Personality Disorders and the Five-Factor Model among French Speakers in Africa and Europe

Jérôme Rossier, Christine Rigozzi, Personality Across Culture Research Group, Caroline Ng Tseung-Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To describe the relation between personality disorders (PDs) and the Five-Factor Model (FFM)—a dimensional model describing normal personality traits known for its invariance across cultures—in 2 different cultural settings. Several authors have suggested that PDs may be more accurately described using a dimensional model instead of a categorical one. Method: Subjects from 9 French-speaking African countries (n = 2014) and from Switzerland (n = 697) completed both the French version of the International Personality Disorder Examination screening questionnaire, assessing the 10 DSM-IV PDs, and the French version of the Revised NEO Personality Inventory, assessing the 5 domains and 30 facets of the FFM. Results: Correlations between PDs and the 5 domains of the FFM were similar in both samples. For example, neuroticism was highly correlated with borderline, avoidant, and dependent PDs in both Africa and Switzerland. The total rank-order correlation (rho) between the 2 correlation matrices was very high (rho = 0.93) and significant (P < 0.001), as were the rhos for all domains of the FFM and all PDs, except paranoid and dependent PDs. However, the rhos for PDs across facet scales were all highly significant (P < 0.001). Moreover, 80% of Widiger and colleagues' predictions and 70% of Lynam and Widiger's prototypes, concerning the relation between PDs and the FFM, were confirmed in both samples. Conclusions: The relation between PDs and the FFM was stable in 2 samples separated by a great cultural distance. These results suggest that a dimensional approach and in particular the FFM may be useful for describing PDs in various cultural settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-544
Number of pages11
JournalThe Canadian Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


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