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Big Five Personality Model

Big Five Personality Model

Big Five Personality Model or the Five factor model of personality in sports,
Personality, Personality and psychological characteristics of athletes, Personality test, Trait theory) The study of personality, and more specifically personality traits, has a long history in both psychology and sport psychology. Personality theorists are interested in what differentiates one person from another and why we behave the way we do. Although many models and personality traits have been examined, one model that has been consistently predictive of behavior across situations is the Big Five personality model (also known as the Five Factor Model; see Digman, 1990). Asking thousands of people hundreds of questions, and then analyzing the data with the statistical procedure of factor analysis, derived these five dimensions. The Big Five framework suggests that most individual differences in human personality can be classified into five broad, empirically-derived domains.

The five-factor model adopts the basic tenets of trait theory (e.g., cross-situational consistency) and contends that the five personality dimensions each encompass a number of more specific traits (termed facets).

The five traits that combine to form the Big Five are agreeableness (individuals’ concern for cooperation and social harmony, one’s trusting and helpful nature), conscientiousness (organization and goal-directed behavior, dependable and disciplined), extraversion (the quantity and intensity of interpersonal interactions, seek stimulation and emit positive emotions), neuroticism (the degree to which individuals are prone to emotional instability and experience unpleasant emotions easily, like anger, depression, and anxiety), and openness (individuals’ tendency to seek out new experiences; curiosity, creativity, and a preference for novelty).

Regarding facets, the neuroticism dimension includes facets of anxiety, hostility, depression, self-consciousness, and impulsiveness. Research has revealed that the Big Five traits are not nearly as powerful in predicting and explaining actual behavior as are the more numerous facts or primary traits. The five traits are described as basic human personality traits (Costa & McCrae, 1992), and may be used to summarize many significant traits that are addressed in the area of personality research (Costa & McCrae, 2011). Each of the five factors is useful for understanding personality and the five-factor model is comprehensive in that it encompasses several broad factors that are consistently found to be significant in personality research. The five-factor model has become the most widely accepted model of personality trait structure and has been replicated in many languages.

The Big Five have been used to study personality in terms of how it changes over time and how it relates to other variables. For example, comprehensive reviews and meta-analyses have demonstrated that the five personality dimensions are associated with a number of personal, interpersonal, and social behaviors, including, but not limited to, leadership, intrinsic motivation, health, coping strategies, relationship satisfaction, burnout, academic and team performance, job performance, and smoking and alcohol involvement (Kotov, Gamez, Schmidt, & Watson, 2010). As a caveat, just like any other personality assessment, results lead to generalizations about people, but these generalizations do not apply to all people. For example, although on the average, people become more conscientious as they get older, not everyone follows this pattern.

Costa, P., & McCrae, R. (1992). Four ways five factors are basic. Personality and Individual Differences, 13, 653 665.

Costa, P., & McCrae, R. (2011). The five-factor mode, five factor theory, and interpersonal psychology. In L. Horowitz, & S. Stack (Eds.), Handbook of interpersonal psychology: Theory, research, assessment and therapeutic interventions (pp. 91 104). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Digman, J. M. (1990). Personality structure: Emergence of the five-factor model. Annual Review of Psychology, 41, 417 440.

Kotov, R., Gamez, W., Schmidt, F., & Watson, D. (2010). Linking “big” personality traits to anxiety, depressive, and substance use disorders: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 136(5), 768 821.

***Contributed by Robert Weinberg for Hackfort, D., Schinke, R. J., & Strauss, B. (Eds.). (2019). Dictionary of sport psychology: sport, exercise, and performing arts. Academic Press.