Higher-order factors of the Big Five predict exploration and threat in life stories

Joshua Wilt*, Bradley D. Olson, Dan P. McAdams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Research has not previously examined whether higher-order traits of the Big Five are related to characteristics of life story narratives. The current study explored possible links between the broad dispositions of Stability (comprising the shared aspects of Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Emotional Stability) and Plasticity (comprising the shared aspects of Extraversion and Openness) with narrative accounts of threat and exploration in the life-stories of 128 adults. Stability was inversely related to construals of threat in narratives, and Plasticity was positively related to exploration in narratives after controlling for the suppressor effects of demographic variables. These findings add to the research linking higher-order factors of the Big-Five to important domains as well as research linking dispositional traits to narrative identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-621
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Big-Five
  • Life-stories
  • Narrative identity
  • Plasticity
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • General Psychology


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