Personality and Life Events in a Personality Disorder Sample

Linden R. Timoney, Zach Walsh, M. Tracie Shea, Shirley Yen, Emily B. Ansell, Carlos M. Grilo, Thomas H. McGlashan, Robert L. Stout, Donna S. Bender, Andrew E. Skodol, Charles A. Sanislow, Leslie C. Morey, John G. Gunderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Individuals with a personality disorder (PD) tend to experience more negative life events (NLEs) than positive life events (PLEs). In community samples, the Five Factor Model of personality (FFM) predicts both positive and negative life events. The present research examined whether FFM normal personality traits were associated with positive and negative life events among individuals with 1 of 4 PDs: Avoidant, borderline, schizotypal, and obsessive-compulsive, and tested whether associations between the FFM of personality and PLEs and NLEs were similar across the 4 PD groups and a control group. Among aggregated PDs, neuroticism was positively associated with NLEs, whereas extraversion, openness to experience, and conscientiousness were positively associated with PLEs. Comparisons of each PD group to a control group of individuals with a major depressive disorder indicated that the FFM traits operated similarly across clinical samples with and without PD. Our findings indicate that normal personality traits can be used to help understand the lives of individuals with PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-382
Number of pages7
JournalPersonality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • Big Five
  • Five Factor Model
  • life events
  • personality
  • personality disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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