Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 829–843 | Cite as

Personality and Optimal Experience in Adolescence: Implications for Well-Being and Development

  • Marta BassiEmail author
  • Patrizia Steca
  • Dario Monzani
  • Andrea Greco
  • Antonella Delle Fave
Research Paper


Past research has repeatedly identified relations between optimal experience—or flow—and well-being across the lifespan. In the attempt to identify the conditions favoring this experience, some studies took into account personality traits. While most of them operationalized flow in terms of intensity, we presently focused on perceived occurrence versus absence of flow. Specifically, we investigated the relations between flow occurrence, hedonic and eudaimonic well-being, activities associated with flow, and personality in adolescence. A group of 408 Italian teenagers (mean age = 17.31; SD = 1.13) were administered Flow Questionnaire, Satisfaction with Life Scale, Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, Psychological Well-being Scales, and the Big Five Questionnaire. Participants reporting optimal experience in their lives were compared with those not reporting it. Results showed that adolescents experiencing flow reported higher satisfaction with life, hedonic balance, and psychological well-being than their counterparts. Findings from logistic regression analyses further showed that openness to experience was the sole personality factor predicting flow occurrence, and that no personality factors were predictive of type of activities adolescents associated with flow. Findings point to the promotion of optimal experience among adolescents through the support of curiosity and openness to new experiences in engaging opportunities for action. They further call for the development of an integrated model taking into account both individual predispositions and social and cultural factors in well-being promotion.


Optimal experience Personality Hedonic well-being Eudaimonic well-being Adolescence 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marta Bassi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Patrizia Steca
    • 2
  • Dario Monzani
    • 2
  • Andrea Greco
    • 2
  • Antonella Delle Fave
    • 3
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Cliniche Luigi SaccoUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di PsicologiaUniversità di Milano BicoccaMilanItaly
  3. 3.Dipartimento di Fisiopatologia Medico-Chirugica e dei TrapiantiUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly

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