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The Relationship between BIG Five Personality Traits and Assertiveness

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The purpose of this study is to find out the relationship between the BIG Five personality traits (Neuroticism, Extroversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness) and the Level of assertiveness. In this study the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI), which comprises 60 items (12 items per domain). The sample consists of 430 participants (280 female and 150 male) with age ranges from 18 to 50. The regression analysis was utilized to figure out the relationship between the variables. The findings of the study show that there is a negative relationship between neuroticism and assertiveness, and there is a linear relationship between extroversion and assertiveness. There is no relationship between openness and extroversion, but there is a linear relationship between conscientiousness and assertiveness. Besides, the results of the step by step regression indicate that the neuroticism, extroversion, and conscientiousness can predict assertiveness. From among these variables, neuroticism (b=0.31), and conscientiousness (b=0.23) have the highest and the lowest proportions in predicting assertiveness, and openness and agreeableness have no role in this prediction. Keywords: BIG five personality traits, assertiveness, students
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2016Volume 25Issue 3
www.tendenzen.plamen.org ISSN: 0944-0844
The Relationship between BIG Five
Personality Traits and Assertiveness
Mandana Bagherian1*, Adis Kraskian Mojambari2
1MA in Personality Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Islamic Azad University-Karaj Branch,
Karaj, IRAN
2Assistant Professor in Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Islamic Azad University-Karaj Branch,
Karaj, IRAN
Corresponding author: Mandana Bagherian, e-mail: satyba@gmail.com
Received: 05/25/2016; Accepted with revision: 07/26/2016; Published: 09/02/2016
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to find out the relationship between the BIG Five
personality traits (Neuroticism, Extroversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and
Openness) and the Level of assertiveness. In this study the NEO Five-Factor
Inventory (NEO-FFI), which comprises 60 items (12 items per domain). The sample
consists of 430 participants (280 female and 150 male) with age ranges from 18 to 50.
The regression analysis was utilized to figure out the relationship between the
variables. The findings of the study show that there is a negative relationship between
neuroticism and assertiveness, and there is a linear relationship between extroversion
and assertiveness. There is no relationship between openness and extroversion, but
there is a linear relationship between conscientiousness and assertiveness. Besides, the
results of the step by step regression indicate that the neuroticism, extroversion, and
conscientiousness can predict assertiveness. From among these variables, neuroticism
(b=0.31), and conscientiousness (b=0.23) have the highest and the lowest proportions
in predicting assertiveness, and openness and agreeableness have no role in this
prediction.
Keywords: BIG five personality traits, assertiveness, students
INTRODUCTION
Personality is, in fact, relatively permanent features that will determine one’s reaction to events and life
experiences (DSM-IV). As a matter of fact, personality is an instrument by which people can identify us
and respond, accordingly. Personality is what we experience within ourselves and will show it to others
from outside world. The main features of personality are relatively stable; nevertheless, humans will
evolve and demonstrate new and impressive behavior, based on experiences and skills they learn. This
will naturally lead to adaption and success. In return, there are people who always act out inflexibility
and stringently against life events and can rarely display new demeanor. This Maladaptive attitude will
have troublesome consequences and can throw an individual into psychological and communicative
challenges. Such traits are usually observed in people suffering from personality disorders (Ganji, 2013).
To put it simply, personality is a unique set of attributes and behaviors that describe a person (Bucher,
2007). In defining personality, a few things should be borne in mind. Firstly, each person is exclusive
M. Bagherian et al., The Relationship between BIG Five Personality Traits and Assertiveness 112
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and unique, since no two people are alike in term of temperament, interests, and behavior. Secondly,
people will not act the same way in all situations. Thirdly, although each person is unique and does not
behave similarly in all situations, human behavior has remarkably a lot in common (Pasha Sharifi, 2012).
McCrae & costa (1992), divide the personality into five big factors: Neuroticism, Extroversion /
Introversion, Agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness. Neuroticism (N) is a personality factor
with high emotional stability and low anxiety at one end of the continuum, and emotional instability and
high anxiety at the other end (Lance Berry, Saudargas, Gibson & Luong 2005, Mojembari 2014).
