We describe in detail normal personality traits in persons with psychiatrist-ascertained anxiety and depressive disorders in a general population sample. We investigated Revised NEO Personality Inventory traits in 731 community subjects examined by psychiatrists with the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry. All of the lifetime disorders of interest (simple phobia, social phobia, agoraphobia, panic disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder (MDD), and dysthymia) were associated with high neuroticism. Social phobia, agoraphobia, and dysthymia were associated with low extraversion, and OCD was associated with high openness to experience. In addition, lower-order facets of extraversion (E), openness (O), agreeableness (A), and conscientiousness (C) were associated with certain disorders (specifically, low assertiveness (E) and high openness to feelings (O) with MDD, low trust (A) with social phobia and agoraphobia, low self-discipline (C) with several of the disorders, and low competence and achievement striving (C) with social phobia). Neuroticism in particular was related to acuity of disorder. Longitudinal study is necessary to differentiate state versus pathoplastic effects. Depression and Anxiety 00:000–000, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.