Motivation and emotion/Book/2017/Personality and happiness

From Wikiversity
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Personality and happiness:
What is the relationship between personality and happiness?

Overview[edit | edit source]

Personality factors such as extraversion and neuroticism have significant effects, both positive and negative, on an individual's level of happiness. These factors are part of "The Big Five" personality factors. By understanding the relationship between personality and happiness we can address issues, for example depression and anxiety, that are often caused by introversion or neuroticism. This is important as once we have an understanding of how two things relate to each other, in this case personality and happiness, we can begin to identify solutions for the negative effects, and ways to increase the positive effects of this relationship.

Key questions:

  • What is the relationship between personality and happiness?
  • What is personality?
  • What is happiness?
  • Why is it relevant?

Personality[edit | edit source]

[Provide more detail]

What is personality?[edit | edit source]

Personality is defined by Larsen and Buss (2010), as cited in Mayer (2015) as "the set of psychological traits and mechanisms within the individual that are organized and relatively enduring and that influence his or her interactions with, and adaptations to, the intrapsychic, physical, and social environments." There are 5 personality factors known as "The Big Five", these factors are, extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness to experience. These factors are important in determining the relationship between personality and happiness.

The Big Five[edit | edit source]

The Big Five (Kirkpatrick, 2015)
Factor Definition Associated with happiness?
Extraversion the degree to which an individual is sociable, cheerful, and active Yes[factual?]
Neuroticism an individual's experience of negative emotions No[factual?]
Conscientiousness the extent to which an individual will work hard, have order, and is self-disciplined Yes
Agreeableness a person's friendliness and compliance Yes[factual?]
Openness to experience the extent to which one is artistic, imaginative, and has intellectual interests Yes[factual?]

The Big Five factors are used alongside the Subjective Happiness Scale by Aziz, Mustaffa, Samah, and Yusof (2014) as a tool to relate personality to happiness.

  • Extraversion and neuroticism are widely researched and are important factors in determining the relationship between personality and happiness. These traits are can be seen among people of different cultures (Pishva, Ghaleban, Moradi, & Hoseini, 2011).

Measures of personality[edit | edit source]

  1. "The Eysenck Personality Questionnaire" (Eysenck & Eysenck, 1975 as cited in Brebner et al. 1995)
  2. "The Structure of Temperament Questionnaire" (Rusalov, 1989 as cited in Brebner et al. 1995)

Happiness[edit | edit source]

[Provide more detail]

What is happiness?[edit | edit source]

  • According to Rojas (2002), as cited in Salary and Shaieri (2013) “Nehon defined happiness as a set of cognitive emotions and evaluations of life and it considers it as a degree of individual’s quality of life and generally evaluates it positively.” There are three variables that researchers have been looking at. These are: (a) situational variables, (b) social variables, and (c) personality variables.
  • "Happiness is theoretically conceptualised as a process rather than a state" (Pelechano, Gonzalez-Leandro, Garcia, & Moran, 2013)
Figure 1. A happy child.

Measures of happiness[edit | edit source]

There are two main measures of happiness that are used by researchers. These are:

  1. "The Oxford Happiness Inventory" (Argyle et al., 1989 as cited in Brebner et al. 1995)
  2. "The Personal State Questionnaire" (Brebner, 1990 as cited in Brebner et al. 1995)

The relationship between personality and happiness[edit | edit source]

[Provide more detail]

The relationship[edit | edit source]

Researchers have been using the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire and the Oxford Happiness Inventory to determine the relationship between personality and happiness (Salary & Shaieri, 2013; Pishva, Ghalebhan, Moradi, & Hoseini, 2011). However, Brebner et al. 1995 used six measures to identify the relationship between personality and happiness. These measures are: (a) The Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, (b) "Structure of Temperament Questionnaire", (c) The Oxford Happiness Inventory, (d) The Personal State Questionnaire, (e) The Life Orientation Test, and (f) The Optimism Questionnaire. The results of these tests have shown that there is a positive correlation between extraversion and happiness, and a negative correlation between neuroticism and happiness (Pishva et al. 2011)[Provide more detail].

The effect of personality on happiness[edit | edit source]

According to DeNeve and Cooper (1998), as cited in Pishva et al. (2011), "emotional stability, conscientiousness, extraversion, and agreeableness- usually in that order- predispose individuals towards happiness."

According to Pelechano et al. (2013) "neuroticism or emotional instability is the root of [the] psychology of anxiety and depression, while extroversion has been associated with positive social affect, present in the search for, and the enjoyment of, social interaction."

Introversion[edit | edit source]

  • Introversion is defined in the Oxford Dictionary of Psychology (2015) as "a predominant concern with one's own thoughts and feelings rather than the outside world and social interaction, characterized by traits such as reserve, passivity, and silence."

Extraversion[edit | edit source]

  • Extraversion is defined in the Oxford Dictionary of Psychology (2015) as "one of the Big Five personality factors... characterized by traits such as sociability and assertiveness."

Quiz[edit | edit source]

1 Which of the following personality factors is not associated with happiness?


2 Which of the following is NOT a test for happiness?

The Oxford Happiness Inventory
The Personal State Questionnaire
The Optimism Questionnaire

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

  • In conclusion, there is a relationship between personality and happiness. The effect of this relationship is dependent on the personality factor that we are focusing on. For example, neuroticism/introversion has a negative effect on an individuals happiness, whereas, extroversion, conscientiousness and agreeableness all have positive effects on an individual's happiness.
  • Further research is required to determine ways to use this knowledge to help reduce the depressive effects associated with neuroticism and introversion[vague].

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Aziz, R., Mustaffa, S., Samah, A. N., & Yusof, R. (2014). Personality and happiness among academicians in Malaysia. "Procedia- Social and Behavioural Sciences", "116", 4209-4212. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.01.918

Brebner, J., Donaldson, J., Kirby, N., & Ward, L. (1995). Relationships between happiness and personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 19, 251-258. doi:10.1016/0191-8869(95)00022-X

Colman, A. M. (Ed.). (2015) The Oxford dictionary of psychology (4th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kirkpatrick, B. L. (2015). "Personality and happiness" (Undergraduate honors theses, University of San Diego). Retrieved from

Mayer, J., D. (2015). The personality systems framework: Current theory and development. "Journal of Research in Personality", "56", 4-14. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2014.11.003

Pelechano, V., Gonzalez-Leandro, P., Garcia, L., & Moran, C. (2013). Is it possible to be too happy? Happiness, personality and psychopathology. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 13, 18-24. doi:10.1016/S1697-2600(13)70003-6

Pishva, N., Ghalehban, M., Moradi, A., & Hoseini, L. (2011). Personality and happiness. "Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences", "30", 429-432. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.10.084

Salary, S., & Shaieri, M. R. (2013). Study of relationship between happiness and dimensions of psychosis, neurosis and personality extraversion. "Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences", "84", 1143-1148. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.06.716

External links[edit | edit source]