Extroversion (E), includes people who are sociable, enjoy parties, have many friends, need to talk to
others, and do not like to study alone or in solitude. They are more interested in excitement and
stimulation, are risk-takers and curious and are usually optimistic (Burt, Petridis, Eysenck, 1998,
Razeghi, 2011). Such people may easily lose their temper or have their emotions and feelings suddenly
changed (Eysenck 1990, Danesh 2006)
Openness (O) differs from extroversion. People who score high on openness are both curious and rich in
inner and outer world, judge independently, and possess a desirable level of imagination and aesthetics
(Danlan, Kanger, Bryant, 2005). Agreeableness (A) causes the people to harness their emotions better
during interpersonal interactions and have a more relaxed attitude. People who score high on
agreeableness will demonstrate features such as trust, candor, friendship, companionship, humility, and
pity (Atashruz, Pakdaman and Asgari, 2008, Rezaeghi, 2011). This sincerity and friendship will create
sympathy and is in conflict with hostility and arrogance (Oya et al, 1995, Rezeghi, 2011). In fact, the
best definition for conscientiousness (C) is the concept of determination. An individual scoring high on
conscientiousness is, conscientious, determined and purposeful. Adherence to the principles and trying to
achieve the objectives are the main features of such a person (Oya et al, 1995, Mojembari, 2014).
One of the most important issues human beings are involved in, is social communication skills. Although
people’s personality has a large stake in making this connection, acquired skills can make an individual
more consistent and successful in their social life. A critical component of social skill is, assertiveness. A
person who has the ability to be assertive will insist on their reasonable demands and can defend
themselves against any opposition. Generally speaking, assertiveness is one’s ability of self-expression
and defending it. A person who is well-assertive, can express his feelings and interests properly and
without any anxiety (Liza Raj et al, 2003). A person who has the ability of self-expression or, in other
words assertiveness, assumes responsibility for his behaviors, choices and mistakes, has high self-
esteem, and behaves the people with honesty and mutual positive attitude (McVanel & Morris, 2010).
People who are high in assertiveness, have also a high degree of confidence and self-esteem (Raudsepp
2005, MirSaleh, 2012). People’s assertiveness can affect their social relationship. People who are low in
assertiveness, can adopt passive behaviors such as shyness, depression and anxiety, or can be directed
towards aggressive behavior (Bishop, 2006, MirSaleh, 2013).
Such people tend to conflict, have internal concerns, and can demonstrate their thoughts and feelings in a
violent and aggressive way (Rusinko, Brad Ley & Miller, 2010). Speaking loudly and violently, looking
at others with hostility, being reproachful and contemptuous of others, following the biased patterns, and
hurting others to avoid personal injury, are characteristics of people with low assertiveness (Harg &
Dickson, 2004, MirSaleh,2013). Wolpe & Lazarus (1990, AmooZadeh,2013), who did the first clinical
and theoretical research on assertiveness, identified lack of assertiveness among patients with social
anxiety who can’t act defiantly by saying “No” or refuse the irrational demand. They announced that
people with low assertiveness are scared of visiting the others. Wolpe belives that anxiety is the main
deterrent, and that there is an irreconcilable conflict between anxiety and assertiveness (Amoozadeh,
2013).
M. Bagherian et al., The Relationship between BIG Five Personality Traits and Assertiveness 113
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METHOD
Subjects, Design, Instrumentation:
The following research is non-experimental, correlational, and based on regression analysis. The
statistical population is 430 (280F, and 150M) with different age groups, between18-50, from among
students studying different majors in Alborz University. The sample was selected by convenience
sampling method.
INSTRUMENTATION
NEO five-factor inventory:
NEO five-factor inventory has been used to measure BIG five personality factors (Costa & McCare,
1992) which comprises 60 items and five main personality traits (Neuroticism, Extroversion, Openness,
Agreeableness and Conscientiousness) each of which has 12 questions. This inventory is scored
according to Likert-type scale.
