This study investigated five-factor model personality traits in anxiety (simple phobia, social phobia, agoraphobia, and panic disorder) and major depressive disorders in a population-based sample. In the Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area Follow-up Study, psychiatrists administered the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry to 333 adult subjects who also completed the Revised NEO Personality Inventory. All of the disorders except simple phobia were associated with high neuroticism. Social phobia and agoraphobia were associated with low extraversion. In addition, lower-order facets of extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness were associated with certain disorders (i.e., low positive emotions in panic disorder; low trust and compliance in certain phobias; and low competence, achievement striving, and self-discipline in several disorders). This study emphasizes the utility of lower-order personality assessments and underscores the need for further research on personality/psychopathology etiologic relationships.
1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Send reprint requests to Dr. O. Joseph Bienvenu, 600 N. Wolfe St., Meyer 125, Baltimore, Maryland, 21287.
2National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, Maryland.
3Department of Community Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland.
4Department of Mental Hygiene, Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland.
These analyses were supported by National Institute of Mental Health grants R01-MH47447, T32-MH14592, and R01-MH50616, as well as a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Clinician Scientist Award (Dr. Bienvenu). The authors thank Drs. Rudolf Hoehn-Saric, Barbara Starfield, Rebecca Tominack, Gregory Bovasso, and Jeffrey Herbst for their comments.