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The Big Five Traits as Predictors of Subjective and Psychological Well-Being

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Abstract

Despite considerable research on personality and "hedonic" or subjective well-being, parallel research on "eudaimonic" or psychological well-being is scarce. The current study investigated the relationship between the Big Five traits and subjective and psychological well-being among 211 men and women. Results indicated that the relationship between personality factors and psychological well-being was stronger than the relationship between personality factors and subjective well-being. Extraversion, neuroticism, and conscientiousness correlated similarly with both subjective and psychological well-being, suggesting that these traits represent personality predispositions for general well-being. However, the personality correlates of the dimensions within each broad well-being type varied, suggesting that the relationship between personality and well-being is best modeled in terms of associations between specific traits and well-being dimensions.
Big Five Traits and Well-being
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Running head: BIG FIVE TRAITS AND WELL BEING
Copyright is retained by the publisher.
Citation: Grant, S., Langan-Fox, J., & Anglim, J. (2009). The big five traits as predictors of
subjective and psychological well-being 1.Psychological reports, 105(1), 205-231.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2466/pr0.105.1.205-231
The Big Five Traits as Predictors of Subjective and Psychological Well-Being
Sharon Grant
Janice Langan-Fox
Swinburne University of Technology
and
Jeromy Anglim
The University of Melbourne
Address correspondence to Dr. Sharon Grant, Senior Lecturer in Psychology,
Faculty of Higher Education, Swinburne University of Technology, Lilydale, Mail L100,
Locked Bag 218, Lilydale, Victoria 3140, Australia or e-mail (sgrant@swin.edu.au).
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Summary
Despite considerable research on personality and hedonic or subjective well-being,
parallel research on eudaimonic or psychological well-being is scarce. The current study
investigated the relationship between the Big Five traits and subjective and psychological
well-being among 211 men and women. Results indicated that the relationship between
personality and psychological well-being was stronger than the relationship between
personality and subjective well-being. Extraversion, neuroticism and conscientiousness
correlated similarly with both subjective and psychological well-being, suggesting that these
traits represent personality predispositions for a general level of well-being. However, the
personality correlates of dimensions within each broad well-being type varied, suggesting
that the relationship between personality and well-being is best modeled in terms of specific
trait-well-being dimension associations.
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Optimal psychological functioning or well-being is an important index of quality of
life at the individual and collective level (Siegrist, 2003). Well-being has been described as
an “unambiguously desirable psychological state” (Schmutte & Ryff, 1997, p.551), and
attaining a sense of well-being is an important goal for most people (Diener, Scollon, &
Lucas, 2004). In addition, well-being is associated with health and longevity (Danner,
Snowdon, & Friesen, 2001; Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2005), translating into economic
and social well-being (Siegrist, 2003). Accordingly, understanding individual differences in
well-being is an important research agenda for psychology.
Hedonic or subjective well-being has generally reigned as the gold standard in the
well-being literature; however, eudaimonic or psychological well-being, popularized in
humanistic psychology, is steadily gaining credibility in personality and social psychology
(McGregor & Little, 1998; Ryan & Deci, 2001; Ryff & Keyes, 1995). As such, well-being is
increasingly recognized as a multi-dimensional construct consisting of both hedonic and
eudaimonic dimensions (Ryan & Deci, 2001). Keyes Shmotkin, and Ryff (2002, p.1009)
described subjective and psychological well-being as “related but distinct aspects of positive
psychological functioning”.
While there has been considerable interest in the traits that predict subjective well-
being (see DeNeve & Cooper, 1998; Steel, Schmidt, & Schultz, 2008), parallel research on
psychological well-being has been scarce. Furthermore, previous studies have examined
subjective or psychological well-being dimensions separately (Keyes et al., 2002). An
important question is: Do personality traits relate to subjective well-being and psychological
well-being to the same extent and in the same way? Identifying the traits that are related to
subjective and psychological well-being is important in securing a complete understanding of
well-being as a construct. The current research aimed to investigate the relationship between
the Five Factor Model of personality and dimensions of subjective well-being (positive
affect, negative affect, satisfaction with life) and psychological well-being (autonomy,
personal growth, positive relations, purpose in life). According to the Five Factor Model,
much of the variance in personality can be accounted for by the five factors of extraversion,
neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness and openness (Costa & McCrae, 1992;
Goldberg, 1993; McCrae & John, 1992). These Big Five factors do not account for all
variability in personality, but provide an organizing framework for thinking about alternative
measures. To the extent that the Five Factor Model captures the basic dimensions of normal
personality, it should be useful in describing the structural relationship between personality
and well-being (Compton, 1998).
Defining Well-being
Subjective well-being is typically operationalized as the composite of happiness and
satisfaction, the affective and cognitive dimensions respectively (Deci & Ryan, 2006).
Happiness is often defined as an appropriate balance of positive and negative affect, and
satisfaction is usually defined in terms of global life satisfaction, although domain-specific
satisfaction might also be used, such as job satisfaction (Diener, Oishi, & Lucas, 2003). Thus,
subjective well-being is a three-dimensional construct consisting of the presence of positive
affect, the absence of negative affect, and life satisfaction (Diener, 1984; Lucas, Diener, &
Suh, 1996). This operationalization of subjective well-being has pervaded the literature and is
adopted in the present study.
Psychological well-being is needed as a construct because subjective well-being does
not capture all aspects of positive functioning (Ryan & Deci, 2001). Diener et al. (2003)
argued that subjective well-being is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the good
life. While subjective well-being focuses on pleasure, pain avoidance, and overall
satisfaction, psychological well-being is based on a broader approach which includes identity,
meaning, and relatedness (Ryff & Singer, 1996). Psychological well-being is about
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actualizing human potential and living well; “[it] is not so much an outcome or end state as it
is a process of fulfilling or realizing one’s daimon or true nature” (Deci & Ryan, 2006, p.2).
Building on the literature on adult development, clinical psychology, and mental
health, Ryff (1989) presented a multifaceted model of psychological well-being consisting of
six dimensions: autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relations,
purpose in life, and self-acceptance. Findings show that environmental mastery and self-
acceptance tend to correlate highly with dimensions of subjective well-being such as
happiness and life satisfaction, whereas autonomy, personal growth, positive relations, and
purpose in life tend to correlate only moderately with these dimensions (Compton, 1998;
McGregor & Little, 1998; Ryff & Keyes, 1995). For this reason and consistent with other
studies (e.g., McGregor & Little, 1998), environmental mastery and self-acceptance were not
included in the present study. Accordingly, discussion of psychological well-being herein
will focus on the remaining four dimensions: autonomy, personal growth, positive relations,
and purpose in life.
Autonomy is characterized by a sense of authority and self-determination; it involves
evaluating oneself according to self-imposed criteria rather than looking for social approval.
