The study presents the superordinate structure of personality measured by the Inventory of Child Individual Differences (ICID) and its links with behavioural approach system (BAS) and behavioural inhibition system (BIS), problem behaviour and family environment measures in parent reports of 1780 Russian children aged 3–17 years and 573 adolescent self-reports. Two higher-order factors, α comprising Agreeableness, Conscientiousness and Neuroticism (reversed), and β comprising Openness, Extraversion, Conscientiousness and Emotional Stability, were confirmed across gender and age. Structural model linking BAS with α and BIS with β was supported. α was negatively associated with externalising problems and β was negatively related to internalising problems. The links with family cohesion, punishment, westernisation and affluence supported the external validity of the Big Two. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.