chapter  6
32 Pages

The Five-Factor Personality Model: How Complete and Satisfactory Is It?

OVERVIEW This chapter concerns the five-factor personality model proposed by Costa and McCrae (1985), Digman (1990), Goldberg and Digman (1994), and others as a basis for a comprehensive view of the structure of human personality. It briefly specifies the major features of the model, outlines its history, and alludes to criticisms of it offered by such writers as Block (1995a), Boyle, Stankov, and Cattell (1995), Eysenck (1992), Pervin (1994), and Tellegen (1993). Although the author sees merit in the model as a provisional foundation for further research, he concludes that it is necessarily incomplete or otherwise unsatisfactory in several ways: (a) Partly by virtue of previously unrecognized technical deficiencies in its research basis, it is essentially a model limited to second-stratum factors and thus far does not adequately address either lower order dimensions or possible third-stratum factors; (b) it is already evident that the model does not cover several major secondor higher order dimensions that can be found to exist; and (c) the model fails to come to grips with the motives, attitudes, and beliefs that may underlie personality dimensions defined by typical questionnaire items. These points are illustrated through reanalysis of a correlation matrix originally analyzed and interpreted by Digman and Inouye (1986). The reanalysis reveals, in addition to the “domain” factors proposed in the standard five-factor model, five dimensions at the first-order

“facet” level, and two third-order “superfactors” that account for a large proportion of the covariance among the standard five factors, or certainly a large proportion of the covariance among the items on which the study was based.