Personal growth is characterized by openness to new things and a sense of continued growth
and development. It is about making the most of one’s skills and striving to reach one’s full
potential by using self-knowledge to guide self-improvement. Positive relations involves
developing and maintaining warm and trusting relations with others, demonstrating a capacity
for affection, empathy and intimacy, and showing concern for others’ welfare. Finally,
purpose in life is about finding meaning and purpose in one’s past and present life, typically
through the realization of goals and objectives (for full definitions see Ryff, 1989).
Keyes et al. (2002) described psychological well-being as ‘challenged thriving’.
Studies have linked variation in the dimensions of psychological well-being to socio-
demographic variables such as age, gender, and education, as well as a range of life events
and other stressors, including achieving in the work domain, body consciousness, care giving,
community relocation, health and aging, marital status change, parenthood, personal projects,
and recovery from major illness (for a review see Keyes et al., 2002).
Researchers in favor of the hedonic approach have argued that subjective well-being
is a preferable construct to psychological well-being because it does not prescribe particular
pathways for achieving the “good life” (e.g., Diener, Sapyta, & Suh, 1998). Those in favour
of the eudaimonic approach have argued that the psychological well-being construct provides
a more complete definition of the “good life” (e.g., Ryff, 1989). Taking the middle ground,
others have suggested that factors represented by psychological well-being are universally
important for attaining subjective well-being. For example, Deci and Ryan’s (2000) Self-
Determination Theory proposes that satisfaction of the three basic psychological needs of
autonomy, competence, and relatedness is an important predictor of subjective well-being.
Similarly, Seligman (2002) described constructs that are closely related to psychological
well-being, such as engagement and meaning, as ‘routes’ to happiness.
Personality as a Determinant of Well-being
In general, theories of individual differences in well-being have taken either a
situational or dispositional approach (Heller, Watson, & Ilies, 2004). Within the situational
approach, contextual factors, such as life events, are theorized to cause well-being
independently of personality (Magnus, Diener, Fujita, & Payot, 1993). According to the
dispositional approach, certain traits predispose people to higher or lower well-being.
Personality may affect well-being either directlyindependently of life events, indirectly
via life events, or interactively with life events by moderating their effect on well-being, such
as through cognitive appraisal or coping (Bolger & Shilling, 1991; Bolger & Zuckerman,
1995; McCrae & Costa, 1991; Magnus et al., 1993).
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While early thinking on the determinants of well-being was dominated by the
situational approach, recently the literature has shifted to the dispositional approach, based on
evidence that well-being is relatively stable and thus more likely to reflect internal person
characteristics. Several studies support the dispositional approach. For instance, both
personality and well-being measures show strong correlations over time and have strong
genetic components. Bouchard and Loehlin’s (2001) work is cited as evidence that 50% of
variance in personality is inherited. Lykken and Tellegen (1996) concluded that around 50%
of well-being is inherited. More recently, researchers concluded that 80% of the stable
component of well-being was accounted for by genetics (Nes, Roysamb, Tambs, Harris, &
Reichborn-Kjennerud, 2006). A study of 973 twin pairs (Weiss, Bates, and Luciano, 2008)
found that a three-item measure of subjective well-being correlated .31 for monozygotic
twins, but only .10 for dyzigotic twins. Furthermore, while life events have been linked to
depression and other psychiatric symptoms, even major events have been found to exert little
effect on well-being (DeNeve & Cooper, 1998; Heller et al., 2004; for a dissenting view see
Diener, Lucas, & Scollon, 2006). One view is that adaptation to such events is so rapid that
well-being is not measurably affected. For instance, according to the Dynamic Equilibrium
Model (Headey & Wearing, 1989), each person has a moderately stable level of stress and
well-being which can be predicted on the basis of stable person characteristics, such as traits.
While positive or negative events are associated with a fluctuation in well-being, this effect is
transient because stable person characteristics ensure that the individual is quickly returned to
his or her set point.
Personality and Subjective Well-being
Early research emphasized extraversion as the primary determinant of subjective well-
being; however, recent work has identified neuroticism as the major determinant (see e.g.,
Bostic & Ptacek, 2001; DeNeve & Cooper, 1998; Hayes & Joseph, 2003; Vittersø, 2001;
Vittersø & Nilsen, 2002). As noted by Bostic and Ptacek (2001), neuroticism should correlate
strongly with subjective well-being given that it is defined by emotional instability. The
relationship of extraversion and neuroticism with subjective well-being may be a function of
genetically-influenced biological factors such as a neural approach-avoidance system
associated with affect. McCrae (1983) suggested that the state positive and negative affect
measures which make up part of subjective well-being should correlate strongly with the
corresponding personality trait measures of positive and negative affect. This would lead to
an expectation of strong correlations between extraversion and state positive affect and
neuroticism and state negative affect. However, positive affect is only one component of
extraversion, which also includes other important components such as activity and
sociability.
In contrast, the relationship of the other traits to subjective well-being may be a
function of environmental factors such as reinforcement (DeNeve & Cooper, 1998). For
instance, conscientiousness and agreeableness may enhance subjective well-being
instrumentally to the extent that these traits facilitate positive experience in the achievement
and social domains respectively (Hayes & Joseph, 2003; McCrae & Costa, 1991). Openness
could affect well-being indirectly via its effect on the subjective experience of events (Beck,
1975; Ellis & Grieger, 1977). Past research has shown that openness is positively related to
both positive and negative affect, suggesting that those who score high on openness
experience both good and bad events more intensely thus amplifying positive and negative
emotional reactions (Kling, Ryff, Love, & Essex, 2003; McCrae & Costa, 1991).
Comprehensive assessments of the correlations between personality and subjective
well-being come from the large-scale meta-analyses that have been conducted by DeNeve
and Cooper (1998) and Steel et al. (2008). The results of these studies are summarized in
Table 1. In general, neuroticism is negatively related to subjective well-being, while
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extraversion, conscientiousness, and agreeableness are positively related to subjective well-
being. Openness is positively correlated with both positive affect and negative affect.
DeNeve and Cooper (1998) examined relationships between 137 distinct personality
constructs, categorized in terms of the Five Factor Model, and subjective well-being. They
found moderate relationships between all of the Big Five factors and life satisfaction, with
particular emphasis on neuroticism and conscientiousness. Several variables showed
moderate relationships with positive affect, with extraversion showing the largest
relationship. Neuroticism had the largest correlation with negative affect.
Steel and colleagues (2008) argued that combining a wide range of personality
measures, as was done in DeNeve and Cooper (1998), may attenuate correlations between
personality and subjective well-being. They performed a separate meta-analysis based only
on the NEO-Personality Inventory and obtained meta-analytic correlations that were
substantially larger than those reported by DeNeve and Cooper (1998). Steel and colleagues
found that neuroticism had the highest correlation with life satisfaction and negative
affectivity, whereas extraversion had the highest correlation with positive affect.
