THE STRUCTURE OF CONSCIENTIOUSNESS: AN EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION BASED ON SEVEN MAJOR PERSONALITY QUESTIONNAIRES

Authors


  • Preparation of this paper was supported by grants from NIA (R03 AG19414 & R01 AG21178), the Research Board at the University of Illinois, and NIMH (R01 MH49227).

and requests for reprints should be addressed to Brent W. Roberts, Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, 603 East Daniel Street, Champaign, IL 61820; broberts@s.psych.uiuc.edu.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify the underlying structure of the trait domain of Conscientiousness using scales drawn from 7 major personality inventories. Thirty-six scales conceptually related to Conscientiousness were administered to a large community sample (N= 737); analyses of those scales revealed a hierarchical structure with 6 factors: industriousness, order, self-control, responsibility, traditionalism, and virtue. All 6 factors demonstrated excellent convergent validity. Three of the 6 factors, industriousness, order, and self-control, showed good discriminant validity. The remaining 3 factors—responsibility, traditionalism and virtue—appear to be interstitial constructs located equally between Conscientiousness and the remaining Big Five dimensions. In addition, the 6 underlying factors had both differential predictive validity and provided incremental validity beyond the general factor of Conscientiousness when used to predict a variety of criterion variables, including work dedication, drug use, and health behaviors.

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