I need help to determine from the Five Factor Model of Personality which factors are most and least important?

Expert Answers
M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

J.M Digman's Five Factor Model of personality traits (1990) is used to extrapolate the diverse characteristics that tend to repeat themselves from one person to another in variable combinations. Personality theory is based on the basic tenet that the individual, human development, and our interaction with the environment are interdependent and ultimately cause the many different forms of behavior that we exhibit so differently from one person to the other.

This being said, the five factors that are present and most universally common in individuals can be listed as:

Factor I-Extroversion: behavior in social situations

Factor II-Agreeableness: interaction with others

Factor III-Conscientiousness/Dependability: our reliability in the eyes of others.

Factor IV-Neuroticism: tendency toward negativity

Factor V- Openness: our ability to accept differences in culture in others.

As can be inferred, to determine the importance of a factor depends on what the factor will be used for. An example is job security. A person who comes across as neurotic and unreliable while being evaluated is much less likely to renew or obtain contracts than someone who is dependable and agreeable.

However, in life the key is to understand the inevitability of change happening. Another key element is to accept change as a natural process. Then, one must be willing to attempt several ways to problem solve whenever changes come unexpectedly. Finally, one must be willing to let go of the want to control situations and trust our own survival skills and coping mechanisms as our most reliable tools.

All of this can be achieved if we are open and agreeable. These two factors entail positive thinking and openmindness. Followed by these two factors, the third most important should be openness. This is very important because changes are best welcome and less stressful when one is willing to try different things. Then comes neuroticism. This falls on a third category because it is a choice rather than an inherent social behavior. Whether we choose the negative over the positive, or vice versa, the fact remains that it is ultimately part of our free will. Finally extroversion is a positive quality but it is not a necessary quality to succeed. Hence, if life is viewed upon in that order, chances are that there will be higher chances to live a true qualitative life.