[INSERT TABLE 1 ABOUT HERE]
The large differences in the results of the two meta-analyses suggest that the scale
used to measure the Big Five moderates the relationships with subjective well-being. Both
meta-analyses suggest that neuroticism is by far the strongest predictor of negative affect and
is also the strongest predictor of life satisfaction. In addition, both meta-analyses suggest that
extraversion is the strongest predictor of positive affect, but that the other four factors also
show meaningful correlations. The meta-analysis by Steel and colleagues seems a more
appropriate basis for assessing correlations between the Big Five and subjective well-being,
given that it is more recent and uses scales explicitly designed to measure these traits.
Personality and Psychological Well-being
Estimates of correlations between the Big Five and psychological well-being are
based on only a few empirical studies. These studies have found that correlations between
personality and psychological well-being differ from those found with subjective well-being.
Schmutte and Ryff (1997) examined the relationship between personality and psychological
well-being, controlling for source and measurement overlap in the affective and evaluative
content of items. In contrast to studies of subjective well-being, which have emphasized
extraversion and neuroticism, they found that psychological well-being was linked to all of
the Big Five factors. Furthermore, the pattern of correlations differed across the
psychological well-being dimensions. Consistent with the subjective well-being literature,
extraversion and neuroticism emerged as major correlates of psychological well-being.
However, conscientiousness, agreeableness and openness were also important correlates. In
particular, large correlations were observed between conscientiousness and purpose in life,
agreeableness and positive relations, and openness and personal growth. Table 1 summarizes
the correlations reported in Schmutte and Ryff (1997). Overall, the correlations suggest that
psychological well-being is more strongly related to the Big Five factors and than is
subjective well-being. Schmutte and Ryff (1997) concluded that the relationship between
personality and well-being is more complex than studies of subjective well-being have
suggested, and that the attainment of well-being is not limited to the ‘extraverted and non-
neurotic’. Nonetheless, there is a need to expand the number of studies reporting personality-
psychological well-being correlations in order to refine the estimates and assess the
relationship in differing research contexts.
Siegler and Brumment (2000) conducted a detailed analysis of the relationship
between personality and psychological well-being in a sample of 2,379 middle-aged adults,
focusing on the facets within each Big Five domain. Measures from the University of North
Carolina Alumni Heart Study were used to approximate Ryff’s (1989) psychological well-
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being scales. Focusing on the dimensions of interest in the current study, positive relations
was positively related to all facets of extraversion (r = .10 to .25) and openness (r = .07 to
.15), except excitement seeking and values respectively, and negatively related to all facets of
neuroticism (r = -.13 to -.20), except impulsiveness. In addition, positive relations correlated
positively with the conscientiousness facets of achievement striving, competence, and self-
discipline (r = .08 to .17) and the agreeableness facets of altruism, tender-mindedness, and
trust (r = .07 to .17). Purpose in life showed a stronger association with the facets overall,
correlating positively with all facets of extraversion (r = .07 to .34) and conscientiousness (r
= .09 to .27) and negatively with all facets of neuroticism (r = -.12 to -.43). In addition,
purpose in life was positively associated with the agreeableness facets of altruism,
compliance, and trust (r = .12 to .26). Measures of autonomy and personal growth were not
available.
The relationship between the Big Five and psychological well-being has also been
explored in factor analytic studies. Compton (1998) performed a principal components
analysis of mental health scales and the Big Five and found that autonomy and self-
actualization scales formed a factor separate from the Big Five. Compton concluded that
some mental health constructs may be distinct from the Big Five. van Dierendonck (2005)
conducted a second order factor analysis of the Big Five, the Ryff (1989) scales, and
measures of happiness, self-esteem, spiritual well-being, and vitality. Results suggested four
underlying dimensions of positive psychological health: subjective well-being, self-
actualization, interpersonal relations, and autonomy. The subjective well-being factor
included positive loadings for all the well-being scales except the spiritual well-being scales
and a negative loading for neuroticism. The self-actualization factor consisted of positive
loadings for personal growth, purpose in life, spiritual well-being, and conscientiousness. The
interpersonal relations factor included positive loadings for positive relations, extraversion
and agreeableness. The final factor, autonomy, included positive loadings for autonomy and
openness.
Other studies have examined the interaction and combined effects of the Big Five on
psychological well-being. Keyes et al. (2002) examined the relationship of Big Five to high-
low combinations of subjective and psychological well-being. They argued that personality
should contribute to the psychological differentiation of different well-being types. In support
of this hypothesis, they found that people who were low on both subjective and psychological
well-being had the highest average for neuroticism and the lowest average for extraversion
and conscientiousness. In contrast, those who were high on both subjective and psychological
well-being demonstrated the opposite trait profile. Openness distinguished between types
with high psychological well-being but low subjective well-being, and types with low
psychological well-being but high subjective well-being. More recently, Bardi and Ryff
(2007) examined the relationship between the Big Five and psychological well-being
following relocation. Neuroticism predicted lower post-move autonomy (β= -.13), personal
growth (β = -.09), positive relations (β = -.09), and purpose in life (β = -.12). In addition,
participants who were low on neuroticism and high on openness reported higher personal
growth late in the adjustment process.
Studies not situated within the Five Factor Model have reported associations between
psychological well-being and other variables including perfectionism and work personality.
Chang (2006) found that self-oriented perfectionism, which is likely to overlap with
conscientiousness, was positively related to personal growth and purpose in life. More
recently, Strauser, Lustig, and Ciftci (2008) examined the relationship between psychological
well-being and the Developmental Work Personality Scale (DWPS). The DWPS measures
peer/supervisor relations, timeliness, and on-task behavior, which might be expected to
overlap with the domains of extraversion and conscientiousness. They found that this scale
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correlated .35 with autonomy, .21 with personal growth, .35 with positive relations, and .43
with purpose in life.
Taken together, previous research suggests that all of the Big Five are related to
psychological well-being. Furthermore, particular pairs of personality and psychological
well-being variables have larger or more consistent correlations than other pairs: extraversion
with positive relations; conscientiousness with personal growth and purpose in life; openness
with personal growth. From a theoretical standpoint, extraversion and agreeableness may
facilitate positive relations through sociable behavior; conscientiousness may facilitate
personal growth and purpose in life through task-oriented behavior; and openness may
facilitate personal growth through experience seeking. In contrast, agreeableness might be
expected to inhibit autonomy.