Test-retest reliability coefficient of the questionnaire is between 0.83 and .75. The internal consistency
coefficient in the research by Garosi, Mahyar and Ghazi Tabatabaie (2001, Hosseini, 2014) for five
factors (Neuroticism, Extroversion, Openness, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness) is respectively
reported to be, 0.86, 0.73, 0.56, 0.68 and 0.87. In this research, the Cronbach’s alpha coefficients for
domains of Neuroticism, Extroversion, Openness, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness in NEO-FFI (12
items per domain) are respectively, 0.727, 0.765, 0.784, 0.728, 0.783.
Gambrill & Richey Assertiveness Questionnaire (1975):
The questionnaire has 40 questions. Each item demonstrates a situation that requires assertive behavior.
The respondent is required to mark the degree of their annoyance, when confronted with that position, by
a five-point scale. The total score is the sum of scores for all the questions. The lower a person’s score is,
the higher his assertiveness will be. Situations in which assertiveness is assessed are as follow:
interacting with others, confronting the others and giving negative feedback, responding to criticism,
refusing a demand, accepting one’s limitation and complimenting the others. Factor analysis by Gambrill
and Richey showed that the questionnaire was between 0.30 and 0.70. Gambrill and Richey reported the
reliability coefficient of the questionnaire by Cronbach’s alpha and Split method respectively as, 0.81
and 0.83. In their research, Ghobari & Hejazi (2007), estimated the validity of the questionnaire, using
Cronbach’s alpha coefficient, at 0.88 and MirSaleh, Kashani and Ebrahimi (2012) estimated it at 0.838
Procedure:
The questionnaires were distributed among students in different faculties of ALORZ University. The
authenticity and accuracy of the test was verified, at the end.
DATA ANALYSIS
Two points were examined before testing the research hypotheses and answering the research questions:
1. Normal distribution of variables
The result of Kolmogorov-Smirnov test for normality of the distribution of the variables is reported in
Table 1.
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Table 1.
Kolmogorov-Smirnov test results (n-430)
variable
M
SD
Kolmogorov-
Smirnov Z
Personal
ity
factors
N
35.65
6.56
1.048
E
40.43
6.40
1.350
O
37.53
4.58
1.327
A
40.14
5.94
1.154
C
44.94
6.82
1.082
assertiveness
46.24
12.31
1.353
According to the test results, the distribution of both variables examined in the study sample is normal.
As a result, parametric tests can be used for research hypotheses tests.
Validity of the instruments used in the study:
For this purpose, the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient index was used as internal consistency estimate tool,
for a sample of 50 students as the subjects in the study. The index has estimated the subscales of
Neuroticism, Extroversion, Openness, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness in NEO questionnaire (each
subscale consists of 12 questions) respectively at, 0.727, 0.765, 0.784, 0.728, 0.783, and for Gambrill &
Richey assertiveness questionnaire with 22 questions, at 0.838. This demonstrates the reliability for the
results of the research instruments in the sample group.
Frequency distribution and percentage of the sample based on demographic characteristics are reported
in Table 2.
Table 2.
Frequency distribution and percentage of the sample based on demographic characteristics (n-
430)
f
%
M
SD
Gender
male
150
34.9
M. Bagherian et al., The Relationship between BIG Five Personality Traits and Assertiveness 115
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female
280
65.1
Educational
status
BA
346
80.5
MA
79
18.4
PhD
5
1.2
Age
25.77
4.55
18 - 31
358
83.3
32 - 45
56
13.0
46 - 59
16
3.7
Marital status
single
329
76.5
married
101
23.5
To review the research hypotheses, Pearson correlation coefficient and Multivariate regression analyses
are used. Correlation coefficients between the five personality traits and assertiveness as well as test
results of correlation coefficients are shown in Table 3.
Table 3.
