Associations between Mental Well-being and Personality from a Life Span Perspective
Empirical studies show that personality traits and mental well-being are associated in adulthood. On the basis of a meta-analysis of 197 samples, DeNeve and Cooper (1998) concluded that personality traits explained about 4 per cent of the variance of emotional well-being. Of the Big Five personality traits, neuroticism was the most consistently associated with emotional well-being: it contributed to low life satisfaction and happiness and to high negative affectivity. More recently, Steel, Schmidt, and Shultz (2008) found in their meta-analysis of 347 samples that the role of the Big Five personality traits in emotional well-being is even more important: 40 to 60 per cent of the variance of emotional well-being was explained by personality traits. In line with DeNeve and Cooper’s observations, neuroticism was the trait mostly highly — negatively — linked to different components of emotional well-being, such as happiness, life satisfaction, affectivity, and quality of life. Extraversion was also (positively) associated with emotional well-being, in particular with happiness, life satisfaction, and positive affect. The remaining three personality traits — conscientiousness, openness, and agreeableness — also had some significant associations with specific components of emotional well-being. Steel et al. propose that the different weight given to personality traits as predictors of emotional well-being in the two meta-analyses can be explained by differences in ways of classifying the personality traits and well-being.
KeywordsLife Satisfaction Personality Trait Behavioural Activity Developmental Trajectory Trajectory Group
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