Big Five Personality Dimensions and Transgenderism
The Big Five of Five-Factor personality theory which classifies the human character according to dimensions of openness, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism is one of the most popular personality theories still in circulation today. Of course, the question immediately arises -- why these five? Why are these characteristics considered particularly important and of interest? The five factors have been determined to be cross-cultural in nature, at least according to its advocates, and relatively stable over the duration of an individual's lifespan (Acton 2006). They have a partly but not exclusively genetic dimension and have been useful in various ways to the survival of the species for many, many centuries.
The factors are conceived of along a continuum, "with most people falling in between the extremes ... and knowing one's placement on the factors is useful for insight and improvement through therapy" (Acton 2006). Along with these characteristics, according to the 2014 Time magazine article entitled "The transgender tipping point," many people experience gender as an extremely important part of their character as well and some people have a sense that they have been born in the wrong body. A critical component of the concept of transgenderism is the distinction between sex and gender. Sex is the physical body someone is born with; gender is the social construction of maleness or femaleness and dependent upon characteristics beyond the purely physical. This paper will explore how transgendered individuals might be affected by Big Five personality traits.
The definition of the characteristics of openness "would include adventurousness, imagination, curiosity, and emotionality" (Scutti 2007). It also refers to "how willing people are to make adjustments in notions and activities in accordance with new ideas or situations" (Popkins 1998). A number of the subjects in the Time article indicated that greater personal openness or the willingness to explore other options outside of the gendered determinants of accepted society would have helped them realize who they were at an earlier stage of life. "If the Internet had any meaningful sense when I was 21 I would have figured it out," notes one of the subjects in the article (Steinmetz, 2014, p.40). It should be added, however, that openness to experience is not associated in any study with a tendency to manifest transgenderism, but rather the characteristic might be presumed to make it easier for the individual to accept this characteristic about him or herself. Openness to experience in general is associated with greater emotional hardiness and resiliency to adversity.
Extroversion, like openness, is another characteristic associated with positive mental health, the ability to adapt to new circumstances and "a trait characterized by a keen interest in…
Sources Used in Document:
Acton, S. (2006). Five-Factor Model. Great Ideas in Personality. Retrieved from:
Popkins, N. (1998). The Five-Factor Model: Emergence of a taxonomic model for personality psychology. Great Ideas in Personality. Retrieved from: http://www.personalityresearch.org/papers/popkins.html
Scutti, S. (2015). The big five personality traits: Take the test to know yourself and your future health. Medical Daily. http://www.medicaldaily.com/big-five-personality-traits-take-test-know-yourself-and-your-future-health-328022