Journal of Personality Disorders vol:19 issue:2 pages:171-201
To contribute to the case for a dimensional conceptualization of psychopathology in general and maladaptive personality or personality disorders in particular, the present paper reviews the evidence for a dimensional representation of childhood temperament and personality. The review of temperament and variable-centered as well as person-centered approaches to childhood personality leads us to propose five broadband dimensions that capture individual differences in children and adolescents: extraversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness/intellect. Our analysis of the CBCL (Achenbach, 1991) and the DIPSI (currently under development at Ghent University), two dimensional models for childhood psychopathology, suggests two common broadband factors, internalizing and externalizing. The relations between the dimensional representation of childhood temperament/personality and psychopathology are documented with data from general population and clinical samples of children and adolescents. The article concludes with a proposal on how the higher-order dimensions emerging from studies of adaptive and maladaptive individual differences in childhood could be integrated in a common dimensional model.