Levels and domains in personality

D.P. McAdams, R.A. Emmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


This special issue is centered around the problem of levels and domains in personality functioning. What kind of constructs—and at what levels and in what domains—are needed to understand what a person is like? To account for the complexity and scope of human lives, personality psychologists have traditionally put forth lists and taxonomies of factors, features, and variables that must be taken into consideration in formulating an adequate psychological portrait of the whole person. The five-factor model of personality traits has recently been offered as a comprehensive framework; however, critical analyses of the trait concept have revealed the limitations of a trait-based model of personality. Recognizing that the concept of trait is indispensable to a vital psychology of personality, this special issue aims to (a) communicate recent developments and organizational frameworks for understanding the person at multiple levels and in varied domains, and (b) articulate and elaborate units of analysis that, when combined with trait assessments, yield a psychology of personality that is commensurate with the complexity of individual functioning and that offers greater potential for the attainment of the original goals of the discipline.


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