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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1997 Sep;73(3):549-59.

Personality and well-being: reexamining methods and meanings.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706, USA.


Because measures of personality and well-being share common affective underpinnings and items, previously reported links between these domains may be tautological. To explicate the connections between personality and well-being, 2 samples of midlife adults (N = 215 and N = 139) completed measures of personality (NEO Five Factor Inventory; P.T. Costa & R.R. McCrae, 1992) and psychological well-being (C. D. Ryff's, 1989b, Psychological Well-Being [PWB] inventory) that were maximally distinct, both conceptually and methodologically. Analyses included additional controls for source overlap, common affective underpinnings, and shared item content. Distinctive personality correlates were observed for the 6 PWB outcomes: self-acceptance, environmental mastery, and purpose in life were linked with Neuroticism (N) Extraversion (E) and Conscientiousness (C); personal growth was linked with Openness to Experience (O) and E; positive relations with others was linked with Agreeableness (A) and E; autonomy was linked with N. Psychological wellness and its personality correlates may be more complex than prior studies suggest.

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