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. 2015 Jan;108(1):171-185.
doi: 10.1037/a0038497.

The Emergence of Sex Differences in Personality Traits in Early Adolescence: A Cross-Sectional, Cross-Cultural Study

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Free PMC article

The Emergence of Sex Differences in Personality Traits in Early Adolescence: A Cross-Sectional, Cross-Cultural Study

Marleen De Bolle et al. J Pers Soc Psychol. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Although large international studies have found consistent patterns of sex differences in personality traits among adults (i.e., women scoring higher on most facets), less is known about cross-cultural sex differences in adolescent personality and the role of culture and age in shaping them. The present study examines the NEO Personality Inventory-3 (McCrae, Costa, & Martin, 2005) informant ratings of adolescents from 23 cultures (N = 4,850), and investigates culture and age as sources of variability in sex differences of adolescents' personality. The effect for Neuroticism (with females scoring higher than males) begins to take on its adult form around age 14. Girls score higher on Openness to Experience and Conscientiousness at all ages between 12 and 17 years. A more complex pattern emerges for Extraversion and Agreeableness, although by age 17, sex differences for these traits are highly similar to those observed in adulthood. Cross-sectional data suggest that (a) with advancing age, sex differences found in adolescents increasingly converge toward adult patterns with respect to both direction and magnitude; (b) girls display sex-typed personality traits at an earlier age than boys; and (c) the emergence of sex differences was similar across cultures. Practical implications of the present findings are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Predicted z-scores for N1: Anxiety (upper panel) and N6: Vulnerability (bottom panel) for girls and boys aged 12 to 17 years.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Predicted z-scores for E3: Assertiveness (upper panel) and E6: Positive Emotions (bottom panel) for girls and boys aged 12 to 17 years.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Predicted z-scores for O2: Aesthetics (upper panel) and O5: Ideas (bottom panel) for girls and boys aged 12 to 17 Year.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Predicted z-scores for C4: Achievement Striving for girls and boys aged 12 to 17 years.

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