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Keywords:

  • personality;
  • reinforcement sensitivity theory;
  • behavioural approach system;
  • behavioural inhibition system;
  • fight-flight-freeze system;
  • five-factor model;
  • neuroticism;
  • extraversion;
  • openness;
  • agreeableness;
  • conscientiousness;
  • facets

Abstract

Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (RST) and the Five-Factor Model (FFM) are two prominent personality accounts that have emerged from different backgrounds. Although the two accounts are applied to similar research topics, there is limited empirical work examining the correspondence between them. The current study explored the relationship between RST-based personality traits and the FFM domains and facets in an undergraduate sample (n = 668). Regression analyses indicated that Sensitivity to Punishment (SP) was positively associated with Neuroticism and Agreeableness, and negatively associated with Extraversion, Openness, and Conscientiousness. In contrast, Sensitivity to Reward (SR) was positively associated with Extraversion and Neuroticism, and negatively associated with Agreeableness and Conscientiousness. Exploratory analyses at the facet level specified the relationship between SP, SR, and each domain. A factor analysis was also conducted to explore the higher-order factor structure of RST and the FFM domains. Three factors emerged, which we labelled SP, Stability-Impulsivity, and Sensation Seeking. Taken together, these findings suggest that there is substantial overlap between these two accounts of personality. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.