Author(s): Morey LC, Gunderson JG, Quigley BD, Shea MT, Skodol AE
This study evaluated the accuracy of hypothesized relationships of the five-factor model of personality to four targeted personality disorders in a large multisite sample of patients. Data were gathered from 668 patients, who were assigned to one of five study cells: Borderline, Schizotypal, Avoidant, and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, and a Major Depression without personality disorder comparison group. Patients were administered a questionnaire designed to assess the domains and facets of the five-factor model and results were compared among diagnostic groups and between patients and community norms. Although many relationships between personality traits and disorders were obtained, the magnitude of the relationships varied greatly as a function of the comparison group involved. In general, the differences between the personality disorder patients and community norms were far larger than the differences between the specific personality disorder groups. Also, for avoidant personality, it appeared that statistical interactions between personality factors are needed to better differentiate it from other personality disorder groups. The four personality disorder groups studied could each be distinguished from community norms on the personality dimensions of the five-factor model. However, differentiating among the four groups proved more difficult, as each shared the configuration of high Neuroticism, low Agreeableness, and low Conscientiousness. It does not appear that these disorders represent extremes of different personality dimensions, but rather each appears to be a variant of the same extreme configuration. Differences between personality disorders may reflect diverse interactions among the dimensions, rather than differences on single dimensions.