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Neuroticism and The Five Factor Model

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Neuroticism boldly contrasts with the other personality traits in the Five Factor Model for personality (Openness, Agreeableness, Extraversion, Contentiousness, and Neuroticism). An individual being high in any of the other four traits could hardly be considered pathological. For example, high levels of agreeableness, within reason, would probably be considered to be a positive and healthy characteristic. However, the discussion regarding neuroticism certainly takes a darker turn. Gunthert, Cohen, and Armeli (1999) in their study, operationally define neuroticism as a predisposition to experience negative affect (negative emotional systems). Lahey (2009) defines it slightly differently, as the tendency to “respond with negative emotions to threat, frustration, or loss.” More generally, the personality trait is characterized by anxiety, angry hostility, depression, self-consciousness, impulsiveness, and vulnerability (Cervone & Pervin, 2010). Neuroticism has critical implications outside of personality psychology. Some researchers suggest that neuroticism is significantly correlated with both physical and mental health issues more so than any other personality trait variable. This increased risk is not just for a particular group of pathologies; neuroticism has been linked to Axis I and II disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) across the board (Lahey, 2009). In some occupational performance studies, negative affect was negatively related to job performance (Kaplan, Bradley, Luchman, & Haynes, 2009). This may be extrapolated to individuals high in neuroticism, as it the trait is the predisposition for the experience of negative affect. Research on daily stress and coping showed th...

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