Obtaining and Losing the Bipolarity of the Five-Factor Model Through Factor Analysis

Cristina Crego, Joshua R. Oltmanns, Thomas A. Widiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The predominant model of general personality structure is arguably the 5-factor model (FFM), consisting of the 5 broad domains of neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. A FFM of personality disorder (FFMPD) has proposed maladaptive variants at both poles of the FFM. The purpose of the current study was to identify a subset of FFMPD scales, using factor analysis, that illustrate the bipolarity present in the FFMPD, but equally important, to demonstrate that the presence of bipolarity is impaired by a number of concerns, including the impact of nondiametric scales and the occupation of interstitial space. All of the FFMPD scales were administered to 443 community participants recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk. Bipolarity was evident in a series of factor analyses of subsets of FFMPD scales, with the exception of openness due to the presence of nondiametric scales. Scales identified in the current study can be used to provide an alternative measure of maladaptive personality structure, particularly if there is an interest in assessing for maladaptive variants at both poles, but an additional point of emphasis in the current study was also the fragility of this bipolar factor structure within factor analytic research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPersonality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment
StateAccepted/In press - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Psychological Association.


  • Bipolar
  • Five-factor model
  • Maladaptive
  • Personality
  • Structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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