The Relationship Between the FFM Personality Traits, State Psychopathology, and Sexual Compulsivity in a Sample of Male College Students


Corresponding Author: Joana Pinto, MA, Departamento de Educação, Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro 3800, Portugal. Tel: +351 226 079 700; Fax: +351 226 079 725; E-mail:;



Several studies have advocated a relationship between psychopathological features and sexual compulsivity. Such relationship is often found among individuals seeking help for out of control sexual behavior, suggesting that the association between psychological adjustment and sexual compulsivity may have a significant clinical value. However, a more complete approach to the topic of sexual compulsivity would also include the analysis of nonclinical samples as healthy individuals may be at risk of developing some features of hypersexuality in the future.


The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between stable traits of personality, state psychopathology, and sexual compulsivity in a sample of male college students. Furthermore, the potential mediating role of state psychopathology in the relationship between personality traits and sexual compulsivity was tested.

Main Outcome Measures

Participants completed the following measures: the NEO Five-Factor Inventory, the Brief Symptom Inventory, and the Compulsive Sexual Behavior Inventory-22.


The sample included 152 male college students recruited in a Portuguese university using nonrandom methods. The measures were completed individually and anonymously.


Findings on state psychopathology suggested that psychoticism may be one of the key dimensions associated with sexual compulsivity in male students. The personality traits of Neuroticism and Agreeableness were also significant predictors of sexual compulsivity. Findings on the mediating effects suggested that state psychopathology mediated the relationship between Neuroticism and sexual compulsivity but not between Agreeableness and sexual compulsivity.


A psychopathological path (encompassing Neuroticism and state psychopathology) and a behavioral path (encompassing Agreeableness features) may be involved in sexual compulsivity as reported by a nonclinical sample of male students. Pinto J, Carvalho J, and Nobre PJ. The relationship between the FFM personality traits, state psychopathology, and sexual compulsivity in a sample of male college students. J Sex Med 2013;10:1773–1782.