"For years, researchers have speculated whether elements in the environment could create or elevate risk for a PD," he said. "For example, childhood trauma has been seen as important. However, to date, no prior research has demonstrated what factors, if present, help to protect against a PD until now."
However, the critical wildcard in all of this was genetic influences our inherited tendencies that dictate our psychological and behavioral responses to the kind of situations and stress that life constantly throws at us. Could the experience of a rich proximal process in early life foster the development of a strong affiliation system and healthier personality adjustment in adulthood? Lenzenweger's study suggests that this is indeed the case.
"Even when we factored in temperamental features such as anger, fear and distress, which are suggestive of a difficult or challenging child and which might make connecting with other people difficult, we still found that having a strong relationship with a significant adult has a huge impact on development," said Lenzenweger. "This means that the role of proximal processes in the development of the child did not simply mean that he or she was easy to relate to and therefore, the recipient of engaged attention of adults."
By drawing data from his own Longitudinal Study of Personality Disorders (LSPD) study, which began in 1991 and was the first of its kind funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health, Lenzenweger was able to conduct a multiwave analysis that enabled him to use time as an important research lever. By using the scientifically powerful multiwave approach to studying people over time, Lenzenweger's LSPD is in a relatively novel position to account for how individuals change during that period. He is also
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