Do Gender Differences in the Facets of Conscientiousness Explain the Female Underprediction Effect?




Minnigh, Tyler L.

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Women tend to perform better in college than their admission test scores would predict. The observed differential prediction of men's and women's future academic performance based on academic tests, such as the SAT and ACT, is known as the female underprediction effect. Prior research has found that gender differences in trait-level Conscientiousness explain some of the observed female underprediction effect. The current study examined the effects of the facets of Conscientiousness and the other "Big Five" personality traits (Openness to Experience, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism) in hierarchical multiple regression analyses as additional predictors of academic performance. The results were expected to show that the female underprediction effect is the result of the omission of personality variables in prior research that has examined the differential prediction of men's and women's college GPAs. However, the results of the current study did not observe a significant relationship between gender and GPA before or after controlling for differences in SAT scores, nor did any personality trait variable other than Conscientiousness emerge as a significant predictor of college GPA. The current study has implications for Intelligence Compensation Theory and the use of personality variables for predicting academic performance.


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