Personality and Life Events in a Personality Disorder Sample

Linden R. Timoney, Zach Walsh, M. Tracie Shea, Shirley Yen, Emily 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 journalArticle


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. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPersonality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment
StateAccepted/In press - Oct 31 2016



  • Big Five
  • Five Factor Model
  • Life events
  • Personality
  • Personality disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Timoney, L. R., Walsh, Z., Shea, M. T., Yen, S., Ansell, E., Grilo, C. M., McGlashan, T. H., Stout, R. L., Bender, D. S., Skodol, A. E., Sanislow, C. A., Morey, L. C., & Gunderson, J. G. (Accepted/In press). Personality and Life Events in a Personality Disorder Sample. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment.