Maladaptive variants of adaptive traits and bloated specific factors

Joshua R. Oltmanns, Thomas A. Widiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The five-factor model of personality disorder (FFMPD) hypothesizes that the traditionally adaptive five-factor model (FFM) poles (e.g., agreeableness) include maladaptive variants. However, “bloated specific factors” (BSFs), which are artifactual factors that emerge when a specific facet of a broader construct is over-represented, complicate research on the maladaptive variants. Twenty-five sets of factor analyses are completed herein demonstrating that items from maladaptive trait facet scales form BSFs when over-represented in factor analyses with other FFM indicators, separating from the higher-order domains in which they were originally located. These results held in 23 of 25 cases. Ensuring balanced collections of scales representing constructs would help researchers avoid BSFs. The implications of BSFs for future research on personality structure are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-185
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
StatePublished - Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Institute of Aging under Award Number F31AG055233 . The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.


  • Adaptive
  • Bloated specific factors
  • Five-factor model
  • Maladaptive
  • Personality traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Psychology (all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Maladaptive variants of adaptive traits and bloated specific factors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this