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J Pers. 2001 Apr;69(2):253-76.

Personality disorders as extreme variants of common personality dimensions: can the Five-Factor Model adequately represent psychopathy?

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University of Kentucky, Lexington 40506-0044, USA.


The present study examined Widiger and Lynam's (1998) hypothesis that psychopathy can be represented using the Five-Factor Model (FFM) of personality. Participants in the study consisted of 481 21-22-year-old men and women who are part of an ongoing longitudinal study. Psychopathy was assessed by the degree of similarity between an individual's NEO-PI-R and an expert-generated FFM psychopathy prototype. The expert-based prototype supported the account of Widiger and Lynam (1998), as did the correlations between the NEO-PI-R Psychopathy Resemblance Index (PRI) and the individual personality dimensions. The PRI was also related in predicted ways to measures of antisocial behavior, drug use, and psychopathology. The results support the contention that psychopathy can be understood as an extreme variant of common dimensions of personality, and underscore the utility of a dimensional model of personality disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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