Personality and Psychopathology: An Application of the Five-Factor Model


  • The authors express their appreciation to Neils Waller and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions concerning an earlier version of this article.

concerning this article should be addressed to Thomas A. Widiger, 115 Kastle Hall, Psychology Department, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0044.


ABSTRACT Our review is concerned with the relationship of the five-factor model of personality to psychopathology, focusing in particular on Axis II personality disorders and depression. The five factors provide a particularly compelling model for interpreting the Axis II personality disorders as maladaptive variants of normal personality traits. However, we also discuss methodological and conceptual limitations of this application. There has been little research on the relationship of Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness to Axis I mental disorders, but considerable attention has been given to Neuroticism and Extraversion. We focus in particular on the difficulty in distinguishing between the various ways in which personality can relate to depression, either as a predisposition to, a complication of, a pathoplastic effect upon, or a spectrum variant of the mental disorder. We conclude with recommendations for future research.