Modeling the Relationship between Personality and Subjective and Psychological Well-being
In the current study, the relationship between personality and well-being was
examined using a structured model comparison approach. Nested models were compared
with the aim of answering the following research questions: (1) Does the size of the
relationship between personality and well-being differ for subjective well-being versus
psychological well-being? (2) Does the size of the relationship between personality and well-
being differ for particular personality traits? (3) Does the relationship between particular
personality traits and well-being differ for subjective well-being versus psychological well-
being? (4) Given a particular personality trait (e.g., neuroticism), is the relationship between
that trait larger for some well-being dimensions (e.g., negative affect) than for other well-
being dimensions? That is, is the relationship larger than the average personality-well-being
relationship for that trait? With regard to (4) it was hypothesized that neuroticism would
show a larger than average relationship with negative affect; extraversion would show a
larger than average relationship with positive affect and positive relations; conscientiousness
would show a larger than average relationship with personal growth and purpose in life;
agreeableness would show a larger than average relationship with autonomy and positive
relations; and openness would show a larger than average relationship with personal growth.
Method
The data were obtained as part of a larger study that examined the relationship
between personality and occupational health and well-being (see Grant and Langan-Fox,
2006, Grant & Langan-Fox, 2007; Langan-Fox & Grant, 2006). Data were collected on
demographics, personality, stressor exposure, coping, health, and well-being1. The current
study focuses on a subset of the variables from this data set. For this study, only the Big Five
and subjective and psychological well-being measures are reported. This subset of the data
has not been analyzed or reported previously.
Participants
The sample consisted of 88 male and 123 female middle-managers employed by a
leading Australian department store. The sample was drawn from 41 stores in a 50-store
target group, selected at the discretion of the organization, in four States predominantly
located along the Eastern seaboard of Australia. Nine stores declined to participate.
Participants were recruited via an in-house advertisement. Participation was voluntary and
there was no compensation. The proportion of the management team within each store that
participated varied due to availability on the day of data collection and stated preference not
to participate. The average within-store participation rate was 62%, with the sample
representing approximately 60% of the total managerial population in the 41 participating
stores. The age range of participants was 20 to 61 years (M = 35.91 years SD = 9.18).
Big Five Traits and Well-being
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Measures
(a) Personality
The Big Five traits were measured using the NEO-Five Factor Inventory Form S
(Costa & McCrae, 1992), an abridged, 60-item version of the Revised NEO Personality
Inventory, with 12 items per subscale. Participants rated their agreement with a series of
statements on a five-point scale, with anchors 1: strongly disagree and 5: strongly agree.
Sample items include: “I like to have a lot of people around me” (Extraversion subscale); “I
often feel inferior to others” (Neuroticism subscale); “I’m pretty good at pacing myself so as
to get things done on time (Conscientiousness subscale); “I often get into arguments with
my family and co-workers” [reverse scored] (Agreeableness subscale); and “I am intrigued
by the patterns I find in art and nature” (Openness subscale).
The NEO-FFI is one of the most widely used measures of the Big Five dimensions
and has excellent internal consistency, temporal stability, and construct validity (see Costa &
McCrae, 1992). Costa and McCrae (1992) reported internal consistency reliabilities
(Cronbach’s alpha) of .77, .86, .81, .68, and .73 for extraversion, neuroticism,
conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness respectively. Items are scored as follows: 1 =
0, 2 = 1, 3 = 2, 4 = 3, 5 = 4. Subscale scores were obtained by reverse scoring applicable
items and then summing the item scores for a given subscale and dividing by 12. Thus, the
possible range of scores for each subscale is 0 to 4.
(b) Well-being
(i) Subjective Well-being
Positive and negative affect were measured using the Positive and Negative Affectivity
Schedule with “past few weeks” time instructions (PANAS; Watson, Clark, & Tellegen,
1988). The PANAS is presented in the form of a 20-item adjective checklist. Examples of the
negative affect subscale items are: depressed, upset, and guilty. Examples of the positive
affect subscale items are: interested, excited, and strong’. Participants rated the extent to
which each adjective described how they had felt during the past few weeks using the
following scale: 1: very slightly or not at all, 2: a little, 3: moderately, 4: quite a bit, and 5:
extremely. Subscale scores were obtained by averaging the item scores for a given subscale.
Thus, the possible range of scores for each subscale is 1 to 5.
Watson et al. (1988) noted that the reliability of the PANAS is unaffected by the time-
frame used e.g., “how you feel in general”, “how you feel at the moment”, “how you felt
during the past few weeks. They found that internal consistency reliabilities (Cronbach’s
alpha) were within an acceptable range for both positive affect, .86 to .90, and negative
affect, .84 to .87. In addition, they reported a low, negative correlation between positive
affectivity and negative affectivity, regardless of the time-frame used, with each adjective
loading at .50 or above on the appropriate factor, thus supporting the factorial validity of the
measure. There is sound evidence for the external validity of the PANAS, with positive affect
and negative affect correlating significantly and predictably with the Hopkins Symptom
Checklist, the Beck Depression Inventory, and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Watson et
al., 1988).
Life satisfaction was measured with the five-item Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener,
Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985). Participants rated their agreement with a series of
statements on a 7-point scale, with anchors 1: strongly disagree and 7: strongly agree. A
sample item is: “In most ways my life is close to my ideal”. The overall score for life
satisfaction was obtained by averaging the ratings provided for each item in the scale. Thus
the possible score range was 1 to 7. Diener et al. (1985) reported a coefficient alpha of .87 for
the scale. In addition, all items loaded at .61 or above, with item-total correlations ranging
from .57 to .75, and a single factor accounting for 66% of the variance. Diener et al. (1985)
found that the scale correlated significantly and predictably with self-esteem, neuroticism,
Big Five Traits and Well-being
10
emotionality, activity, sociability, impulsivity, and a symptom checklist, and was
uncontaminated by social desirability.
(ii) Psychological Well-being
Autonomy, personal growth, positive relations and purpose in life were measured via
an abridged, 36-item version of the Scales of Psychological Well-being (SPWB, Ryff, 1989),
with 9 items per subscale. While the original version consists of 20 items per subscale, the
shortened version was used in the current study to minimize the burden on participants in an
already lengthy questionnaire battery. Participants rated their agreement with a series of
statements on a six-point scale, with anchors 1: strongly disagree and 6: strongly agree.
Sample items include: “I am not afraid to voice my opinions, even when they are in
opposition to the opinions of most other people” (Autonomy subscale); “I am not interested
in activities that will expand my horizons [reverse scored] (Personal Growth subscale);
“Most people see me as loving and affectionate” (Positive Relations subscale); and “I live life
one day at a time and don’t really think about the future” [reverse scored] (Purpose in Life
subscale). Subscale scores were obtained by reverse scoring applicable items and then
averaging the item scores for a given subscale. Thus, the possible range of scores for each
subscale is 1 to 6.
