Personality Trait Structure as a Human Universal

Personality, Stress, and Coping Section, National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.
American Psychologist (Impact Factor: 6.87). 06/1997; 52(5):509-16. DOI: 10.1037//0003-066X.52.5.509
Source: PubMed


Patterns of covariation among personality traits in English-speaking populations can be summarized by the five-factor model (FFM). To assess the cross-cultural generalizability of the FFM, data from studies using 6 translations of the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (P.T. Costa & R. R. McCrae, 1992) were compared with the American factor structure. German, Portuguese, Hebrew, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese samples (N = 7,134) showed similar structures after varimax rotation of 5 factors. When targeted rotations were used, the American factor structure was closely reproduced, even at the level of secondary loadings. Because the samples studied represented highly diverse cultures with languages from 5 distinct language families, these data strongly suggest that personality trait structure is universal.

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    • "At a general level, extraversion has sometimes been conceptualized as a propensity toward reward-seeking (Cloninger, Przybeck, & Svrakic, 1991) and has thus been linked to ambition, competitiveness, exploration , and other pleasurable activities (Nettle, 2005). At the interpersonal level, extraversion is characterized by high levels of social engagement, surgency, energy, activity, gregariousness, and positive affect (John et al., 1991; McCrae & Costa, 1997). The interpersonal dimension of extraversion , however, is heterogeneous and includes both a nurturance/ love component (expressed for example, in romantic or parent–child relationships) and a reward-seeking component, which leads extraverted individuals to compete for social attention and social success as well as pursue novelty-and sensation-seeking in sexual relationships (Lukaszewski & von Rueden, 2015). "
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the hypotheses that extraversion is associated with unrestricted sociosexuality (operationalized as greater sexual experience and greater short-term mating orientation) and that this association is mediated by reduced cortisol reactivity to psychosocial stress. Study participants were heterosexual male college students (n = 109). Extraversion was assessed with the Big Five Inventory and sociosexuality was assessed with the Multidimensional Sociosexuality Orientation Inventory. Cortisol reactivity to psychosocial stress was assessed via three saliva samples collected immediately before, immediately after, and 15 min after the Trier Social Stress Test. Extraversion was associated with greater sexual experience but not with greater short-term mating orientation. As predicted, more extraverted individuals showed a lower increase in cortisol in response to psychosocial stress than less extraverted individuals. Previous sexual experience and short-term mating orientation were negatively correlated with cortisol reactivity to stress. Finally, mediation analyses confirmed our hypothesis that cortisol reactivity to psychosocial stress is a mechanism mediating the association between extraversion and unrestricted sociosexuality. These findings have implications for our understanding of the benefits and costs of different personality traits as well as for our understanding of the determinants or correlates of individual differences in sociosexuality.
    Personality and Individual Differences 11/2015; 86:427-431. DOI:10.1016/j.paid.2015.07.003 · 1.86 Impact Factor
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    • "3. Personality traits and test validity The most commonly assessed personality attribute is that of the personality trait and while there are a variety of trait approaches, traits are generally seen as intra-individual 'temperament-like variables' (Matthews, Deary, & Whiteman, 2003; McCrae & Costa, 1995; McCrae et al., 2000). The identification of traits has been guided by the lexical approach to personality (traceable to Galton, Thurstone, and Cattell, amongst others—Digman, 1990; Goldberg, 1990; Matthews et al., 2003), utilising trait-term adjectives in language , as well as factor-analytic studies, to develop hierarchical models that identify higher level broad factors from clusters of lower level traits and specific acts (Eysenck, 1991, 1997; Goldberg, 1990; Matthews et al., 2003; McCrae & Costa, 1997). Traits are commonly considered latent variables that underlie differences in observable test performance—''a trait is not an observable attribute of an individual. "
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    ABSTRACT: Personality assessment helps us to predict how people behave under various circumstances or how well a person might perform within certain roles. However, there are reasons to question the supposed ‘construct validity’ of tests designed to assess various personality attributes including dispositional traits. To demonstrate this, the paper first discusses a realist account of test validity where validity requires that both the attribute exist and that changes in the attribute are causally related to changes in test scores. The paper demonstrates that the validity for tests of dispositional traits is questionable given conceptual problems with traits existing as within-person attributes capable of causing changes in test scores. The widespread reliance on Likert-style response formats is then discussed in relation to the assumed quantitative structure of personality attributes. Based on a realist view of measurement, the uncritical adoption of a representational theory of measurement within personality research means that the validity of all personality tests claiming to ‘measure’ personality attributes is questionable. Suggestions for addressing test validity in personality assessment are then discussed in terms of paying greater critical attention to personality theory itself and adopting a realist theory of assessment and measurement.
    Personality and Individual Differences 10/2015; 84. DOI:10.1016/j.paid.2014.12.039 · 1.86 Impact Factor
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    • "Neuroticism is a broad higher-order trait, that is part of the Big Five/Five Factor Model (FFM) of personality (Eysenck and Eysenck, 1975; McCrae and Costa, 1997). It is a relatively stable personality factor that corresponds to and predisposes individuals to experience negative emotional states (e.g., Costa and McCrae, 1980) and is widely considered a risk factor for depression (Kendler et al., 2004), particularly among adolescents (Kercher et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The association between neuroticism and depression is well documented. However, neuroticism is a general risk factor associated with many forms of psychopathology, such as anxiety, eating, and personality disorders. Past research has suggested that other factors may mediate the relationship between neuroticism and symptoms of particular disorders. Methods Self-report questionnaires measuring neuroticism, emotion dysregulation, psychological inflexibility, shame, and symptoms of depression were administered to 105 inpatient adolescents (aged 12–17). The current study examined three factors (emotion dysregulation difficulties, psychological inflexibility, and shame) as concurrent mediators of the neuroticism/depression association. Results Neuroticism was significantly associated with depression, as expected. Neuroticism was also associated with emotion dysregulation and psychological inflexibility, which, in combination, fully mediated the association between neuroticism and depression. Shame was not significantly associated with neuroticism or depression, when controlling for anxiety, externalizing, sex, and age. Follow-up analyses examined six sub-factors of emotion dysregulation as multiple mediators of the neuroticism/depression association. Goal directed behavior, lack of emotion regulation strategies, and impulse control were significant mediators, controlling for the other three emotion dysregulation sub-factors. Limitations The study is limited by the cross sectional design, sample size, and self-report measurement. Conclusions Despite limitations, this study demonstrated that the link between neuroticism and depression is explained by both emotion dysregulation and psychological inflexibility and that specific emotion dysregulation facets may be at play in adolescent depression.
    Journal of Affective Disorders 10/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2015.10.014 · 3.38 Impact Factor
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