Big Five Differences in Personality Traits Based on High School Backgrounds

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Brian James Phillips
Wayne N. Phillips


Using the five-factor model, this research compares how personality traits differs between students graduating from a Thai high school, those finishing from an international school within the country, and those that graduate from outside of the country. Participants were 937 first-term undergraduate majoring in 17 different programs. When comparing traits to an American sample of 21-year-olds, Thai undergraduates scored significantly lower on openness, conscientiousness, agreeability, and neuroticism (all p=0.000). Extraversion scores between the two were not significantly different. When comparing high school backgrounds, female students coming from a Thai school had significantly higher scores in conscientiousness (p=0.008) than those who came from an international school. They also had significantly lower neuroticism scores than the international school graduates (p=0.000). Males who study abroad had significantly higher agreeableness (p=0.013) and openness scores (p=0.004) than those who studied at a Thai high school. In conclusion, Thai students coming from different secondary educational systems showed distinct character traits differing according to students’ gender. Prior research has associated these factor differences to future academic and career success.


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Author Biography

Wayne N. Phillips

Dr. Wayne N. Phillips graduated from University of Essex with a PhD in biology. His MSc and BSc were awarded by King’s College, London. He has been teaching at Mahidol University since the early 2000s and works closely with students and the local industry in making them more aware of the impact of pollution and tourism on coral reef ecology.


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