The 9-item scales are being employed as part of a longitudinal study being carried out
by Ryff, therefore full details regarding the psychometric properties of the scales are not
currently available. van Dierendonck (2005) compared the psychometric properties of the
three-, 9- and 14-item subscales across two studies. Internal consistencies for the 9-item
scales for the two studies respectively were as follows: autonomy .78 and .69, environmental
mastery .77 and .71, personal growth .65 and .69, positive relations .77 for both studies,
purpose in life .73 and .65, and self-acceptance .83 and .61. Ryff and Singer (2006) noted that
van Dierendonck’s (2005) findings are perplexing: internal consistencies were acceptable for
the 9-item and 14-item scales but not the 3 item-scales, and construct validity was acceptable
for the three-item scales but not the longer scales. They pointed out that several confirmatory
factor analyses of the SPWB have supported the theory-guided six factor model, thus
confirming its construct validity. Biological, psychological and socio-demographic correlates
also support the distinctiveness among the six scales (see Ryff & Singer, 2006, 2008). The
psychometric properties of the scales within the context of the current study are reported in
the Results section below.
Procedure
Data collection was conducted on a group basis over a one- to three-day period within
each State. Data collection sessions were conducted by the first or second author or a
postgraduate research assistant. All critical instruments were administered according to
standardized, published instructions and completed using paper and pencil. Participants
completed the measures over a two-hour period at a centralized location such as a conference
room. Participants unable to attend a group session were visited at their workplace and
completed the measures under the supervision of the researcher. Data collection for the
different States was scheduled as close together as possible to ensure that there was no
‘history’ effect. The study was conducted in accordance with the principles for the ethical
treatment of human subjects as approved by the University of Melbourne Human Research
Ethics Committee. Prior to the commencement of data collection, participants were provided
with an outline of the study in plain language, which was read aloud by the researcher and
provided in writing. Those who wished to participate then signed a consent form. It was
emphasized that all data provided would be anonymous and confidential, and that results
would be reported on an aggregated basis only.
Big Five Traits and Well-being
11
Results
Preliminary Analyses
(a) Data Screening
Initial data screening revealed minimal missing data. A small number of participants
(<5%) omitted the occasional item. Values for these missing items were estimated by taking
the average of the remaining items in the applicable subscale and substituting this score.
Intra-class correlation coefficients (see Snijders & Bosker, 1999) indicated that there was no
‘store effect’ in the data, confirming that it could be pooled across stores without violating the
assumption of independence of observations.
The presence of outliers was assessed by examining Mahalanobis’ Distance (MD) on
the three subjective well-being scales and the four psychological well-being scales. Raw data
for cases with the most extreme values of MD were examined. Cases identified using this
process tended to be high on neuroticism and negative affect and lower on the remaining
well-being variables. These cases were not deleted for two reasons. First, removal of the five
cases with the largest MD values had almost no impact on the resulting correlation matrix.
Second, the well-being scales used are typically skewed with most participants reporting that
well-being varies between “slightly satisfied” and “very satisfied” (Diener, Suh, Lucas, &
Smith, 1999, p. 286).
(b) Factor Analysis of Personality and Well-being Scales
An exploratory factor analysis using Maximum Likelihood Extraction, Promax
rotation, and extracting five factors supported the theorized factor structure of the NEO-FFI.
Fifty-seven out of 60 items loaded highest with other items from their theorized scale.
An exploratory factor analysis using Maximum Likelihood Extraction, Promax
rotation on the positive and negative affectivity items, life satisfaction items, and items from
the four psychological well-being scales supported the theorized grouping of the items,
particularly for the positive and negative affect and life satisfaction scales. When 8 factors
were extracted, positive relations items were split into two items sets; one focused on having
friends and positive relationships, the other focused on others perceiving oneself as a good
person. When extracting 8 factors, only three of 61 items did not load maximally on the
desired grouping. Note that when 7 factors were extracted, personal growth and purpose in
life items loaded on the same factor. Given the good convergence with theorized loadings and
the aim of making the data comparable with prior research, all subjective well-being and
psychological well-being subscales were computed using all original items.
An exploratory factor analysis did not support the split of scales into subjective well-
being and psychological well-being scales. Nonetheless on theoretical grounds, analyses
focused on comparing the relationship between personality and well-being across the two
broad types of well-being dimensions.
Descriptive Statistics and Correlations
[INSERT TABLE 2 ABOUT HERE]
Descriptive statistics and correlations between age, gender, personality and well-being
variables are shown in Table 2. Negative affect was positively skewed reflecting the fact that
most people do not report much negative affectivity. Although an inverse transformation
would have made the variable more normally distributed, data analysis was performed on the
original variable because correlations with the other scales were not substantially changed by
transformation and the original scale preserves the meaning of the scale’s metric. All factors
except for agreeableness had internal consistency reliability above .702.
In general, the well-being variables showed a moderate, positive correlation with
extraversion and conscientiousness, and a moderate to strong, negative correlation with
neuroticism. Extraversion correlated more strongly with positive affect than negative affect,
and neuroticism correlated more strongly with negative affect than positive affect. The
Big Five Traits and Well-being
12
average absolute correlation with positive affect and negative affect is higher for neuroticism
than for extraversion. Conscientiousness showed a moderate correlation with both positive
and negative affect. Positive affect and negative affect only correlated to a small extent with
each other. Neuroticism showed a moderate, negative correlation with life satisfaction while
extraversion and conscientiousness were weakly, positively correlated with this dimension.
Agreeableness showed a weak, negative correlation with negative affect and a weak, positive
correlation with life satisfaction. Openness was unrelated to the subjective well-being
dimensions. Across the psychological well-being dimensions, extraversion showed larger
than average correlations with personal growth and positive relations. Larger than average
correlations were also observed for: neuroticism and autonomy, conscientiousness and
personal growth, agreeableness and positive relations, and openness and purpose in life.
Model Testing
Structural Equation Modeling was conducted on the Big Five traits, the three
subjective well-being measures, and the four psychological well-being measures. Analyses
were performed on the individual scales. We adopted a sequential model testing approach,
which involved first testing simple models and then progressively incorporating proposed
theoretical pathways. The model development and testing process was confirmatory. In
assessing model fit, chi-square, degrees of freedom, RMSEA, CFI and SRMR are reported.
Hu and Bentler (1999) suggested that models that meet the following criteria are likely to
have good fit: CFI > .95, SRMR < .08, and RMSEA < .06. Nested models were compared
using the Chi-square difference test.
Table 3 presents the model fit information. The correlation matrix is based on the five
personality variables, and the three subjective and four psychological well-being variables.
Before computing the correlation matrix, negative affectivity and neuroticism were reversed.
This allowed us to set meaningful equality constraints on the correlation matrix where
required (see below), rather than specifying that the relationship for these variables was equal
in magnitude but opposite in sign.
