Skip to main content


Table 1 The five lower order sub-scales that compose the self-directedness (SD) scale of the Temperament and Character Inventory

From: The genetic and environmental structure of the character sub-scales of the temperament and character inventory in adolescence

High Scorers   Low Scorers
Tend to feel free to choose what they will do. They recognize that their attitudes, behaviors, and problems generally reflect their own choices. Consequently, they tend to accept responsibility for their attitudes and behavior. They are reliable and trustworthy (SD1) responsibility vs. blaming Tend to blame other people and external circumstances for what is happening to them. They feel that their attitudes, behavior, and choices are determined by influences outside their control or against their will. Consequently, they tend not to accept responsibility for their actions
They have a clear sense of meaning and direction in their lives. They have developed the ability to delay gratification to achieve their goals (SD2) purposefulness vs. lack of goal direction Tend to struggle to find direction, purpose, and meaning in their lives. They are uncertain about long-term goals, and thus feel driven to react to current circumstances and immediate needs. They may feel that their life is empty and has little or no meaning beyond the reactive impulses of the moment
Usually described as resourceful and effective. They impress other people as productive, proactive, competent, and innovative individuals who rarely lack ideas on how to solve problems or initiative in identifying opportunities to solve problems. Indeed, they tend to look at a difficult situation as a challenge or an opportunity (SD3) resourcefulness vs. inertia Impress others as helpless, hopeless, and ineffective. These individuals have not developed skills and confidence in solving problems and thus feel unable and incompetent when faced with obstacles. Typically, they tend to wait for others to take the lead in getting things done
Self-confident individuals who recognize and accept both their strengths and limitations. In other words, these individuals try to do the best that they can without pretending to be something they are not. Rather, they seem to accept and feel very comfortable with their actual mental and physical features, although they may try to improve these limitations by constructive training and effort (SD4) self-acceptance vs. self-striving Tend to manifest low self-esteem. They neither accept nor enjoy their actual mental and physical features. Rather, they often pretend to be different than they really are. That is, they tend to fantasize about unlimited wealth, importance, beauty, and perpetual youth. When confronted with evidence to the contrary, they may become severely disturbed
These individuals have developed a spectrum of goal-congruent, good habits so that they automatically act in accord with their long-term values and goals. This is achieved gradually as a consequence of self-discipline, but eventually becomes automatic. These habits usually develop through repeated practice and are typically stronger than most momentary impulses or persuasion. In other words, these individuals rarely confuse their priorities and thus feel safe and self trusting in many tempting situations (SD5) self-actualizing vs. bad habits These individual manifest habits that are inconsistent with and make it hard for them to accomplish worthwhile goals. Others sometimes perceive these peoples as self-defeating and weak-willed. In other words, their will power appears to be too weak to overcome many strong temptations, even if they know that they will suffer as a consequence