The structure of situations from a personality perspective

MA Ten Berge*, B De Raad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


A taxonomy of situations was constructed that categorizes situations by means of ratings of one's ability to deal with those situations. A principal components analysis of self- and other-ratings yielded four components of situations: 1, situations of pleasure; II, situations of individual adversity; III, situations of interpersonal conflict; and TV situations of social demand. Ratings of being able to deal with a situation were related to ratings on a personality questionnaire. This resulted in a very clear set of situations for each of the Big Five factors of personality. The Big Five differed in kind and in number of situations for which they were able to distinguish the well handling from the less well handling persons. Especially, it turned out that the so-called temperament-factors, Extraversion, Emotional Stability, and also Autonomy, give rise to more situational differentiation than the so-called character-factors, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness. Comparing the present situation structure to that obtained in an earlier study, we found that using the same set of situations does not guarantee obtaining the same set of situation components. Different methods of classification yield differences in the resulting classifications. Copyright (C) 2002 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-102
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002



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