The Role Of Personality Traits In Aggressive Behavior: Free Essay Example, 2239 words (2022)


Personality traits are typically defined as descriptions of people in terms of relatively stable patterns of behavior, thoughts and emotions (McGrae & Costa, 2003). They are combined into five broad trait dimensions that lead onto orthogonal factors; and are known as the five factor model of personality. This group of differing personality traits each has a role to play when it comes to aggressive behavior in various social situations, such as within a romantic relationship. For example, a study was done among college students on which personality trait was more likely to be abusive during a relationship; part of the results conveyed that Openness to experience/Neurotic personality trait was found to be positively correlated with verbal aggression (Fechter & Snell, 2002). The five factor model of personality includes:

Want to receive an original paper on this topic?

Just send us a “Write my paper” request. It’s quick and easy!

Write my paper

Extraversion- Persons with extraversion are sociable, talkative, optimistic, ambitious, assertive, reward-seeking, outgoing and energetic as compared to being introverted, shy, reserved, quiet and unadventurous.

Agreeableness- People with this attribute tend to be helpful, good-natured, cooperative, sympathetic, trusting and forgiving versus those who are rude, selfish, hostile, uncooperative and unkind.

Conscientiousness- These kinds of people are organized, responsible, dependable, neat, efficient, and achievement-oriented compared to those people who are disorganized, lazy, irresponsible, careless and sloppy.

Emotional Stability- Persons with emotional stability are calm, self-reliant, stable, resilient, and well-adjusted versus those who are neurotic, nervous, insecure, fearful, and anxious.

Openness to Experience- These people tend to be curious, intellectual, imaginative, creative, innovative, and flexible, versus people who are close-minded, shallow and simple.

The role of agreeableness to aggressive behavior

Agreeableness is one of the most salient and influential personality constructs. Five-factor approaches to the study of personality reveal a distinct agreeableness dimension that emphasizes cooperation, compassion, and empathy (John & Srivastava, 1999). A research was carried out whereby parents from seven different cultures were asked to give a short description of their children, characteristics reflecting agreeableness were consistently among those mentioned most frequently (Kohnstamm, Halverson, Mervielde, & Havill, 1998). Adults too tend to volunteer agreeableness descriptors about themselves. In addition to that, it’s also of fundamental importance to psychological well-being, predicting mental health, positive affect, and good relations with others (DeNeve & Cooper, 1998; Schmutte & Ryff, 1997).

In a social setting such as a work environment where it may involve incivility and enacted aggression, individuals who experience high levels of role stress will perceive greater levels of incivility and, in turn, will engage in more intense acts of interpersonal and organizational

aggression. Thus agreeableness is a relevant moderator in such a case for several reasons. One is that such individuals are forgiving and sympathetic. Secondly, they’ll be more willing or better able to “brush off” experienced incivility as commonplace or inconsequential.

Research has been carried out and they indicate that when the work situation is perceived as unfavorable, agreeable individuals are less likely to engage in aggression because their considerate and tolerant tendencies conflict with such behaviors (Colbert et al. , 2004). Other researchers have also said that these individuals are in such need of harmony that they’re more apt to give others the benefit of doubt and attribute ambiguous, uncivil behavior to the situation, rather than to the individual. In contrast, disagreeable individuals are less apt to interpret ambiguous situations in a positive light and, as such, may be more likely to respond aggressively to perceived incivility. In conclusion, agreeableness basically reflects a propensity for friendly compliance. And with that, those who aren’t able to act accordingly, they’ll most likely feel like work is stressful, even get irritated and this will cause them to react with aggression.

The role of emotional stability in aggressive behavior

Emotional Stability refers to one’s proneness to negative emotions and anxiety. More resilient persons (high on emotional stability) are less prone to experiencing negative reactions. More reactive persons (low on emotional stability) are more prone to experiencing negative reactions.

People who score high on emotional stability view themselves and their environment in a positive light and are not overly sensitive to perceiving threats.

Emotional stability is also negatively related to workplace deviance, accidents, and turnover. Furthermore, emotionally stable individuals are more likely to emerge into leadership positions and tend to be more effective in these roles (Judge et al. , 2002).

