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PeerJ. 2015 Oct 8;3:e1300. doi: 10.7717/peerj.1300. eCollection 2015.

Under which conditions can introverts achieve happiness? Mediation and moderation effects of the quality of social relationships and emotion regulation ability on happiness.

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Department of Psychology, Faculty of Education Science, University Castilla-La Mancha , Ciudad Real , Spain.
Department of Basic Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Malaga , Malaga , Spain.


Personality traits have been directly associated with happiness. One consistent finding is a strong link between extraversion and happiness: extraverts are happier than introverts. Although happy introverts exist, it is currently unclear under what conditions they can achieve happiness. The present study analyzes, generally, how the quality of social relationships and emotion regulation ability influence happiness and, specifically, how these factors can lead introverts to be happy. In the present study, 1,006 participants aged 18-80 (42% males) completed measures of extraversion, neuroticism, quality of social relationships, emotion regulation ability, and happiness. We found that extraverts had significantly higher happiness, quality of social relationships and emotion regulation ability scores than introverts. In addition, people with high quality social relationships or high emotion regulation ability were happier. Serial mediation analyses indicated that greater levels of extraversion were associated with greater happiness, with small effect size, via two indirect mechanisms: (a) higher quality of social relationships, and (b) higher quality of social relationships followed serially by higher emotion regulation ability. We also found a moderating effect due to the three-way interaction of extraversion, quality of social relationships, and emotion regulation ability: introverts were happier when they had high scores for these two variables, though the effect size was small. These results suggest that the quality of social relationships and emotion regulation ability are relevant to our understanding of complex associations between extraversion and happiness.


Emotion regulation ability; Extraversion; Happiness; Mediate; Moderate; Quality of social relationships

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