Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Jay R. Skidmore


The purpose of this study was to examine the patterns and discriminant utility of the five-factor model of personality ( "Big Five," consisting of neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness factors) with depressed and anxious outpatients.

One hundred two outpatients seeking services at a community mental health center in a small western community participated in the study. Subjects were 41 clients with a depressive disorder, 31 with an anxiety disorder, and 30 in a mixed clinical control group. Subjects completed the Neuroticism-Extraversion-Openness to Experience Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI).

Results indicate that both depressed and anxious clients score in the "very high" range on neuroticism and "low" on extraversion. However , neither of these two factors is useful in discriminating between depression and anxiety since their mean scores are essentially equivalent . Conscientiousness is the crucial variable that discriminates between depressed and anxious clients. The mean score for the anxiety group is in the "very low" range, significantly lower than the depressed group whose mean is in the "low-average" range. Openness to experience contributes mildly to discriminant utility, with the mean score of the depressed group in the "high-average" range and the mean score of the anxiety group in the "average" range. The agreeableness variable contributes minimally to the discriminant function.



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