Self-Monitoring and the Metatraits

Michael P. Wilmot, Colin G DeYoung, David Stillwell, Michal Kosinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Prior attempts at locating self-monitoring within general taxonomies of personality traits have largely proved unsuccessful. However, past research has typically neglected (a) the bidimensionality of the Self-Monitoring Scale and (b) the hierarchical nature of personality. The objective of this study was to test hypotheses that the two self-monitoring factors are located at the level of the metatraits. Using data from two large multi-informant samples, one community (Sample 1: N=552, Mage=51.26, 61% female; NPeers=1,551, Mage=48.61, 37% female) and one online (Sample 2: N=3,726, Mage=24.89, 59% female; NPeers=17,868, Mage=26.23, 64% female), confirmatory factor analysis was used to test the hypotheses. Results confirmed hypotheses that acquisitive self-monitoring would have a strong positive relation to metatrait Plasticity, whereas protective self-monitoring would have a moderate negative relation to metatrait Stability. In both samples, constraining the correlation between acquisitive self-monitoring and Plasticity to unity did not alter model fit indices, indicating that the two putatively distinct constructs are identical. Findings have wide-ranging implications, including integration of the construct of self-monitoring into the mainstream of personality research, as the latter moves toward the development of broad explanatory theories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-347
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of personality
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


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