Yes and no. The Difficult Person Test is based on peer-reviewed research, but the researchers behind the study in question weren’t involved in the development of IDRlabs’ online test.
In their study, Sleep, Miller, and their colleagues sought to gain a more nuanced understanding of the structure of personality. Their research examined the structure of antagonism and was based on commonly used measures of pathological personality traits, and it involved 532 participants from a large southeastern university. Their findings demonstrated how antagonism unfolds as a trait at varying levels of specificity and intensity.
One of the main points Miller emphasizes is that antagonist traits become a problem if they are fixed. “Flexible personality is healthy personality,” he explains. “You want your personality to shift to some degree based on the circumstance. If you cannot shift your personality to meet certain needs, it’s a problem. [In other words], if you’re difficult in every setting it could be considered a disorder, if the problems are pervasive, persistent, and longstanding.”
GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC, a licensed mental health counselor at PsychPoint, adds that difficult people can often express that they do not care how their behavior affects others. “[Difficult people] believe it is OK to be careless with other people’s boundaries and will often reject responsibility for their actions and try to overpower others,” Guarino tells mbg. This is where radical honesty with oneself and willingness to change and be flexible is paramount.
Furthermore, Miller notes that people could be difficult for a lot of reasons outside of the context of antagonism. “Emotional dysregulation could be ‘difficult’ for someone who needs constant reassurance,” he says. “There are a lot of reasons that someone is difficult. That doesn’t mean they’re an asshole.”
So, in taking The Difficult Person Test, it is not necessarily helpful to be attached to your results or think that they are set in stone. Rather, it might be helpful to use the results as a friendly guide that can help illuminate areas within that you may not have been aware of or that may need adjustment. It’s also helpful to note that no matter your results, implementing flexibility and joyful effort in approaching personality tendencies is a robustly effective approach. On the other hand, shame and judgment never help with personal progress.