A lot of research has focused on how personality traits can predict certain behaviours. Research on personality traits also suggests that over the course of a lifetime some personality traits will change while others will probably remain fairly constant. There are five big personality traits that have been identified and researched over the last 50 years. These traits form the basis of predicting human behaviour over a lifetime or predict how individuals may; choose employment, have healthy behaviours over unhealthy behaviours, education, and relationships etc. The five big personality traits are; extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness. Individuals can either score high in a particular trait, or low in a particular trait. For example those who are high in extraversion will be assertive, sociable, adventurous, and enthusiastic. While those low in the trait of extraversion will be shy, retiring, reserved and quiet. Generally society would identify someone low in extraversion as an introvert.
So what are people like, who score high or low in a particular personality trait? For those individuals who score high in agreeableness, they tend to be affectionate, generous, sympathetic, and altruistic. While those who score low in agreeableness tend to be cruel, unfriendly and quarrelsome. Those who score high in conscientiousness tend to be deliberate, efficient, precise and controlled while those who score low tend to be careless, frivolous and irresponsible. Individuals who score high in neuroticism tend to be nervous, anxious, self-pitying, and temperamental. While those who score low tend to be calm, centred, and stable. Those individuals who score high in openness tend to be artistic, opened-minded, original and intelligent. While those who score low, tend to be shallow, with lower intelligence, and with narrow interests.
How do these particular traits affect individuals in relationships? Research has indicated that marital satisfaction is found to be associated with those who are low in neuroticism, high in conscientiousness, and especially high in agreeableness. It’s easy to see that if a person is calm and not anxious or temperamental, who is also careful and responsible and who is cooperative, sympathetic and affectionate would lead to a happier marriage. Those who score high in neuroticism have higher incidents of divorce. Also men who score low in conscientiousness are more likely to become divorced. Men who score low in conscientiousness are likely to have affairs and substance abuse issues. The predictor in those who score low conscientiousness is that they have poor self-control and constraint.