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What is the Big Five personality trait: Conscientiousness?

Conscientiousness is a key personality trait of the Big Five personality test that indicates a tendency to be responsible, organized, diligent, goal-oriented, and rule-abiding. It includes qualities like self-control, industriousness, responsibility, and reliability. Conscientious individuals excel in self-regulation and impulse control, impacting their ability to set and achieve long-term goals, make thoughtful decisions, and take their commitments seriously. This trait is crucial for success in both personal and professional realms and is a strong predictor of health, well-being, and longevity.

People high in conscientiousness are proactive decision-makers, not only setting goals but also creating timelines to achieve them. They thrive in detail-oriented roles, such as surgeons or pilots, and are less likely to engage in criminal behavior. These individuals are organized, punctual, and reliable, consistently paying bills on time, keeping promises, and maintaining schedules. They also prioritize self-care, including regular exercise, adequate sleep, and a healthy diet, and tend to avoid risky behaviors like smoking and excessive drinking.

The science of Conscientiousness

The Conscientiousness trait, falling on a spectrum from efficient/organized to easygoing/careless, indicates a propensity for being orderly and reliable, demonstrating self-discipline, striving for achievement, and preferring planned over spontaneous actions. It's measurable through statements like “I pay attention to details,” “I am always prepared,” and “I follow a schedule” (Costa & McCrae, 1992).

Conscientiousness is a crucial construct, as it correlates with vital life aspects such as physical health (Moffitt et al., 2011) and longevity (Kern & Friedman, 2008), as well as with academic performance (Noftle & Robins, 2007), workplace effectiveness (Dudley, Orvis, Lebiecki, & Cortina, 2006), and leadership capabilities (Judge, Bono, Ilies, & Gerhardt, 2002). As pointed out by Roberts, Lejuez, Krueger, Richards, and Hill (2012), focusing on Conscientiousness could be key to a long, healthy, happy, and successful life.

Defined as a range of constructs, Conscientiousness describes individual variances in being self-controlled, responsible to others, hardworking, orderly, and rule-following (Roberts et al., 2009). It is often viewed as a personality trait, reflecting persistent and automatic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that distinguish individuals from one another (Roberts & Jackson, 2008).

Which Big Five personality test facets measure Conscientiousness?

The Big Five personality test measures 34 personality facets that are linked to the Big Five personality traits. The facets that measure Conscientiousness are:

  • 1. Results focused - Is goal-oriented and achieves results
  • 2. Detail focusedWorks carefully with a focus on details and facts 
  • 3. MethodicalLikes to plan and structure work-related tasks
  • 4. Aware of rulesPrefers to work in an organization in which rules are important
  • 5. CriticalIs critical and identifies weak points in proposals and plans 
  • 6. Analytical - Actively seeks information and solutions to problems

TestGroup's tests & online assessments

TestGroup is the developer of the Bridge assessment instruments, which are high-quality, scientific tests that are applied all over the world. All Bridge instruments have been developed by TestGroup in collaboration with universities in the Netherlands and abroad. TestGroup specializes in predicting work behavior with personality questionnaires, career tests, and intelligence tests. We advise local and international organizations on the application of online assessments.

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