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Abstract

The Five-Factor Model (FFM) has become the predominant dimensional model of general personality structure. The purpose of this paper is to suggest a clinical application. A substantial body of research indicates that the personality disorders included within the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) can be understood as extreme and/or maladaptive variants of the FFM (the acronym “DSM” refers to any particular edition of the APA DSM). In addition, the current proposal for the forthcoming fifth edition of the DSM (i.e., DSM-5) is shifting closely toward an FFM dimensional trait model of personality disorder. Advantages of this shifting conceptualization are discussed, including treatment planning.