Correlation Coefficients between main personality traits and assertiveness
M
SD
N
E
O
A
C
N
35.65
6.56
1.000
E
40.43
6.40
-0.423**
1.000
O
37.53
4.58
-0.047
-0.001
1.000
A
40.14
5.94
-0.253**
0.351**
0.057
1.000
C
44.94
6.82
-0.356**
0.387**
0.091
0.0263**
1.000
assertiveness
46.24
12.31
-0.253**
0.241**
-0.002
0.064
0.225**
M. Bagherian et al., The Relationship between BIG Five Personality Traits and Assertiveness 116
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** p<0.01
RESULTS
There is an inverse relationship between neuroticism and assertiveness.
There is a linear relationship between extroversion and assertiveness.
There is no relationship between openness and extroversion.
There is no relationship between agreeableness and assertiveness.
There is a linear relationship between conscientiousness and assertiveness.
To predict assertiveness based on five personality traits Multivariate regression analysis is used.
Regression analysis and regression coefficient are calculated as shown in Table 4.
Table 4.
Summary of Multivariate regression analysis to Predict assertiveness based on BIG
personality traits.
Unstandardized
Coefficients
Standardized
Coefficients
T
b
Std. Error
Beta
(Constant)
50.23
9.06
-----
5.54**
N
-0.31
0.10
-0.16
-3.10**
E
0.28
0.10
0.14
2.63**
O
-0.05
0.12
-0.02
-0.37
A
0.12
0.10
0.06
1.20
C
0.23
0.09
0.13
2.49*
* P < 0.05, ** p < 0.01
Note: R2=0.318, n=430
M. Bagherian et al., The Relationship between BIG Five Personality Traits and Assertiveness 117
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RESULTS:
The factors of neuroticism, extroversion and conscientiousness are predictors of assertiveness.
Among the above factors, neuroticism has the most share (b=0.31) and conscientiousness the least share
(b=0.23) in predicting assertiveness.
The factors of agreeableness and openness have no role in predicting assertiveness.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
As results attest, there is a significant positive relationship between extroversion and conscientiousness
with assertiveness. There is an inverse relationship between neuroticism and assertiveness but there is no
relationship between openness and agreeableness with assertiveness. The research also showed that
neuroticism can be the predictor of assertiveness. Neurotic people because of their higher rates of
anxiety and emotional instability (Hosseini, 2014) cannot have a good assertiveness in life, so
neuroticism is the lowest predictor in assertiveness. Conscientiousness represents the opposite end of the
spectrum. People who are high in conscientiousness are, organized, reliable, ambitious, energetic and
strong-willed (Rice, 2007, Janatian, 2015). Conscientiousness is the highest predictor in assertiveness.
Extroversion represents an energetic approach to the material and social world which has features like:
sociability, activeness, determination and courage (John & Srivasta, 1999, Janatian, 2015). In this study,
extroversion and assertiveness showed a significant correlation. People with higher scores in openness
are curious, both in this world and their inner world, and have a rich experience in life. They enjoy
variety, are curious and judge independently. Imagination and aesthetics are other features, there is no
relationship between openness and assertiveness. Finally, agreeableness is another personality trait
which usually expresses empathy, optimism, honesty, kindness, understanding, humbleness, and
selflessness. (McCrae & Costa, 1997). In this study, there is no relationship between such personality
trait and assertiveness.
In a study that DeYoung and his colleagues (2002), conducted on 245 students and 222 individuals in a
society, there is a positive relationship between stability (agreeableness and conscientiousness) and
(conformity) forecast; whereas, there is an inverse relationship between plasticity (extroversion and
openness) and conformity.
The study is partly in conformity with the results. Because in this study, there is no relationship between
openness and assertiveness, while there is a linear relationship between extroversion and assertiveness.
There is also a linear relationship between conscientiousness and assertiveness, but there is no
relationship between agreeableness and assertiveness. A similar study reported that neuroticism reduces
tolerance for obscurity, while extroversion and agreeableness will increase tolerance for obscurity.
