Personality traits measured at baseline can predict academic performance in upper secondary school three years late

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The aim of the present study was to explore the ability of personality to predict academic performance in a longitudinal study of a Swedish upper secondary school sample. Academic performance was assessed throughout a three-year period via final grades from the compulsory school and upper secondary school. The Big Five personality factors (Costa & McCrae, 1992) - particularly Conscientiousness and Neuroticism - were found to predict overall academic performance, after controlling for general intelligence. Results suggest that Conscientiousness, as measured at the age of 16, can explain change in academic performance at the age of 19. The effect of Neuroticism on Conscientiousness indicates that, as regarding getting good grades, it is better to be a bit neurotic than to be stable. The study extends previous work by assessing the relationship between the Big Five and academic performance over a three-year period. The results offer educators avenues for improving educational achievement.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology


  • Personality traits, Big Five, academic performance, longitudinal, upper, secondary school, suppressor effect
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-618
JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch