Neuroticism as a Big Five Personality Trait

Neurotic Personalities

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Social psychologists have done a lot of studies on human personalities, and they continue to do so in an attempt to get an insight into the complex human behavior and mentality. A lot of theories have been proposed in the past and the work on understanding human personality is still ongoing. 

Gordon Allport gave a list of 4,000 traits and 16 personality factors were given by Raymond Cattell. A three-factor theory was proposed by Hans Eysenck. 

Many researchers were not satisfied with these theories as Eysenck’s theory was too limited while Cattell’s was too complicated. 

The big five personality traits theory emerged after these theories, and it shed light on the essential traits that are the foundation of a personality. 

The Big Five trait theory gives the following aspects of a personality:

  • Conscientiousness 
  • Agreeableness 
  • Openness 
  • Extraversion 
  • Neuroticism 

These are broad categories that cover a lot of aspects of personality. Researchers do have some concerns about the exact labels of the dimensions as they do not define the aspects in the best way. 

What Is Neuroticism? 

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It is one of the basic traits given by the big five personality theory. It is characterized by emotional instability. People in which this trait is dominant tend to be anxious, sad, irritable, and experience extreme mood swings. 

There has been a lot of debate regarding this personality trait because some consider it a compliment while others do not think much of it.  


What Are the Sub-Traits of Neurotic Behavior? 

The basic traits proposed by the big five theory are pretty wide. To offer a better explanation, each trait is further divided into six sub traits. These six facets can be assessed individually to determine the personality of a person. 

The six facets of neurotic personality are: 

  • Vulnerability 
  • Depression 
  • Anger 
  • Immoderation 
  • Anxiety 
  • Self-consciousness 


Life of a Neurotic Person 

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Neurotic is a term that mostly comes with negative connotations, but it is not as simple as that. There are many ways of defining emotional instability. Social psychologists have worked to draw the line between neuroticism and anxiety. Identifying whether you have anxiety or a neurotic personality is crucial for understanding one’s personality. 

Neurotic behavior is often misinterpreted as anxiety. The key to finding the right answer depends on the manifestation of your anxiousness. 

Anxiety is all about the way a person deals with stressful situations and whether they prefer a flight or fight response. Identifying response plays a significant role in knowing whether you have anxiety or neurotic behavior. 

Neurotic people exhibit the following signs: 

  • Suffer from emotional instability 
  • Get stressed easily 
  • Experience social anxiety 
  • Have a pessimistic attitude 
  • A lot of personal insecurities 
  • Are not comfortable with change 
  • Volatile emotions 
  • Can seem to be withdrawn when anxious 
  • Always on alert and on the lookout for dangerous situations 
  • Tend to fantasize and ruminate 
  • Are not satisfied with life 
  • They develop feelings of guilt 
  • They are physically weak as well and can easily get sick


Neurotic Behavior in the Workplace 

Neurotic Personality
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The behavior and personality of a person can have a huge impact on performance in a workplace. 


Negative impact 

Their behavior can have a different impact on different individuals. It can bring down their performance and make it impossible to do their job in the best possible way. 

They are not good at staying focused for long periods. They allow their emotions to take over which makes it hard for them to focus on the tasks at hand. 

Neurotic people are indecisive. They do not feel comfortable choosing things and can get stuck on things for a long time. 

It makes people uncertain, and they suffer a lot because of changes. They find it hard to deal with changing rules and setups in a workplace. 

Positive impact of neuroticism

Neurotic behavior has a positive side as well which is often overshadowed by the bad things and does not get much attention. 

They do not have an impatient personality and like to contemplate things. They do not make hasty decisions and ruminate a lot before choosing anything. It can be a valuable trait in many situations, especially where deep insight and mitigation are required. The personality trait is useful in leadership and management roles. 

These people are self-aware and realistic. Their lack of boastful attitude is effective in creating a healthy work environment and allows them to work well with their colleagues. 

Neurotic people are constantly looking for pitfalls. Their diligent attitude makes them perfect for leadership roles. 

They are in touch with their emotions and it makes it possible to understand other people’s feelings and struggles. Their emotional depth is essential for creating cohesion in a team. 

Some professions are suitable for people with neurotic tendencies, such as freelancers, academics, florists, accountants, artists, etc.


Performance in Workplaces 

Individuals that score high in emotional stability do not get upset easily. They are calm and do not get overwhelmed by negative feelings. 

People with a low score are not good at controlling their emotions and often overact in every situation. Someone with a low score is more likely to be in a bad mood or feel threatened, even in normal situations. 

You can take high-quality personality tests on our website to find out if you have any neurotic tendencies or not before choosing a career. 

Role in hiring decisions 

The knowledge of the big five personality traits is essential for recruiters. Our website offers reliable tests that give insight into the behavior of people under different circumstances. The knowledge is valuable as it allows recruiters to predict potential employees who can fit in and progress in a company. 

Final Thoughts 

Neuroticism is an aspect of personality that explores an individual’s ability to manage stress and negative feelings. But it is crucial to understand that neurotic behavior is so much more than its negative interpretations. Just like any other personality trait, it also has positive aspects. Empathy and in-depth thinking of neurotic people are effective in creating a healthy and good work environment. 

Neurotic people are sensitive and in touch with their emotions, and to get the best performance out of them in a workplace, it is essential to manage them properly. When managed efficiently, they prove to be a profitable hire otherwise their neurotic tendencies can become disrupting. 

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MBA from the Australian Institute of business. Over a decade working for IBM Australia and Oracle Europe and the Middle East. Worked on Artificial Intelligence technology for many years and believes that technology can help everyone better understand his/her personality and find the job they deserve.