[INSERT TABLE 3 ABOUT HERE]
Model 1 reports the results for the null model, where the correlations between all
variables (i.e., the Big Five, the three subjective well-being dimensions and the four
psychological well-being dimensions) were constrained to zero. In Model 2, the correlations
between all variables were constrained to be equal (the correlation was estimated to be 0.26).
Model 2 was a significant improvement over Model 1 (χ2 = 413, df = 1, p <.001). In Model 3,
all correlations between the personality variables were free to vary, all correlations between
the well-being variables were free to vary, and all correlations between the personality and
well-being variables were constrained to be equal. In this model, the correlation between
personality and well-being variables was estimated to be 0.26. While Model 3 was a
significant improvement over Model 2 (χ2 = 102, df = 31, p <.001), the purpose of Model 3
was to provide a frame of reference for assessing subsequent models, focusing on the
relationship between personality and well-being.
Model 4 examined the theoretical question of whether the size of the relationship
between personality and well-being differs for subjective versus psychological well-being. In
Model 4, all correlations between personality variables were free to vary, all correlations
between the well-being variables were free to vary, all correlations between the personality
and subjective well-being variables were constrained to be equal, and all correlations between
the personality and psychological well-being variables were constrained to be equal. The
correlation between personality and subjective well-being was estimated to be 0.23 and the
correlation between personality and psychological well-being was estimated to 0.28. This
model was a significant improvement over Model 3 2 = 4.625, df = 1, p =.03).
Big Five Traits and Well-being
13
Building on Model 3, Model 5 examined the theoretical question of whether the size
of the relationship between personality and well-being differed for particular personality
traits. In this model, all correlations between the personality variables were free to vary, all
correlations between the well-being variables were free to vary and, for a given trait, all
correlations between that trait and the well-being variables were constrained to be equal. That
is, all correlations between neuroticism and the seven well-being variables were constrained
to be equal, all correlations between extraversion and the well-being variables were
constrained to be equal, and so on for conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness. The
estimated correlations indicated that neuroticism showed the largest relationship with well-
being (r = .44), followed by extraversion (r = .31) and conscientiousness (r = .29), and then
openness (r =.12) and agreeableness (r =.11). The model resulted in a large and significant
improvement in fit relative to Model 3 2 =127, df = 4, p <.001).
Model 6 addressed the third theoretical question of whether the relationship between
particular personality traits and well-being differs for subjective well-being versus
psychological well-being. Again, correlations between the personality variables were free to
vary and correlations between the well-being variables were free to vary. However, for a
given trait, the correlations between the trait and the subjective well-being variables were
constrained to be equal, and the correlations between the trait and the psychological well-
being variables were constrained to be equal, e.g., all correlations between neuroticism and
the subjective well-being variables were constrained to be equal and all correlations between
neuroticism and the psychological well-being variables were constrained to be equal.
Allowing the model to have this additional freedom resulted in a small and statistically
significant improvement in fit over Model 5 (χ2 =17, df = 5, p = .004). The estimated
correlations for each trait for subjective and psychological well-being respectively were:
extraversion r = .27 and .35; neuroticism r = .44 and .43; conscientiousness r = .26 and .32;
agreeableness r = .15 and .07; and openness r = .05 and .18.
Model 7 addressed the final research question of whether particular pairs of
personality and well-being variables show larger than average correlations. Model 5 indicates
that the size of the relationship between personality and well-being differs for particular
personality traits. Model 7 is based on Model 5, but includes 8 additional relationships for
particular pairs of personality and well-being variables that were theorized to have larger
correlations than the average trait-well-being correlations given in Model 5. This model
demonstrated a large and statistically significant improvement in fit relative to Model 5 2 =
71, df = 8, p<.001). Model 7 was also the first model in the set to show good fit statistics,
relative to conventional rules of thumb. While Model 7 is not nested within Model 6, it does
show substantially superior fit statistics (e.g., CFI = .97 versus .89 for Model 6), while only
using three more degrees of freedom. To understand the superior fit of Model 7 it is useful to
look at the general and specific well-being correlations for each personality variable:
extraversion (general well-being r = .26; positive affect r = .35; positive relations r = .47),
neuroticism (general well-being r = .42; negative affect r = .55), conscientiousness (general
well-being r = .28; personal growth r = .28; purpose in life r = .45), agreeableness (general
well-being r = .15; autonomy r = -.09; positive relations r = .19) , openness (general well-
being r =.08; personal growth r = .39). Note that the general or average well-being
correlations in Model 7 represent the average of all relationships for a given trait excluding
those that were free to vary (therefore, these correlations differ slightly from those cited for
Model 5). Six of the 8 theorized correlations differed from the relationship between the
personality trait and the general well-being dimension in the hypothesized direction. The
exceptions were conscientiousness and personal growth, and agreeableness and autonomy.
Big Five Traits and Well-being
14
Discussion
Despite considerable interest in the personality traits that predict subjective well-
being, parallel research on psychological well-being has been scarce. This is problematic
given the multi-faceted nature of well-being and the possibility that different well-being
dimensions may correlate with different traits. Accordingly, the current research investigated
the relationship between the Big Five and dimensions of both subjective well-being (positive
affect, negative affect, satisfaction with life) and psychological well-being (autonomy,
personal growth, positive relations, purpose in life).
Our broad research question was as follows: Does personality relate to subjective
well-being and psychological well-being to the same extent and in the same way? To address
this question, we (1) compared the size of the overall personality-well-being relationship for
subjective versus psychological well-being; (2) compared the size of the personality-well-
being relationship for different personality traits; (3) compared the size of the personality-
subjective well-being relationship with the size of the personality-psychological well-being
relationship for particular personality traits; and (4) examined pair-wise relationships between
particular traits and well-being dimensions.
Considering all personality traits and all well-being dimensions together, the overall
relationship between personality and well-being was larger for psychological well-being than
for subjective well-being. The overall personality-psychological well-being relationship was
moderate suggesting that, at a general level at least, a dispositional model is a better fit for
this aspect of well-being than for subjective well-being. However, an alternative explanation
for these findings can be found in the contrasting format of subjective and psychological
well-being measures. As observed by Steel et al. (2008), subjective well-being measures
require respondents to relate item content to varying time frames. For example, the affective
component of subjective well-being, measured with the PANAS (Watson et al., 1988),
concerns emotions experienced in recent weeks or months, thus representing a state. On the
other hand the cognitive component of subjective well-being, measured with the SWLS
(Diener et al., 1985), concerns long-term appraisal (e.g., “If I could live my life over, I would
change almost nothing”). In contrast, all components of psychological well-being, measured
with the SPWB (Ryff, 1989), concern general or long-term appraisal (e.g., “When I think
about it, I haven't really improved much as a person over the years”). All else being equal,
scales that concern appraisal over a longer timeframe should be more stable over time and
should thus correlate more strongly with personality at a general level.
