Personality Traits in Contemporary China: A Lexical Approach

  • Xu Shao
  • Hao Chai
  • Wei WangEmail author


The disordered personality is related to culture, the normal personality trait and its interactions with the contemporary Chinese culture are however, still unclear. Similar to other languages, the Chinese tongue lies in the vast expanse of vocabulary along the history, which offers rich descriptions of personality trait. In this chapter, we conducted two psycho-lexical studies on Chinese adjective descriptors of personality traits in the contemporary society. We chose a larger pool of personality-relevant adjectives, and tried them out on participants who attended university in the Eastern, Western, Southern, and Northern China. In study 1, we implemented the self-rating scales of the 650 adjectives among 600 individuals. Five prominent factors were discovered, namely “Intelligent”, “Emotional”, “Conscientious”, “Unsocial”, and “Agreeable”. Twenty adjectives with highest target loadings for each factor were selected to create a short edition of the self-rating scales, the Chinese Adjective Descriptors of Personality (CADP). In study 2, we implemented the 100 adjectives of the CADP among 720 university students in four Chinese areas, with five-factor structures confirmed once again. There were statistically satisfactory loadings of the individual adjectives on the target factor and high internal alphas for each personality scale. Most CADP scales were correlated with each other. However, no significant gender differences were found among CADP scales. The five-factor structures in our report could be compared to the Openness to Experiences (or Intellect), Neuroticism, Conscientiousness, Extraversion and Agreeableness in the Big-Five Model. With CADP, we may further investigate personality disorders to address the interactions between disordered and normal personality traits in Chinese culture.


Collectivist culture Contemporary Chinese culture Five-factor model Normal personality trait 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry/School of Public HealthZhejiang University College of MedicineHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, College of EducationZhejiang University of TechnologyHangzhouChina

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