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A Five-Factor Model Framework for Understanding Childhood Personality Disorder Antecedents


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Barbara De Clercq or Filip De Fruyt, Department of Developmental, Personality and Social Psychology, Ghent University, H. Dunantlaan 2, B-9000 Gent, Belgium. Email:


The present contribution reviews evidence that supports the relevance of childhood antecedents of personality disorders, and advocates that the validity of a Five-Factor Model framework for describing general trait differences in childhood can be extended towards the field of developmental personality difficulties. In addition, we suggest that several traditional childhood Axis I conditions include a substantial trait component that may be responsible for the recurring finding that childhood Axis I disorders are predictive for adult Axis II disorders. Given the valuable information provided by a trait assessment, we further propose to integrate dimensional personality and personality pathology measures as standard tools in mental health assessments at a young age.