In my previous post, I was writing about the association between our personality traits and the choice of academic major. Today, I would like to talk about which traits within the Big Fives are most likely to be linked with our well-being. In recent years, multiple aspects of well-being have been studied going beyond the stereotypical view that smiling and positive vibes are related to happiness. However, in the most recent study, researchers decided to find an answer to the question Which traits are most likely to be associated with well-being? In the scientific community, 11 dimensions of well-being have been systematically investigated based on three prominent models of well-being: Subjective Well-Being, Psychological Well-Being, and PERMA (P and N = Positive and Negative emotions, E = Engagement, R = Relationships, M = Meaning, A = Accomplishment and H = Health – although not part of the PERMA model itself, physical health and vitality is another important part of wellbeing). The 11 dimensions of well-being are as follows: high positive emotions, low negative emotions, life satisfaction, autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relations, self-acceptance, purpose and meaning in life, engagement in life, and accomplishment.
The researchers investigated 706 participants (medium age was 36 and 54% constituted female participants) analyzing the relationship between multiple aspects of well-being and the facets of personality dispositions within the Big Fives. The results showed that the following five traits out of ten within the Big Five are related to our well-being:
Enthusiasm independently predicted life satisfaction, positive emotions, less negative emotions, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relations, self-acceptance, purpose in life, engagement, positive relationships, meaning, and achievement.
Low Withdrawal predicted greater life satisfaction, positive emotions, and less negative emotions. Lower levels of withdrawal also predicted greater autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relationships, self-acceptance, meaning and purpose, relationships, and achievement.
Industriousness was correlated with life satisfaction, positive emotions, less negative emotions, and more autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relationships, self-acceptance, meaning and purpose, engagement, and achievement.
Compassion was correlated with more positive emotions, and more environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relationships, self-acceptance, meaning and purpose, engagement, and achievement.
Intellectual Curiosity predicted autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, self-acceptance, purpose, and accomplishment. Interestingly, intellectual curiosity was not predictive of the more ’emotional’ variables, such as life satisfaction, positive and negative emotions, positive relationships, and engagement with life.
Moreover, two traits were found to be limited predictors of well-being: Assertiveness and Creative Openness. Assertive individuals may be comfortable with boldly voicing their opinions if this helps them to attain rewards such as status, even to the possible detriment of other forms of adjustment. Both Creative Openness and Intellectual Curiosity had independent associations with personal growth and engagement. Therefore, while intellectual curiosity appears to be more widely predictive of well-being, creative openness is still a path to two key elements of well-being: personal growth and engagement.
These findings show that there are certain traits you can capitalize on more if you want to increase well-being in your life. There are multiple personal paths to well-being.
Source: Sun, J., Kaufman, S.B., & Smillie, L.D. (2016). Unique associations between Big Five personality aspects and multiple dimensions of well-being. Journal of Personality. Online http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jopy.12301/full