Article

Does Having a Dysfunctional Personality Hurt Your Career? Axis II Personality Disorders and Labor Market Outcomes

Professor, Departments of Medicine and Health Services, University of California Los Angeles. 911 Broxton Plaza, Room 106, Box 951736, Los Angeles, California, 90095-1736 USA. .
Industrial Relations A Journal of Economy and Society (Impact Factor: 1.48). 01/2011; 50(1):149-173. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-232X.2010.00629.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Despite recent interest in how psychiatric disorders affect work outcomes, little is known about the role of personality disorders (PDs), which are poorly understood yet prevalent (15%) and impairing. We used nationally representative data for 12,457 men and 16,061 women to examine associations of PDs with any employment, full-time employment, chronic unemployment, being fired or laid off, and having trouble with a boss or co-worker. Antisocial, paranoid, and obsessive-compulsive PDs demonstrated the broadest patterns of associations with adverse outcomes. Findings suggest that PDs may have implications for the productivity of co-workers as well as that of the disordered employees themselves.

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    • "Relatedly, further insights may be gained from looking into specific dark personality traits. As suggested by previous studies (e.g.,Baker, 1979;Ettner et al., 2011;Wille et al., 2013), specific personality disorders may be particularly relevant in explaining specific work experiences and/or behaviors that might lead to turnover. For example, narcissistic individuals may quit their jobs (or experience work failures) in order to seek (temporary) " narcissistic gratification " or avoid the clash between their grandiose sense of self and the harsh work demands/challenges (Baker), and those with borderline personality disorder tend to have difficulty sustaining employment (Wille et al.). "
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    • "Overall, individuals affected by personality disorders have a higher risk of being laid off (Ettner et al., 2011), and of receiving a disability pension (Ostby et al., 2014). With an overall prevalence of about 15% in the general population (Ettner et al., 2011), personality disorders are a relevant mental health problem for the workforce. One situation in which reactions of colleagues and supervisors are of particular importance is when returning to work after sick leave. "
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    • "In fact, Karpman posited that only primary psychopathy should be considered ''true'' psychopathy. Furthermore, due to their impulsivity-related problems it is unlikely that secondary psychopaths can be successful workers (if they enter the work force; Ettner et al. 2011). Thus, for the present study, we use primary psychopathy as a predictor. "
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