Emotionally stable leaders have a reasonable degree of self-esteem. This leader shows confident vulnerability. These leaders know who they are and who they aren’t. They create teams who feel psychologically safe to take calculated risks. Emotionally stable leaders are comfortable hiring and building teams of people who complement their skills and knowledge. They also behave predictably. Staff know this leader’s limited number of hot buttons and know how to redress the situation. Emotionally stable leaders are the calm within the storm during crises

The role of conscientiousness in aggressive behavior

Conscientiousness personality trait is characterized with individuals who are well organized, hardworking and goal/achievement oriented. They have a tendency to be habitually careful, reliable, energetic, purposeful and hardworking. Due to this fact, they are very aggressive and task oriented.

This personality trait has been known to be the most predictive big 5 trait across many outcomes (Hampson, Golberg, Vogt and Dubanski 2007). Highly conscientious individuals prefer order and structure in work setup, they work persistently to pursue their goal and are committed to fulfilling their duties and obligation. They do thorough job and perseveres until a task is finished (John et al 1991).

Authors have found significant negative correlations between academic and career success in agreeableness and extraversions trait as well as a significant positive correlations with conscientiousness and openness to experience trait. In particular, conscientiousness is found to be the most consistently linked to the academic success (O’conora paumomen 2007).

In a social setting like school, highly conscientious student tend to earn higher grades in their academics probably because of the fact that they are well organized, hardworking and goal oriented.

Conscientiousness is more common among boys than girls, although girls exhibit a higher level of agreeableness and conscientiousness than boys by mid adolescence. Males with high degree of conscientiousness seem to earn higher wages and are more likely to be promoted (Judge, 1999).

Conscientiousness is often associated with motivation and individuals with this trait have an intrinsic desire to succeed which is associated with aggressive behavior. They are said to have explanatory powers than intelligence. In the world of business they are widely accepted to be best predictors for economic success although their predictive powers of intelligence declines as job become more complex (almlund et al 2011).

The role of openness to experience in aggressive behavior

There are more studies supporting the claim that an individual with the personality of openness is more likely to follow anti-ethnic prejudice this include race, language, culture, value e. t. c, Although person with the openness personality type can still develop an aggressive behaviour.

This can be due to environmental influence rather than personal one’s, for example using the frustration theory as a background, ‘ which states that frustration arises from not being able to reach an attainable goal’, since an individual in this personality is more intuitive, aesthetic, and places more value from feeling.

They are the group that will find it harder to be accepted or for what they do, since they’re free thinking spirits, and if they’re goal was to be socially accepted for example an artist who paints or draws knows that in order for it to be valuable piece it needs criticism and rejection before it is widely accepted, if this artist does not take to kindly to rejection he can develop a more bias opinion to other people’s taste and using the social identity theory, he/he will start forming out groups who he will place his negative and hostile thoughts toward and further will be more aggressive toward thee out group.

In conclusion, Mcrae and Costa (1997) argued that openness must be understood in both structural and motivational term. Openness affects social perception and the formation of social attitudes, hence for a person with an openness personality type to be more aggressive they have to be motivated toward goal that initiates a more authoritarian personality, preferably role like Political level, disciplinary level in school, corrective term like prison.

The role of extraversion in aggressive behavior

Extroversion, as a personality trait, was first proposed by noted psychiatrist Carl Jung in the 1920s and it refers to a state of being where someone recharges or draws energy, from being with other people and who identify as extroverts tend to search for novel experiences and social connections that allow them to interact with other humans as much as possible. Someone who is highly extroverted will likely feel bored, or even anxious, when they’re made to spend too much time alone.

Extraverts is characterized as a highly active individual who is constantly exploring their environment with disregard for rules and regulations on their behavior. This high approach tendency can result in frustration when goals are blocked which leads to frustration (Rothbart, Derryberry, & Hershey, 2000).

For example, young kindergarten going children who are extraverted have been shown to use aggressive strategies to overcome barriers when seeking something perceived as highly rewarding (Rothbart & Putnam, 2002). Such children with high levels of extraversion may have difficulty regulating their distress when faced with disappointment, resulting in acting out with aggressive behavior especially the preschool going children due to their hyperactivity levels.

Aggressiveness can however be seen to reduce in children with high levels of extraversion due to high conscientiousness levels that allows for a positive reaction to life stressors meaning that school-based interventions, especially for the young children who have the extraversion traits that allows them to be more outgoing and cheerful, can reduce aggressive behavior and because the school will highlight the importance of considering child personality to counter aggressive behavior.


Some of these big five personality variables are directly related to aggressive behavior while others are related to aggressive behavior through aggressive thoughts, emotions or attitudes (Anderson et al, 2004). Consistent and repeated interaction with aggression- related stimuli is likely to increase one’s aggressive personality through various learned outcomes such as aggressive beliefs or related emotions.

