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Assessment of Maladaptive Variants of Five-Factor Model Traits


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Donald R. Lynam, Purdue University, Department of Psychological Sciences, 703 Third Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2081. Email:


Research has shown that the personality disorders (PDs) bear consistent relations to general models of personality functioning, particularly in relation to the Five-Factor Model (FFM). In addition to suggesting that the PDs might be understood as constellations of traits from the FFM, this research also suggests that these constellations might be used to assess the PDs. The present article reviews previous research using the NEO Personality Inventory–Revised (NEO PI-R; Costa & McCrae, 1992) to assess disordered personality and discusses some shortcomings of this approach. Next, I detail studies that have used what is known about the relations between the FFM and disordered personality to construct new assessments that are grounded in the basic science of personality but designed to assess the more pathological aspects. Finally, the advantages of this approach are outlined.