I would like to thank Jack Block, Bob Emmons, Harrison Gough, Bill Revelle, Auke Tellegen, Avril Thorne, Steve West, and two anonymous reviewers for their extremely helpful comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript. The views expressed herein are mine and should not be attributed to any of the particular people who have provided commentary and review. Preparation of the manuscript was aided by a grant from the Spencer Foundation.
The Five-Factor Model In Personality: A Critical Appraisal
Version of Record online: 28 APR 2006
Journal of Personality
Volume 60, Issue 2, pages 329–361, June 1992
How to Cite
McAdams, D. P. (1992), The Five-Factor Model In Personality: A Critical Appraisal. Journal of Personality, 60: 329–361. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.1992.tb00976.x
- Issue online: 28 APR 2006
- Version of Record online: 28 APR 2006
- Manuscript received August 6, 1990: revised December 4, 1990.
ABSTRACT This critical appraisal aims to position the five-factor model within the multifaceted field of personality psychology by highlighting six important limitations of the model. These are the model's (a) inability to address core constructs of personality functioning beyond the level of traits; (b) limitations with respect to the prediction of specific behavior and the adequate description of personsl' lives; (c) failure to provide compelling causal explanations for human behavior and experience; (d) disregard of the contextual and conditional nature of human experience; (e) failure to offer an attractive program for studying personality organization and integration; and (f) reliance on simple, noncontingent, and implicitly comparative statements about persons. The five-factor model is essentially a “psychology of the stranger,” providing information about persons that one would need to know when one knows nothing else about them. It is argued that because of inherent limitations, the Big Five may be viewed as one important model in personality studies but not the integrative model of personality.