. Implications of these results for Mellon's total personality theory as well as clinical implications of identifying feedback sources for individuals are discussed.

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