Sex Roles

, Volume 77, Issue 9–10, pp 653–662 | Cite as

Personality across Sexual Identity and Gender in a National Probability Sample in New Zealand

  • Lara M. Greaves
  • Fiona Kate Barlow
  • Yanshu Huang
  • Samantha Stronge
  • Chris G. Sibley
Original Article


Preliminary evidence in online and convenience samples has shown small but significant personality differences across sexual identity and gender over a number of personality traits. The idea that gender intersects with sexual identity to affect personality has been formalized into two hypotheses: the gender inversion hypothesis (that lesbians and heterosexual men, as well as gay men and heterosexual women, have indistinguishable mean scores on personality traits) and the gender shift hypothesis (that gay men’s and lesbians’ personality scores fall somewhere between those of heterosexual women and men). We investigate personality differences in self-identified sexual identity across and within gender in a large, national probability sample in New Zealand (N = 14,230). There was support for the gender inversion hypothesis on some traits; lesbians (relative to heterosexual women) had similar conscientiousness scores to those of heterosexual men, and gay men (relative to heterosexual men) scored similar to heterosexual women in agreeableness and emotional stability. Our work highlights the importance of taking an intersectional approach to simultaneously consider gender and sexual identity when it comes to understanding personality.


Sexual identity Personality Gender Gender inversion Gender shift 



Lara Greaves was supported by a University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship during the preparation of this manuscript. This research was supported by a Templeton World Charity Foundation Grant (ID: 0077). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

As per the NZAVS data access statement, a copy of the anonymous data reported in each NZAVS publication is available from CS.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lara M. Greaves
    • 1
  • Fiona Kate Barlow
    • 2
  • Yanshu Huang
    • 1
  • Samantha Stronge
    • 1
  • Chris G. Sibley
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.School of PsychologyThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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