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Structured Interview for the Five-Factor Model of Personality

Timothy J. Trull, PhD, and Thomas A. Widiger, PhD

Assesses both normal and abnormal personality functioning
Paper and pencil
Age range:
18 years to 79 years
1 hour
Qualification level:
A degree from an accredited 4-year college or university in psychology, counseling, speech-language pathology, or a closely related field plus satisfactory completion of coursework in test interpretation, psychometrics and measurement theory, educational statistics, or a closely related area; or license or certification from an agency that requires appropriate training and experience in the ethical and competent use of psychological tests. Close

The SIFFM is a semistructured interview assessing the five bipolar personality domains of the Five-Factor Model: Neuroticism (vs. Emotional Stability); Extraversion (vs. Introversion); Openness to Experience (vs. Closedness to Experience); Agreeableness (vs. Antagonism); and Conscientiousness (vs. Negligence).

Each of these broad domains can be differentiated into six underlying, nonoverlapping facets. The Five-Factor Model is comprehensive because it includes all of the adaptive and the maladaptive personality traits that have been emphasized within the English language.

The SIFFM approach is to first identify the individual's salient personality traits and then to assess whether these traits are maladaptive within the social, occupational, or personal context in which the individual functions. This approach avoids the problems inherent in arbitrary cutoffs and diagnostic thresholds.

The SIFFM is modeled closely after the NEO PI-R, an empirically validated self-report version of the Five-Factor Model. The SIFFM interview format allows the professional to ask probes and follow-up questions as needed. Therefore, the use of the two instruments conjointly could be particularly useful.

The SIFFM is a criterion-referenced instrument. It is straightforward and uses fairly common trait terms and behavioral descriptors. It contains 120 interview items and requires approximately one hour to administer. Answers are rated on a 3-point scale (0, 1, 2). Scores reflect both the degree to which the particular personality trait is present and the level of dysfunction that accompanies the trait.

The Professional Manual provides detailed information about the development, reliability, and validity of the SIFFM; administration, scoring, and interpretation; and a description of each domain, its relationship to various forms of psychopathology, the dysfunction associated with high and low levels of each domain, and a summary of SIFFM facet/DSM-IV personality disorder relationships.