Date of Award

8-2004

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

John W. Lounsbury

Committee Members

Eric Sundstrom, Schuyler Huck

Abstract

This dissertation examined the correlation of academic performance of adolescents and the Big Five personality traits, as well as gender and age differences one and two years later. An archival sample of 542 6th graders, 446 9th graders and 341 12th graders from the southeastern United States were used. All five of the Big Five personality traits were found to significantly correlate with GPA at all three grade levels except for Extraversion with 12th graders. Correlations between personality and GPA were not statistically different for 6th, 9th, and 12th grade males and females. Agreeableness was a consistent predictor across all grades with R2 of (.03, p < .001), (.07, p < .001), and .08, p < .001) for grades 6, 9, and 12. Overall, regression results revealed the Big Five traits accounted for 12%, 9%, and 8% of the variance in GPA at each grade level. Longitudinal data revealed that personality at Time 1 predicted GPA at Time 2 and Time 3 with multiple R’s of (.35, R2 = .17), (.30, R2 = .09) and (.29, R2 = .08) for 7th, 8th, and 10th grades respectively. These findings further demonstrate the criterion-related validity of the Big Five in an academic setting that traditionally has focused on cognitive ability to predict academic success. Implications and future research are also discussed.

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