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Personality Differences among Adolescent Boys and Girls.


The past quarter century has yielded tremendous advances in understanding of personality traits specifically individual characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behavior (John, Naumann & Soto, 2008).

During the life span developmental perspective of an individual physical, emotional, cognitive and mental changes take place. In this development, personality traits are the important ones because on the basis of these personality traits an individual's life course will beinfluenced. In the developmental stages of an individual, adolescence stage is a periodduring which great differentiation takes place on the social terrain (Rose, 2005).

Adolescence is generally regarded as being the formative period in a person's life. During this time, the personality development of adolescents (specifically identity formation) reaches a crisis point, and the development of a unique and stable personality is often a very difficult aspect to deal with (Ryan &Deci, 2003).

In the last decade, adolescent personality researchers have moved toward increasing consensus about the structure of adolescent personality. Among the best established models is the five factor model which consists of five different factors such as: Neuroticism (anxiety, depressiveness and emotional volatility), Extraversion (sociability, assertiveness, energy level),Openness to Experience (intellectual curiosity, creativity and sensitivity), Agreeableness (compassion, politeness, trust in others) and lastly Conscientiousness (organize, industriousness and reliability).

Many research evidences reported that all the five factor model of personality is related to the period of adolescence. Cross sectional studies revealed that adolescents are higher in extraversion and emotional stability and lower in agreeableness and conscientiousness (Costa & McCrae, 1994; McCrae et al., 2000). Between the age of 12 to 18, the studies revealed that mean levels of emotional stability decreases for girls only(McCrae et al., 2002). Mean levels of extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness do not change, although Conscientiousness has also been found to decrease (Allik, Ladira, Realo&Pullmann, 2004). Openness was found to increase both cross-sectionally and longitudinally as well (McCrae et al., 2002;Allik et al., 2004). The consistently found increase in openness may indicate that adolescents are increasingly appreciating intellectual and creative expressions, or may be related to identity development and exploration of different roles and possibilities.

Among adolescents, all the higher orderpersonality traits are related to social competence. Perhaps so many aspects of personality predict social functioning it requires a wide array of skills, including emotional expression, emotional understanding, and emotional and behavioral regulation as well (Denham, 1998; Rubin et al., 1998). Agreeable and extraverted children are more socially competent concurrently and across time (Gest, 1997;Shiner,2000 &Asendorpf&VanAken,2003). Children high on negative emotionality or low on constraint have a variety of social difficulties concurrently and across time; the interaction of these traits may be especially problematic for social functioning (Eisenberg et al., 2000). Neuroticism and agreeableness are the strongest and most consistent personality predictors of relationship outcomesincluding relationship dissatisfaction, conflict, abuseand ultimately dissolution (Karney&Brabury, 1995).

Some associations between youth traits and social outcomes are straight forward, whereas other involves moderation effects (i.e. interactions) between youth personality and parental behavior. Moreover, the traits that predispose youths towards a particular outcome are not necessarily the same traitsthat moderate parental influences on that outcome. In this context, Tackett et al., (2014) reported that youth's higher in neuroticism and lower in agreeableness and conscientiousness are more likely to engage in social aggression but that youths low in extraversion and openness are most susceptible to the impact of inconsistent parental discipline on their social aggression.

Similarly, adolescent's personality traits have been systematically linked with the frequency of life stressors (e.g. academicproblems, interpersonal conflicts) and may effect the stressor on life outcomes (Chen & Miller,2012).


The present investigation was designed to study the big five personality factors (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to experience, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness) of adolescent boys and girls of Shimla town. Furthermore, difference between big five personality factors among adolescent boys and girls was analyzed by using the t-test.


The sample for the present study comprised of 100 students (50 boys& 50 girls) studying in class 10th- in the age range of 14-16 years. The students were selected from the public schools of Shimla town.

Tools Used:

The following standardized research tools have been used

NEO-FFI five factor inventory:

The NEO-FFI five factor inventory is a likert scale and was developed by Costa & McCrae in 1992. The scale measures or gives indication of the presence of each of the five dimensions of personality in the individuals. The five dimensions include Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness. Each domain consists of 12 item statements. The score for each item ranges from 0 to 4, 0-strongly disagree, 1-disagree, 2-neutral, 3-agree and 4-strongly agree. Some of the items are stated in positive and some in negative direction. Negatively worded items must be reversed for scoring purpose (Costa &McCrae, 1992).The scores on all the items of each dimension were added separately to get individual scores for five sub categories.


Table 1 shows the t-ratios computed in order to find out the significance of difference between the mean scores obtained by boys and girls on five factors of personality and the results are graphically depicted in Fig 1.

Five dimensions of personality:


It is evident from Table 1 & Fig 1 that girls (M=16.48) have significantly (t=5.26, P<.01) scored higher on neuroticism as compared to boys (M=11.52).Therefore, girls in the present study are more neurotic as compared to boys.


