Understanding the Links Between Personality and Happiness

Understanding the Links Between Personality and Happiness

via Psychology Today by Luke Smilie

Scholars have long asserted that well-being is the ultimate end-goal of virtually every human endeavour. If this is even partly true, then identifying the factors that influence well-being is an important mission for psychological science. And one factor that seems to be very important for well-being is personality.

The links between personality and well-being

Forty years ago, two traits from the Big Five personality framework were identified as of particular importance for well-being: These were extraversion (the tendency to be bold, assertive, outgoing, talkative, gregarious, and enthusiastic) and neuroticism (the tendency to experience anxiety, irritability, and various other negative emotions). Extraversion predicted higher well-being whereas 10 years later, suggesting that personality has a sustained impact on happiness over time. 

Over the next 30 years, dozens and then hundreds of studies were conducted into the links between personality and well-being. Although early studies focused on different sets of traits and measures, making their findings difficult to compare, researchers gradually shifted to the common currency of the Big Five traits. Then, in 2008, researchers published a comprehensive meta-analysis of this literature. Focusing on one of the most widely used measures of the Big Five, they discovered that the links between personality and well-being were even more robust than previously thought. Again, the two strongest predictors of well-being were extraversion (positively) and neuroticism (negatively). 
Recently, we saw the need for an updated meta-analysis of the links between personality and well-being. Many more studies had been conducted over the last decade, so it was an open question whether the conclusions of the previous meta-analysis would still hold up. We also wanted to provide a more nuanced understanding of these associations, by widening the focus beyond the Big Five and including a broader set of well-being measures.

Our resultant meta-analysis combined findings from 465 datasets, representing over 300,000 individual participants. To this we added four new datasets comprising nearly 4,000 participants. This was arguably the most thorough examination of the links between personality and well-being ever conducted. 

The results of our meta-analysis suggested that the links between personality and well-being are robust and reproducible. Indeed, our estimates of the associations between personality and well-being were almost perfectly correlated with those obtained in 2008 (r = .99!). Once again, Big Five extraversion and neuroticism emerged as the strongest predictors of well-being. Amid the gloom and uncertainty of psychology’s replication crisis it was startling to behold such rock-solid findings. 

We also made some new discoveries: First, when one considers a broader set of well-being measures, all of the Big Five traits have strong links with at least one aspect of well-being. For example, although openness to experience (the tendency to be curious, creative, intellectual, and artistic) was the weakest Big Five predictor of well-being overall, it was the strongest predictor of a specific aspect of well-being concerned with personal growth (i.e., experiencing one’s life as filled with opportunities for learning and self-development)…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE

#happiness #psychology #positivepsychology #personality #wellbeing