Personality and Personal Projects: Linking Big Five and PAC Units of Analysis


  • This research was supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, which is gratefully acknowledged. We are grateful to Beth MacDiarmid and Stephen Szawlowski for collegial stimulation in the Social Ecology Laboratory. We also wish to thank the anonymous reviewers for thoughtful suggestions. Len Lecci is now in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University.

should be sent to Brian R. Little, Department of Psychology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S5B6.


ABSTRACT This article examines the relationships between classical trait units as represented by the five-factor model (e.g., Digman, 1990) and personal action construct (PAC) units as measured by Personal Projects Analysis (Little, 1983). One hundred and forty-seven students were administered the NEO Personality Inventory (Costa & McCrae, 1985) and two components of Personal Projects methodology during their first term in university. Neuroticism and Conscientiousness were related to problematic and positive project systems, respectively, with these effects generalizing across the academic and interpersonal project domains. Extraversion and Agreeableness were also associated with positive evaluations of personal projects, particularly in the interpersonal domain. Openness was distinctively linked with project initiation and value congruency. We suggest theoretical and applied implications of using PAC methods to expand and refine the classical trait research agenda.