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37.1: Introduction

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    The purpose of this module is to define what is meant by a personality disorder, identify the five domains of general personality, identify the six personality disorders proposed for retention in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), summarize the etiology for antisocial and borderline personality disorder, and identify the treatment for borderline personality disorder.

    Everybody has their own unique personality; that is, their characteristic manner of thinking, feeling, behaving, and relating to others (John, Robins & Pervin, 2008). Some people are typically introverted, quiet, and withdrawn, whereas others are more extraverted, active, and outgoing. Some individuals are invariably conscientiousness, dutiful, and efficient, whereas others might be characteristically undependable and negligent. Some individuals are consistently anxious, self-conscious, and apprehensive, whereas others are routinely relaxed, self-assured, and unconcerned. Personality traits refer to these characteristic, routine ways of thinking, feeling, and relating to others. There are signs or indicators of these traits in childhood, but they become particularly evident when the person is an adult. Personality traits are integral to each person’s sense of self, as they involve what people value, how they think and feel about things, what they like to do, and, basically, what they are like most every day through- out much of their lives.

    There are literally hundreds of different personality traits. All of these traits can be organized into the broad dimensions referred to as the Five-Factor Model (John, Naumann, & Soto, 2008). These five broad domains are inclusive; there do not appear to be any traits of personality that lie outside of the Five-Factor Model. This even applies to traits that you may use to describe yourself. Table \(\PageIndex{1}\) provides illustrative traits for both poles of the five domains of this model of personality. A number of the traits that you see in this table may describe you. If you can think of some other traits that describe your- self, you should be able to place them somewhere in this table.

    Table \(\PageIndex{1}\): Illustrative Traits for Both Poles across Five-Factor Model Personality Dimensions

    Neuroticism (Emotional Instability) 

    Fearful, apprehensive, angry, bitter, pessimistic, glum, timid, embarrassed, tempted, urgent, helpless, fragile

    Emotional Stability

    Relaxed, unconcerned, cool, even-tempered, optimistic, self-assured, glib, shameless, controlled, restrained, clear- thinking, fearless, unflappable


    Cordial, affectionate, attached, sociable, outgoing, dominant, forceful, vigorous, energetic, active, reckless, daring, high- spirited, excitement-seeking


    Cold, aloof, indifferent, withdrawn, isolated, unassuming, quiet, resigned, passive, lethargic, cautious, monotonous, dull, placid, anhedonic

    Openness (Unconventionality) 

    Dreamer, unrealistic, imaginative, aberrant, aesthetic, self- aware, eccentric, strange, odd, peculiar, creative, permissive, broad-minded

    Closedness (Conventionality)

    Practical, concrete, uninvolved, no aesthetic interest, constricted, unaware, alexythymic, routine, predictable, habitual, stubborn, pragmatic, rigid, traditional, inflexible, dogmatic


    Gullible, naive, trusting, confiding, honest, sacrificial, giving, docile, cooperative, meek, self-effacing, humble, soft, empathetic


    Skeptical, cynical, suspicious, paranoid, cunning, manipulative, deceptive, stingy, selfish, greedy, exploitative, oppositional, combative, aggressive, confident, boastful, arrogant, tough, callous, ruthless


    Perfectionistic, efficient, ordered, methodical, organized, rigid, reliable, dependable, workaholic, ambitious, dogged, devoted, cautious, ruminative, reflective


    Lax, negligent, haphazard, disorganized, sloppy, casual, undependable, unethical, aimless, desultory, hedonistic, negligent, hasty, careless, rash


    37.1: Introduction is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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