Inability to manage anger and the verbal and/or physical expression of anger are important considerations in selecting security personnel. Security personnel need to be able to manage their anger and avoid expressing anger in a way that threatens others. While it is possible to measure the propensity for anger directly, it can also be directly inferred through the measurement of personality traits. The purpose of this study was to investigate which personality traits demonstrated relationships with state and trait anger.
JvR Psychometrics conducted a study with 469 security personnel who completed the Basic Traits Inventory (BTI) and State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI). The BTI is used to measure the Big Five personality traits and the STAXI measures trait and state anger. Trait anger is stable anger whereas State anger fluctuates over time.
The results indicated that there were several personality traits that were related to state and trait anger. The main results are summarised below:
- Regression analysis found that Neuroticism was the strongest predictor of state and trait anger. Security personnel who scored higher on Neuroticism appeared to be more likely to express their anger (verbally and/or physically) and frustration and appeared to be less likely to monitor and prevent the outward expression of anger.
- Security personnel who scored high on Agreeableness appeared to be less likely to express their anger and more likely to control the expression of anger.
- Although Extraversion was not directly related to anger, two of its facets, namely Positive Affectivity and Excitement Seeking, were. High scores on Positive Affectivity and low scores on Excitement Seeking were related to lower scores on trait and state anger.
- Higher scores on Conscientiousness were weakly related to lower scores on state and trait anger. In particular, it appears that respondents who were more reliable and dependable experienced less state and trait anger.
- Openness to Experience appeared to be unrelated to state and trait anger. There was, however, some evidence that respondents with more intellectual curiosity experienced less anger.
These results indicate that Neuroticism, Agreeableness, Positive Affectivity, and Excitement Seeking may be the strongest predictors of anger expression. The measurement of personality traits may therefore be warranted when selecting security personnel.