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      Gender Differences in Personality across the Ten Aspects of the Big Five


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          This paper investigates gender differences in personality traits, both at the level of the Big Five and at the sublevel of two aspects within each Big Five domain. Replicating previous findings, women reported higher Big Five Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism scores than men. However, more extensive gender differences were found at the level of the aspects, with significant gender differences appearing in both aspects of every Big Five trait. For Extraversion, Openness, and Conscientiousness, the gender differences were found to diverge at the aspect level, rendering them either small or undetectable at the Big Five level. These findings clarify the nature of gender differences in personality and highlight the utility of measuring personality at the aspect level.

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          Most cited references25

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          The gender similarities hypothesis.

          Janet Hyde (2005)
          The differences model, which argues that males and females are vastly different psychologically, dominates the popular media. Here, the author advances a very different view, the gender similarities hypothesis, which holds that males and females are similar on most, but not all, psychological variables. Results from a review of 46 meta-analyses support the gender similarities hypothesis. Gender differences can vary substantially in magnitude at different ages and depend on the context in which measurement occurs. Overinflated claims of gender differences carry substantial costs in areas such as the workplace and relationships. Copyright (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved.
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            Gender differences in personality: a meta-analysis.

            Four meta-analyses were conducted to examine gender differences in personality in the literature (1958-1992) and in normative data for well-known personality inventories (1940-1992). Males were found to be more assertive and had slightly higher self-esteem than females. Females were higher than males in extraversion, anxiety, trust, and, especially, tender-mindedness (e.g., nurturance). There were no noteworthy sex differences in social anxiety, impulsiveness, activity, ideas (e.g., reflectiveness), locus of control, and orderliness. Gender differences in personality traits were generally constant across ages, years of data collection, educational levels, and nations.
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              Patterns of mean-level change in personality traits across the life course: a meta-analysis of longitudinal studies.

              The present study used meta-analytic techniques (number of samples = 92) to determine the patterns of mean-level change in personality traits across the life course. Results showed that people increase in measures of social dominance (a facet of extraversion), conscientiousness, and emotional stability, especially in young adulthood (age 20 to 40). In contrast, people increase on measures of social vitality (a 2nd facet of extraversion) and openness in adolescence but then decrease in both of these domains in old age. Agreeableness changed only in old age. Of the 6 trait categories, 4 demonstrated significant change in middle and old age. Gender and attrition had minimal effects on change, whereas longer studies and studies based on younger cohorts showed greater change.

                Author and article information

                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychology
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Research Foundation
                31 May 2011
                01 August 2011
                : 2
                : 178
                [1] 1simpleDepartment of Psychology, Linfield College McMinnville, OR, USA
                [2] 2simpleDepartment of Psychology, University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN, USA
                [3] 3simpleUniversity of Toronto Toronto, ON, Canada
                Author notes

                Edited by: Simine Vazire, Washington University in St. Louis, USA

                Reviewed by: Patrick Gallagher, Durham VA Medical Center, USA; Laura Paige Naumann, Sonoma State University, USA; Christopher J. Soto, Colby College, USA

                *Correspondence: Colin G. DeYoung, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA. e-mail: cdeyoung@ 123456umn.edu

                This article was submitted to Frontiers in Personality Science and Individual Differences, a specialty of Frontiers in Psychology.

                Copyright © 2011 Weisberg, DeYoung and Hirsh.

                This is an open-access article subject to a non-exclusive license between the authors and Frontiers Media SA, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and other Frontiers conditions are complied with.

                : 17 May 2011
                : 14 July 2011
                Page count
                Figures: 10, Tables: 3, Equations: 0, References: 41, Pages: 11, Words: 8608
                Original Research

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                gender differences,big five,personality
                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                gender differences, big five, personality


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