International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 129-147

First online:

Construct validation of health-relevant personality traits: Interpersonal circumplex and five-factor model analyses of the aggression questionnaire

  • Linda C. GalloAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Behavioral Sciences Building, The University of Utah
  • , Timothy W. SmithAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Behavioral Sciences Building, The University of Utah Email author 

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The general literature on personality traits as risk factors for physical illness—as well as the specific literature on health consequences of anger, hostility, and aggressive behavior— often suffers from incomplete or inconsistent construct validation of personality measures. This study illustrates the utility of two conceptual tools in this regard— the five-factor model and the interpersonal circumplex. The similarities and differences among anger, hostility, verbal aggressiveness, and physical aggressiveness as measured by the Buss and Perry (1992) Aggression Questionnaire were identi fied. Results support the interpretation of anger and hostility as primarily reflecting neurotic hostility and antagonistic hostility to a lesser extent. In contrast, verbal and physical aggressiveness can be seen as primarily reflecting antagonistic hostility, and to a lesser extent neurotic hostility. Further, verbal aggressiveness was associated with hostile dominance, whereas hostility was associated with hostile submissiveness. These findings identify potentially important distinctions among these related constructs and illustrate the potential integrative value of standard validation procedures.

Key words

anger hostility five-factor model circumplex aggressio