Tolerance for obscurity, is a personality trait in which an individual tends to understand and deal with
obscure stimuli and can cope with them for a while (Zenasni, Besancon, and Lubert 2006, Hosseini &
Coll, 2014). Although in theoretical foundations and definitions assertiveness is not described by topics
such as conformity or obscurity tolerance, traits like obscurity tolerance and conformity may be signs of
assertiveness in practice.
LIMITATIONS
The first element leads to a limitation of the present study is the type of sampling, which is available
sampling. The fact that participants are confined to the available ones, confirms that the conclusion may
suffer from some deviations once a change occurs in sample selection. The second element, which
M. Bagherian et al., The Relationship between BIG Five Personality Traits and Assertiveness 118
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intensifies the first one, is that the participants are among university students of higher education, which
admits the restriction of conclusion to the exact group of participants, not others. These factors may
affect findings generalization and limit its reliability due to considering of students.
DIRECTIONS FOR THE FUTURE
This research is capable of scrutinizing all types of samples in different societies to investigate the
relationship between big five personality traits and self-assertiveness.
Conflict of Interest
There is no conflict of interest.
Participants
In this study, Participants involved human beings and consisted of university students.
Consent
There is a completely consent between authors to result this findings and publish this manuscript.
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The Assertion Inventory is a 40 item self-report inventory which permits respondents to note for each item their degree of discomfort, their probability of engaging in the behavior, and situations they would like to handle more assertively. Normative data from a college population as well as data from women taking part in assertion training groups are included. Comparative distributions of these populations over four combinations of response probability and discomfort scores are presented as well as reliability and validity data. The value of the Inventory both in clinical settings and in research is discussed.
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Two data sources--self-reports and peer ratings--and two instruments--adjective factors and questionnaire scales--were used to assess the five-factor model of personality. As in a previous study of self-reports (McCrae & Costa, 1985b), adjective factors of neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness-antagonism, and conscientiousness-undirectedness were identified in an analysis of 738 peer ratings of 275 adult subjects. Intraclass correlations among raters, ranging from .30 to .65, and correlations between mean peer ratings and self-reports, from .25 to .62, showed substantial cross-observer agreement on all five adjective factors. Similar results were seen in analyses of scales from the NEO Personality Inventory. Items from the adjective factors were used as guides in a discussion of the nature of the five factors. These data reinforce recent appeals for the adoption of the five-factor model in personality research and assessment.
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This study investigated the influence of assertiveness on women's attributions of blame toward a victim of sexual assault. Women (N = 211) completed questionnaires assessing general and sexual assertiveness, viewed a video vignette of an acquaintance rape, and were asked to rate the degree of the woman's responsibility for the assault at three points during the video. Results indicated that the rater's level of assertiveness predicted the amount of blame she assigned to the victim of a sexual assault when the victim engaged in unassertive nonverbal resistance and assertive verbal resistance. Implications for prevention programming and forensic psychology (e.g., jury selection) are discussed.
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This study examined the effects of teaching self-regulation strategies and social skills to 40 middle school students in a compulsory secondary education setting, who presented difficulties in self-reflection, self-inquiry, assertiveness, and empathy. A quasi-experimental design with pre- and post-test measurements was employed. Intervention consisted of the performance of tasks, called ‘Portfolio’, related to the criteria skills during the school course. Significant differences between the experimental and the control groups were observed in the measurement of the criteria variables. Results are discussed in terms of the implications concerning how teachers can implement self-regulatory activities in their daily classroom practice to meet the educational needs of students with social problems.
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Clinicians' ability to be assertive when unsure or concerned about procedures, treatment modalities, or patients' symptoms is key in reducing risk and preventing sentinel events. In this article, the authors provide a framework for generic, voluntary assertiveness communication skills workshops that any educator can implement.
Personality and Intelligence in Theory and Practice
  • Pasha Sharifi
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) the Relationship between Self-assertiveness and Self-esteem in Academic Achievement in Intelligent and Normal Students
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