The Big 5 Personality Traits: “Neuroticism”

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The “Big 5” personality traits are Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism, or OCEAN. The Big 5 is considered by many contemporary psychologists to be a reliable way to describe differences in personalities and is arguably the basis of modern personality research.

Neuroticism

Not to be confused with the term “neurotic” in the Freudian sense (a mild mental illness caused by stress), which admittedly has similarities, Neuroticism defines how susceptable one is to unfortunate events and psychological stress. It is sometimes called “emotional instability” since Neuroticism defines the degree of impulse control a person has in stressful situations.

Individuals who score high in Neuroticism experience unpleasant emotions such as anxiety and anger much frequently than the average person and fall into depression more easily as well. “Low stability” persons are easily excitable and very reactive, causing them to be perceived as unstable at times.

Those who score low in the Neuroticism trait are seen as more stable and confident yet they also tend to appear less concerned and indifferent.

Final Words

Overall, Neuroticism is the tendency to experience negative emotions. The higher the score, the more difficult it becomes to deal with negative experiences. Luckily, this trait responds to the events in one’s life, since positive experiences can lower Neuroticism over time. A life of discontent can correlate to high Neuroticism levels, thus major life changes in a positive direction can change how we perceive negative events.


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