No significant (t=0.84) gender differences have emerged on the dimension of extraversion between boys (M=29.96) and girls (M=29.90).
Fig 1: Significance of Difference between Boys & Girls on the Five
Dimensions of Personality

                  Boys        Girls

Neuroticism       11.52       16.48 (**)
Extraversion      29.96       29.9
Openness          28.64 (**)  27.12
Coscientiousness  32.92       34.32 (**)
Agreeableness     32.3        33.6 (*)

Openness to Experience:

Table 1& Fig 1 clearly indicate that boys (M=28.64) have significantly (t=2.52, P<.01) scored higher on openness as compared to girls (M=27.12). Therefore, boys have more Openness to Experience as compared to girls.


It is also evident from the Table & Fig that boys (M=32.92) significantly (t=2.42, P<.01) scored lower on conscientiousness as compared to girls (M=34.32).


Girls (M=33.60) significantly (t=33.60, P<.05) scored high on agreeableness as compared to boys (M=32.30).

Therefore, the above results clearly indicate that there was a significant difference on big five personality dimensions among boys and girls. Girls have high mean score on neuroticism, agreeableness and conscientiousness where as boys have high mean score on openness to experience.


Adolescent is indicated as the most unstable stage because the individual's thinking develops towards a formal operation characterized by independence along with the psychological maturity. Such psychological and physiological changes are frequently manifested by the fact that teenagers begin to consistently establish his or her own identity which develops necessary skills for socially responsible behavior.

Social role theories propose that, in virtually all cultures boys and girls are subjected to different socialization pressures and practices, which result in sex-differentiated patterns of behaviors. Boys and girls are encouraged by parents and other socialization agents to engage in sex-typed play, which encourages different interests and activity levels in boys and girls (Langlois & Downs, 1980; Lytton & Romnely, 1991). In many cultures, boys are granted more independence by parents and are assigned non-domestic chores and tasks that take them outside the home whereas girls are monitored and sequestered more by parents and assigned domestic chores, including the care of other children. Such socialization practices may include somewhat different personality traits and social skills in boys and girls (e.g., independence in boys, nurturance in girls).

Thus, the results of the present research work clearly demonstrate that significant differences emerged between boys and girls on five dimensions of personality. Girls scored higher on neuroticism, which indicates that there is emotional instability in girls. Gender differences in traits related to Neuroticism have been reported, with females scoring higher than males (e.g., Feingold, 1994; Lynn Martin, 1997; Costa, Terracciano& McCrae, 2001; McCrae, Teracciano et al., 2005). Some evidences also reveal that girls are shy and fearful in terms of neuroticism (Else-Quest, Hyde, Goldsmith, & Van Hulle, 2006). These all evidences support that girls are having more neuroticism as a personality traits, i.e. shy, fearful, insecure and negative affect.

Further, on the dimension of openness there is a significant difference between boys and girls.As compared to girls, boys scored higher on openness to experience dimensions of personality. Costa et al., (2001) argued that men are higher in assertiveness, extraversion and openness as compare to women.Furthermore, Feingold (1994) and Costa et al., (2001) reported in their respective studies that men score higher than women on assertiveness and excitement seeking. Moreover, Helgeson& Fritz (1992) revealed that men are more bossy and domineering. So, they are more dominant and agnatic as compared to women.

The results further revealed that girls reported high agreeableness and conscientiousness as compared to boys. Schmitt, David, Realo, Voracek, &Ture, (2008) corroborated the findings of the present investigation that girls have more agreeableness (forgiving attitudes, belief in cooperation and conscientiousness, leadership skills, long-term plans & organized support network). Women on average, are more cooperative than men (Solnick, 2001), particularly when other women are involved in the social exchange situation (Wischniewski, Wind Mann, Juckel & Brune, 2009).According to Feingold (1994) and Costa et al., (2001) that women are often found to be more agreeable then men which reflects that women are more nurturing, tenderminded and altruistic to a greater extent than men.

It can be concluded from the results of the present investigation that significant gender difference were found on the five dimensions of personality among adolescent boys and girls. Girls significantly were more neurotic, agreeable and higher on the dimension of conscientiousness whereas boys were significantly more open to experience. It seems that girls are emotionally unstable because of their shy and fearful behavior but, at the same time, girls are also co-operative, forgiving, supportive and nurturing as compared to boys. Boys, on the other hand, are curious, creative, bossy and dominating by their nature. Therefore, it can be concluded from the results of the present research work that adolescent girls and boys have different personality characteristics.


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Received: January 15, 2017

Revised: April 30, 2017

Accepted: June 26, 2017

Gayatri Raina (*) and Pooja Verma (**)

(*) Assistant Professor., (**) Research Scholar, Deparmentt of Psychology, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla-5,India.
Table 1: Mean, Standard Deviation and t-ratios on the Five Dimensions
of Personality

                    Girls         Boys
                    N=50          N=50
Five dimensions of  Mean   SD     Mean   SD     t-Ratio

Neuroticism         16.48  5.199  11.52  4.171  5.26 (**)
Extraversion        29.90  3.483  29.96  3.692  0.84
Openness            27.12  2.438  28.64  3.483  2.52 (**)
Conscientiousness   34.32  2.192  32.92  3.325  2.42 (**)
Agreeableness       33.60  2.548  32.20  2.801  3.37 (*)

(**) P<.01, (*) P<.05
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Author:Raina, Gayatri; Verma, Pooja
Publication:Indian Journal of Community Psychology
Article Type:Report
Date:Sep 1, 2017
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