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Negative affective symptoms (e.g., anxiety, depression, and anger) are correlated and have parallel associations with outcomes, as do related personality traits (i.e., facets of neuroticism), often prompting statistical control (i.e., partialing) to determine independent effects. However, such adjustments among predictor variables can alter their construct validity. In three studies, the interpersonal circumplex (IPC) and a related analytic approach (i.e., Structural Summary Method) were used to evaluate changes in interpersonal correlates of negative affective characteristics resulting from partialing.


Samples of undergraduates (Sample 1 n = 3283; Sample 2 = 688) and married couples (n = 300 couples) completed self-report (three samples) and partner rating (sample 3) measures of anxiety, depression and anger, and IPC measures of interpersonal style.


Anxiety, depression, and anger had expected interpersonal correlates across samples. Partialing depression eliminated interpersonal correlates of anxiety. When anxiety was controlled, depression measures were more strongly associated with submissiveness and less closely associated with low warmth. Adjustments involving anger magnified differences in dominance versus submissiveness associated with the negative affects.


Removal of overlap among negative affective measures via partialing alters their interpersonal correlates, potentially complicating interpretation of adjusted associations.


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:

Carlson, S. E., Smith, T. W., Williams, P. G., Parkhurst, K. A., Tinajero, R., Goans, C., Hirai, M., & Ruiz, J. M. (2022). Partialing alters interpersonal correlates of negative affective symptoms and traits: A circumplex illustration. Journal of Personality, 00, 1– 17. which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.

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Journal of Personality



Available for download on Tuesday, August 20, 2024

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