Trait-based assessment of borderline personality disorder using the NEO five-factor inventory: Phenotypic and genetic support

Lauren R. Few, Julia D. Grant, Timothy J. Trull, Thomas F. Oltmanns, Michael T. Lynskey, Joshua D. Miller, Jessica Maples, Elliot C. Nelson, Nicholas G. Martin, Arpana Agrawal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

The aim of the current study was to examine the reliability and validity of a trait-based assessment of borderline personality disorder (BPD) using the NEO Five-Factor Inventory. Correlations between the Five-Factor Inventory-BPD composite (FFI-BPD) and explicit measures of BPD were examined across 6 samples, including undergraduate, community, and clinical samples. The median correlation was .60, which was nearly identical to the correlation between measures of BPD and a BPD composite generated from the full Revised NEO Personality Inventory (i.e., NEO-BPD; r = .61). Correlations between FFI-BPD and relevant measures of psychiatric symptomatology and etiology (e.g., childhood abuse, drug use, depression, and personality disorders) were also examined and compared to those generated using explicit measures of BPD and NEO-BPD. As expected, the FFI-BPD composite correlated most strongly with measures associated with high levels of Neuroticism, such as depression, anxiety, and emotion dysregulation, and the pattern of correlations generated using the FFI-BPD was highly similar to those generated using explicit measures of BPD and NEO-BPD. Finally, genetic analyses estimated that FFI-BPD is 44% heritable, which is comparable to meta-analytic research examining genetics associated with BPD, and revealed that 71% of the genetic influences are shared between FFI-BPD and a self-report measure assessing BPD (Personality Assessment Inventory-Borderline subscale; Morey, 1991). Generally, these results support the use of FFI-BPD as a reasonable proxy for BPD, which has considerable implications, particularly for potential gene-finding efforts in large, epidemiological datasets that include the NEO FFI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-50
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological Assessment
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Keywords

  • 5-factor model
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Genetics

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