Date of Award

5-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

John W. Lounsbury

Committee Members

Richard Saudargas, Jacob Levy, John Peters

Abstract

The present study investigated the relationship between the Big Five personality traits (Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, Extraversion, and Openness), as well as the relationship of more narrow personality traits, with academic performance. The issue of whether personality measures that have been contextualized to either school or work better predict academic performance than generalized measures is also addressed through the use of multiple personality instruments. Results from a correlation analysis indicated that Openness, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, and Emotional Stability were all significantly positively related to academic performance, in this case, college course grade, while Extraversion was significantly negatively related. The same correlation analysis showed that for Openness and Agreeableness, the measure contextualized to academics predicted better than the generalized measures which in turn better predicted academic performance than the work-related measure. Emotional Stability, conversely, was best predicted by the work-related measure, in contrast to what was predicted. A stepwise regression was used to find what added significant variance for both Big Five and narrow traits for each measure used in this study. The findings of this study support the usefulness of both broad and narrow personality traits in predicting real-world outcomes. The relationships between general and contextualized measures and their predictions of academic performance are also shown. Furthermore, the relationship between academic performance and personality is demonstrated within this study.

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