For those with agreeable and conscientiousness traits, aggressive –related stimuli such as thoughts, or emotions affect them negatively whereas the neurotic tend to have a positive outcome when influenced by such stimuli. The neurotic personality trait is positively related to anger, anxiety, depression and hostility as it highly related to psychological distress. Those with openness to experience, have a tendency of being unrelated to aggressive behavior as they are open minded in the environment around them (Sharpe and Desai, 2001). The fifth trait which is extraversion, has two outcomes according to two different scholars; ( Sharpe and Desai, 2001) found that the correlation between self-reported physical aggression was negative while (Gallo and Smith, 1998) found that there was a positive relation with physical aggression.

It is therefore safe to say that whether direct or indirect, it is visible that the big five personality traits are related to aggressive behavior and physical aggression.


  1. Anderson, C. A. , Carnagey, N. L. , Flanagan, M. , Benjamin, A. J. , Eubanks, J. , & Valentine, J. C. (2004). Violent video games: Specific effects of violent content on aggressive thoughts and behavior. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 36, 199–249.
  2. Arthur E. Poropat, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (Second Edition), 2015
  3. DeNeve KM, Cooper C. The happy personality: A metaanalysis of 137 personality traits and subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin. 1998; 124:197–229. [PubMed]
  4. Fiske, D. W. (1994). Two cheers for the Big Five! Psychological Inquiry, 5, 123-124.
  5. Fraser-Thill, R. , ( 2019, Jn,11) Openess to experience Coure. lumenlerning. com/Trait perspective on personality
  6. Gallo, L. C. , & Smith, T. W. (1998). Construction validation of health-related personality traits: Interpersonal Circumplex and Five-Factor model analysis of the Aggression Questionnaire. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 5, 129–147.
  7. John OP, Srivastava S. The Big Five trait taxonomy: History, measurement, and theoretical perspectives. In: Pervin LA, John OP, editors. Handbook of personality: Theory and research. 2nd ed. New York: Guilford Press; 1999. pp. 102–138.
  8. John, O. P. Donhnce, E. M (1991). The five inventory version, University of California. Institute of California and social research.
  9. Judge, T. A; Bono. J. E (2002) Personality and leadership Newyork
  10. Leary, M, R. , Hoyle, R, H. (2009). Handbook of individual difference in social behaviour pp. 257-269
  11. McCrae, R. R. , & Costa, P. T. , Jr. (2003). Personality in adulthood: A Five-Factor Theory Perspective. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
  12. Rothbart MK, Putnam SP. Temperament and socialization. In: Pulkkinen L, Caspi A, editors. Paths to successful development: Personality in the life course. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press; 2002. pp. 19–45.
  13. Rothbart MK, Putnam SP. Temperament and socialization. In: Pulkkinen L, Caspi A, editors. Paths to successful development: Personality in the life course. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press; 2002. pp. 19–45.
  14. Ryan Klinger, Mark Mallon, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (Second Edition), 2015
  15. Schmutte PS, Ryff CD. Personality and well-being: Reex-amining methods and meanings. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1997;73:549–559. [PubMed]
  16. Sharpe, J. P. , & Desai, S. (2001). The revised Neo Personality Inventory and the MMPI-2 Psychopathology Five in prediction of aggression. Personality and Individual Differences, 31, 505–518.
  17. Stoltz,S. , Prinzie, P. , De Haan, A. , van Londen, M. , Orobio De Castro, M. , Deković, M. (2013). Child personality as moderator of outcome in a school-based intervention for preventing externalising behaviour European Journal of Personality, 27, 271-279

10 October 2020

⚠️ Remember: This essay was written and uploaded by an average student. It does not reflect the quality of papers completed by our expert essay writers. To get a custom and plagiarism-free essay click here.

Top Articles

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Lakeisha Bayer VM

Last Updated: 10/29/2022

Views: 6003

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (69 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Lakeisha Bayer VM

Birthday: 1997-10-17

Address: Suite 835 34136 Adrian Mountains, Floydton, UT 81036

Phone: +3571527672278

Job: Manufacturing Agent

Hobby: Skimboarding, Photography, Roller skating, Knife making, Paintball, Embroidery, Gunsmithing

Introduction: My name is Lakeisha Bayer VM, I am a brainy, kind, enchanting, healthy, lovely, clean, witty person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.