Date of Award

Winter 1997

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Committee Director

Neill Watson

Committee Member

J. D. Ball

Committee Member

Gregory Feist

Committee Member

Louis Janda

Committee Member

Barbara Winstead


Since Allport (1937) first introduced the idea that traits may vary in their relevance for particular individuals, several investigators have explored ways to operationalize the construct of traitedness in order to improve the criterion-related validity of a trait-based approach to personality assessment. Specifically, these investigators have examined the utility of traitedness indicators as moderators of trait-criterion correlations, seeking to separate those individuals who are predictable on a given trait dimension from those who are not. This study attempted to determine whether the criterion-related validity of the Conscientiousness scale from the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R; Costa & McCrae, 1992) varies as a function of traitedness, i.e., the relevance of the trait of conscientiousness for particular individuals.

In order to operationalize traitedness, a modified version of Kelly's (1955) Role Construct Repertory Test (Reptest) was administered to 72 undergraduate students to assess both the organization and meaningfulness of the trait of conscientiousness within their personal construct systems. Participants also completed the NEO PI-R and some alternative measures of traitedness used in previous research. It was hypothesized that the traitedness index derived from the Reptest would significantly moderate the relation between participants' scores on the NEO PI-R Conscientiousness scale and 4 objective behavioral measures.

Although results failed to support the use of the traitedness index as a moderator of trait-criterion correlations, some interesting findings were obtained for the use of the Reptest measures as direct predictors of behavior. Among the other traitedness indicators examined, only the nonipsatized variance index displayed a significant moderator effect consistent with expectations. It is concluded that the acceptable test-retest reliability coefficients and significant direct effects obtained for the Reptest measures suggest that these personal construct-based indices reflect meaningful individual differences worthy of further investigation.


A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculties of The College of William and Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology through the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.


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