Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 11-18-2020


The Big 5 personality traits are typically assessed in order to understand the behavior of individuals. The major traits are extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience (McCrae & John, 1991). Health-related behaviors regarding COVID-19 include wearing masks and properly social distancing (CDC, 2020a, CDC, 2020b). Previous research examined the relationship between the Big 5 personality traits and either mask use or social distancing and concluded that there were correlations between personality and the likelihood that participants would engage in COVID-19 precautionary behaviors (Zajenkowski, Jonason, Leniarska, & Kozakiewicz, 2020, Aschwanden et al., 2020, Carvalho, Pianowski, & Goncalves, 2020, Abdelrahman, 2020). The present study investigates the relationship between the Big 5 personality traits and the health-related behaviors of mask use and social distancing among undergraduate students. Specifically, participants completed a three-part survey which assessed the Big 5 traits, mask use and social distancing behavior, and demographic information. We hypothesized that participants who indicated more frequent mask use would rate higher in agreeableness, extraversion, and conscientiousness. We also predicted that participants who indicated more frequent social distancing would rate lower in agreeableness and extraversion and higher in conscientiousness. Six bivariate correlations revealed that initial hypotheses were unsupported by the data with the exception of a significant, positive correlation between agreeableness and mask use. Keywords: personality traits, coronavirus, COVID-19, mask use, social distancing, Big 5


PSYC 461

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Psychology Commons



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