This research was supported by grants from the German Science Foundation to Peter Borkenau; by grant P407/10/2394 from the Czech Science Foundation related to research plan AV0Z70250504 of the Institute of Psychology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic; and by grant SF0180029s08 from the Estonian Ministry of Science and Education to Jüri Allik. We thank the Estonian Genome Center of the University of Tartu and its director, Andres Metspalu, for their help in collecting the Estonian personality data and for their kind permission to use the data in the current study.
Sex Differences in Variability in Personality: A Study in Four Samples
Article first published online: 2 JAN 2013
© 2012 The Authors. Journal of Personality © 2012, Wiley Periodicals, Inc
Journal of Personality
Volume 81, Issue 1, pages 49–60, February 2013
How to Cite
Borkenau, P., Hřebíčková, M., Kuppens, P., Realo, A. and Allik, J. (2013), Sex Differences in Variability in Personality: A Study in Four Samples. Journal of Personality, 81: 49–60. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2012.00784.x
- Issue published online: 22 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 2 JAN 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 13 FEB 2012 07:04AM EST
- German Science Foundation
- Czech Science Foundation. Grant Number: P407/10/2394
- Estonian Ministry of Science and Education. Grant Number: SF0180029s08
- informant reports;
- perceiver effects;
- sex differences;
Men vary more than women in cognitive abilities and physical attributes, and we expected that men would vary more in personality too. That this has not been found previously may reflect that (a) personality was measured by self-reports that confound target sex with informant sex, and (b) men actually vary more but accentuate personality differences less than women.
We analyzed informant reports and self-reports on the NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R or NEO PI-3) collected for two community and two student samples from four countries: Czech Republic (N = 714; age M = 36.1, SD = 14.1; 58% women), Estonia (N = 1,685; age M = 42.6, SD = 13.4; 58% women), Belgium (N = 345; age M = 18.4, SD = 3.0; 78% women), and Germany (N = 302; age M = 23.4, SD = 2.7; 56% women).
Higher male than female variability was found in each sample for informant reports of Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. Men but not women were overrepresented in both tails of the distributions of several personality traits.
According to liability-threshold models of mental disorders, this may contribute to men's overrepresentation in some kinds of deviant groups.