Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor/Committee Member

Thane Erickson

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Amy Mezulis

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Keyne Law


Psychological distress encompasses transdiagnostic symptoms of anxiety, depression, and anger, which all feature of emotional dysregulation and are often associated with interpersonal stressors. To understand these forms of distress as they occur in daily life, examination of both personality vulnerabilities and social situational context is needed. Interpersonal circumplex research and theory suggests human needs for agency and communion, and therefore others’ cold-dominant behavior is highly aversive and likely to cause psychosocial distress, but degree and type of distress (e.g., anxiety versus anger) may depend upon personality. Detachment and antagonism are the most interpersonal of the pathological personality traits (Southard et al., 2015), and may amplify the effects of such stressors on distress, but little research has examined these traits beyond cross-sectional designs. The present study tested baseline pathological personality traits prospectively predicting distress across 15 naturalistic diary assessments of interpersonal stressors across five weeks, in a sample of 155 undergraduate college students. As hypothesized, within-person increases in perceived cold-dominant behavior predicted increases in distress (anxiety, depression, and anger). Regarding personality traits, high detachment prospectively predicted higher depression and anger in daily life, but had a unique effect on depression after accounting for shared variance among distress outcomes, as expected. Antagonism predicted higher downstream anxiety, depression, and anger, but uniquely predicted anger as expected, and depression unexpectedly. Contrary to hypotheses, personality did not amplify effects of stressors on distress in any cross-level interactions. Overall, this study extends cross-sectional research by showing pathological interpersonal traits as risk factors for downstream transdiagnostic symptoms of depression, anxiety, and anger.