Considering the Big Five traits individually, we found that neuroticism showed a
similar relationship to subjective well-being and psychological well-being; agreeableness
showed a stronger relationship with subjective well-being than with psychological well-
being; and openness showed a stronger relationship with psychological well-being than with
subjective well-being. Extraversion and conscientiousness showed a slightly stronger
relationship with psychological well-being. Taken together, these findings imply a more
complex picture of the personality-well-being relationship. For three of the Big Five
extraversion, neuroticism, and conscientiousnessrelationships with subjective versus
psychological well-being were not very different, suggesting that these traits represent
personality predispositions for a general level of well-being. Neuroticism was the strongest
correlate for both aspects of well-being, with almost identical correlations for subjective and
psychological well-being. Extraversion and conscientiousness shared highly similar
correlations for both subjective well-being (.27 and .26 respectively) and psychological well-
being (.35 and .32 respectively), with the latter being slightly stronger. All three traits were
moderately correlated with subjective and psychological well-being. An examination of the
overall relationship between the personality traits and well-being revealed that neuroticism
Big Five Traits and Well-being
15
showed the largest relationship with well-being, followed by extraversion, conscientiousness,
openness and agreeableness in that order.
Examination of the pair-wise relationships between particular personality traits and
well-being dimensions contributed information over and above that obtained from modeling
general trait-well-being relationships. As expected, positive affect and negative affect showed
larger than average correlations with extraversion and neuroticism respectively; personal
growth showed a larger than average correlation with openness; positive relations showed
larger than average correlations with extraversion and agreeableness; and purpose in life
showed larger than average correlations with conscientiousness. Contrary to our predictions,
relationships between autonomy and agreeableness and personal growth and
conscientiousness were not larger than average. Modeling the relationship between
personality and well-being in this way resulted in superior model fit, suggesting that the
relationship between personality and well-being is best modeled at the level of individual
trait-well-being dimension associations. In other words, the results suggest that the key
dispositional influences on well-being vary, depending on the well-being dimension.
An alternative explanation is that some of these relationships reflect construct overlap.
According to Diener and Lucas (1999), to argue that negative affect and neuroticism are
correlated is tautological as these variables essentially represent the same concept. In a
similar vein, Hills and Argyle (2001) found that the pattern of correlations between
extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness and the Depression-Happiness Scale, the Oxford
Happiness Inventory, and the Satisfaction with Life Scale seemed to reflect construct overlap.
Neuroticism was consistently related to subjective well-being, but was strongly related to
depression. In contrast, conscientiousness was related to life satisfaction, while well-being
measures that included sociability items showed stronger correlations with extraversion. We
might also expect to find construct overlap between certain items on the SPWB and the Big
Five. For example, the purpose in life item “I am an active person in carrying out the plans I
set for myself” strongly resembles NEO-FFI items from the conscientiousness domain.
Likewise, some agreeableness and positive relations items and some openness and personal
growth items are comparable (van Dierendonck, 2005).
In summary, the current study suggests that there are similarities and differences in
the personality-well-being relationship across subjective and psychological well-being
dimensions. Overall, the personality-well-being relationship was stronger for psychological
well-being than for subjective well-being. Extraversion, neuroticism and conscientiousness
related similarly to subjective and psychological well-being. Agreeableness showed a
stronger relationship with subjective well-being, while openness showed a stronger
relationship with psychological well-being. Our results echo Schmutte and Ryff’s (1997)
argument that the assumption that well-being is only accessible to the ‘non-neurotic and
extraverted’ is an oversimplification. The personality correlates of the dimensions within
each broad type of well-being varied, suggesting that the personality-well-being relationship
is best modeled in terms of specific trait-well-being dimension associations. The findings
have implications for current thinking regarding the personality-well-being relationship.
Big Five Traits and Well-being
16
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being, neuroticism, and extraversion: once again, neuroticism is the important
predictor of happiness. Social Indicators Research, 57, 89-118.
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and Social Psychology, 54, 1063-1070.
Weiss, A., Bates, T. C., & Luciano, M. (2008). Happiness is a personal(ity) thing: the
genetics of personality and well-being in a representative sample. Psychological
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Big Five Traits and Well-being
20
Footnotes
1The full questionnaire battery consisted of a demographic information questionnaire; the
Positive and Negative Affectivity Schedule with “past few weeks” time instructions (Watson
et al., 1988); the Thematic Apperception Test (McClelland, 1985; Smith, 1992); the Social
Readjustment Rating Scale (Holmes & Rahe, 1967); the Daily Hassles and Uplifts Scale
(DeLongis, Folkman, & Lazarus, 1988); social support scales (adapted from Caplan, Cobb,
French, van Harrison, & Pinneau, 1980); the Scales of Psychological Well-being (SPWB;
Ryff, 1989); the PANAS with “general” time instructions; motive self-ratings (locally-
developed); the NEO-Five Factor Inventory From S (Costa & McCrae, 1992); the Work
Locus of Control Scale (Spector, 1988); the Revised Jenkins Activity Survey (Spence,
Helmreich, & Pred, 1987); the Life Orientation Test-Revised (Scheier, Carver, & Bridges,
1994); measures of goals and goal attributes (locally-developed); the Satisfaction with Life
Scale (Diener et al., 1985); the Achievement and Affiliation subscales of the Jackson
Personality Research Form E (Jackson, 1984); the Personal Reactions Index (Bennett, 1988);
the Occupational Stress Indicator (OSI) Mental Health, Physical Health and Job Satisfaction
Scales (Cooper, Sloan, & Williams, 1988); Measures of Subjective Work Environment Stress
(Caplan et al., 1980); measures of stress (locally-developed); and the Brief COPE Inventory
(Carver, 1997) completed in that order.
2To check for nonlinear relationships between age and other variables the R-square change of
entering the square root of age (i.e., quadratic effect) as a predictor over and above entering
age (i.e., linear effect) on its own was examined. Although it would not be statistically
significant if a Bonferroni correction was made for the 12 scales on which the analysis was
performed, there was a small non-linear relationship between age and neuroticism (adj-r2
(linear) = .007; adj-r2 (linear and quadratic) = .011; r2Δ p=.02). Examination of the scatter
plot suggested a subtle U-shape in the data with participants around the age of 40 having the
lowest levels of neuroticism with levels tending to increase for participants under 30 and over
50.
Big Five Traits and Well-being
21
Table 1.
