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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Rating of personality disorder features in popular movie characters

Morten Hesse1*, Sanna Schliewe2 and Rasmus R Thomsen2

Author affiliations

1 Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research, Aarhus University, Købmagergade 26E, 1150 Copenhagen, Denmark

2 Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 5, 1353 København K

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Citation and License

BMC Psychiatry 2005, 5:45  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-5-45

Published: 8 December 2005

Abstract

Background

Tools for training professionals in rating personality disorders are few. We present one such tool: rating of fictional persons. However, before ratings of fictional persons can be useful, we need to know whether raters get the same results, when rating fictional characters.

Method

Psychology students at the University of Copenhagen (N = 8) rated four different movie characters from four movies based on three systems: Global rating scales representing each of the 10 personality disorders in the DSM-IV, a criterion list of all criteria for all DSM-IV personality disorders in random order, and the Ten Item Personality Inventory for rating the five-factor model. Agreement was estimated based on intraclass-correlation.

Results

Agreement for rating scales for personality disorders ranged from 0.04 to 0.54. For personality disorder features based on DSM-IV criteria, agreement ranged from 0.24 to 0.89, and agreement for the five-factor model ranged from 0.05 to 0.88. The largest multivariate effect was observed for criteria count followed by the TIPI, followed by rating scales. Raters experienced personality disorder criteria as the easiest, and global personality disorder scales as the most difficult, but with significant variation between movies.

Conclusion

Psychology students with limited or no clinical experience can agree well on the personality traits of movie characters based on watching the movie. Rating movie characters may be a way to practice assessment of personality.