DiSC Research Information Page

DiSC Research 

People Development Australia Director Peter Agnew has recently undertaken research into DiSC, a similar model known as the Interpersonal Circumplex and personality disorders defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5). Thank you to all those who participated in the online survey and contributed to the research. The research report is attached below. 

What is the study about?

This research will assist coaching and counsellor practitioners to understand personality style and its links to elements of personality disorders, and will allow them to explore the early use of evidenced-based behavioural intervention strategies without the use of complex diagnostic tools. Previous research has indicated that seven of the 10 personality disorders included within the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013) are linked to dimensions of the Interpersonal Circumplex (IPC). The IPC has substantial overlap with a common workplace personality tool, called the DiSC Profile (Scullard & Baum, 2015). This quantitative study explored the relationship of a leaders DiSC style and DSM-5 personality disorders while undertaking a comparison to the Interpersonal Circomplex model. The study consisted of 83 participants who had previously undertaken a DiSC profile were asked to complete an online survey consisting of questions from the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire (PDQ-4). A Rank Bi-serial correlation coefficient was used to indicate the direction of the relationship between personality style (PS) and personality disorder (PD). The results generally support the hypothesis that there is an association between a leaders’ DiSC style and DSM-5 personality disorders listed in the same region as the IPC model. The findings also show associations with several other personality disorders (PD) with certain personality styles (PS) while also identifying those PD’s with negative associations. These results indicate that coaches and counsellors have the potential to use the less intrusive DiSC profile for early behavioural development discussions while pointing to areas of more stringent testing if necessary. Further research could explore the use of DiSC subscales and the intensity of style measurement across the DiSC model.   

Keywords: Personality style; behavioural style, DiSC profile, personality disorders, interpersonal circumplex, leader behaviour

HREC Approval Number is:605170620

Research Details


DiSC Profiling and its use in identifying personality development. A study on the relationship between a leaders DiSC Profile and personality characteristics defined in the DSM-5


If you would like further information on this project you may contact the associate researcher Peter Agnew via the Contract Us page