Correlation Estimates from the Literature: Big Five with Subjective and Psychological Well-being
Factor
Source
N
E
A
C
Average absolute r
Positive Affect
Steel, Schmidt, & Shultz (2008)a
-.30
.44
.12
.27
.27
Positive Affect
DeNeve & Cooper (1998)
-.14
.20
.17
.14
.16
Negative Affect
Steel, Schmidt, & Shultz (2008)a
.54
-.18
-.20
-.20
.23
Negative Affect
DeNeve & Cooper (1998)
.23
-.07
-.13
-.10
.12
Life Satisfaction
Steel, Schmidt, & Shultz (2008)a
-.38
.28
.14
.22
.21
Life Satisfaction
DeNeve & Cooper (1998)
-.24
.17
.16
.22
.19
Purpose in Life
Schmutte & Ryff (1997)b
-.54
.38
.28
.54
.38
Personal Growth
Schmutte & Ryff (1997)b
-.20
.43
.32
.31
.34
Positive Relations
Schmutte & Ryff (1997)b
-.45
.44
.52
.38
.37
Autonomy
Schmutte & Ryff (1997)b
-.48
.24
.14
.39
.28
a Meta-analysis using NEO only
b Correlations obtained using self-report measures (N=215)
Big Five Traits and Well-being
22
Table 2.
Descriptive Statistics and Correlations
Mean
SD
Alpha
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
1
Sex
N/A
N/A
N/A
2
Age
35.91
9.18
N/A
-.01
3
PANAS: Positive Affectivity (1-5)
3.48
0.62
.88
.07
.06
4
PANAS: Negative Affectivity (1-5)
1.67
0.53
.81
-.12
.00
-.25
5
Satisfaction with Life (1-7)
4.81
1.25
.88
.09
-.01
.28
-.33
6
PWB: Autonomy (1-6)
4.35
0.68
.74
-.07
.01
.17
-.33
.22
7
PWB: Personal Growth (1-6)
5.09
0.6
.75
.13
-.20
.27
-.21
.14
.40
8
PWB: Positive Relations (1-6)
4.84
0.74
.80
.25
-.03
.28
-.34
.34
.21
.34
9
PWB: Purpose in Life (1-6)
4.84
0.68
.74
.18
-.07
.35
-.42
.33
.37
.52
.39
10
NEO: Extraversion (0-4)
2.65
0.47
.76
.26
-.15
.37
-.22
.22
.15
.43
.48
.33
11
NEO: Neuroticism (0-4)
1.34
0.59
.84
.07
-.09
-.38
.56
-.36
-.56
-.32
-.39
-.44
-.26
12
NEO: Conscientiousness (0-4)
2.89
0.48
.81
.10
.11
.33
-.30
.21
.28
.25
.31
.45
.16
-.37
13
NEO: Agreeableness (0-4)
2.81
0.4
.67
.25
.05
.12
-.23
.16
-.07
.05
.20
.11
.24
-.26
.21
14
NEO: Openness (0-4)
2.31
0.52
.72
.11
-.14
.06
.03
.04
.13
.40
.15
.08
.22
-.06
-.05
-.03
Note: N = 211; r > |.14| are significant at α =.05; r > |.18| are significant at α = .01. Sex is coded such that 0 = male, 1 = female.
Big Five Traits and Well-being
23
Table 3.
Model Fit Statistics for Structural Equation Models
Model
Description
χ2
df
RMSEA
(90% CI)
CFI
SRMR
1
Null Model: Correlation between all variables constrained to zero.
724.607
78
.199+
.018
.273
2
Correlation between all variables constrained to be equal.
311.813
77
.121+
.643
.131
3
Correlations between personality variables free to vary.
Correlations between well-being variables free to vary.
Correlations between personality and well-being variables constrained to be equal.
209.809
46
.130+
.751
.113
4
Does the size of the personality-well-being relationship differ for subjective well-being versus psychological well-
being? (Nested in Model 3)
Correlations between personality variables free to vary.
Correlations between well-being variables free to vary.
Correlations between personality and subjective well-being variables constrained to be equal.
Correlations between personality and psychological well-being variables constrained to be equal.
205.184
45
.130
(112 - .149)
.757
.112
5
Does the size of the personality-well-being relationship differ for particular personality traits? (Nested in Model 3)
Correlations between personality variables free to vary.
Correlations between well-being variables free to vary.
For each trait, all correlations between that trait and the well-being variables were constrained to be equal.
126.752
42
.098
(.079 - .118)
.871
.07
6
Does the relationship between particular personality traits and well-being differ for subjective well-being versus
psychological well-being? (Nested in Model 5)
Correlations between personality variables free to vary.
Correlations between well-being variables free to vary.
For each trait, all correlations between that trait and the subjective well-being variables were constrained to be equal.
For each trait, all correlations between that trait and the psychological well-being variables were constrained to be
equal.
109.621
37
.097
(.076 - .118)
.890
.063
7
For a particular personality trait, is the relationship between that trait and specific well-being dimensions larger than
the average personality-well-being relationship for that trait? (Nested in Model 5)
Correlations between personality variables free to vary
Correlations between well-being variables free to vary
The following personality and well-being variable correlations were free to vary:
55.767
34
.055
(.027 - .080)
.967
.048
Big Five Traits and Well-being
24
E with PA and PRELNS, N with NA, C with PGROWTH and PLIFE, A with AUTO and PRELNS, O with
PGROWTH
For each trait, all remaining correlations between that trait and the well-being variables were constrained to be equal.
Note. NA and Neuroticism were reversed; N = 211
+ No estimates of RMSEA confidence intervals were available for these models.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has posed significant burden across different industrial sectors. Generally, an increase in psychological stress experiences has been reported, while the stress and coping responses of specific, potentially burdened populations have received less attention thus far. Thus, the present study investigated relations between individual (i.e., extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness) and organizational (i.e., organizational commitment and study satisfaction) factors, indicators of psychological health (i.e., loneliness, life satisfaction, COVID-19-related stress), and possible mediating effects of four broad coping dimensions (active coping, avoidant coping, social support, positive cognitive restructuring) in a specific sample of soldier students who engage in a double-role being military affiliates and students of non-military subjects. To this end, we assessed data of soldier students at two measurement points (N = 106 at t 1 and N = 63 at t 2) shortly after the second national lockdown in Germany (20. May 2021 to 11. July 2021) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Personality traits showed expected associations with indicators of psychological health, i.e., positive relations between neuroticism and social loneliness, between extraversion and COVID-19 stress, and negative relations between neuroticism and life satisfaction. Remarkably, organizational variables showed effects above and beyond personality traits on loneliness and life satisfaction. Neither individual, nor organizational factors could predict change in psychological health over time. We found evidence for mediation effects through active coping, avoidant coping, and the use of social support, but not through positive cognitive restructuring. Findings highlight the relative importance of organizational factors besides personality traits for psychological health in a military student sample, holding important implications for designing efficient support systems in the military.
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