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The Conceptual and Relational Structure of Subjective Well-Being, Neuroticism, and Extraversion: Once Again, Neuroticism Is the Important Predictor of Happiness

Joar Vittersø and Fredrik Nilsen
Social Indicators Research
Vol. 57, No. 1 (Jan., 2002), pp. 89-118
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27526985
Page Count: 30
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The Conceptual and Relational Structure of Subjective Well-Being, Neuroticism, and Extraversion: Once Again, Neuroticism Is the Important Predictor of Happiness
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) to analyze and explore the conceptual structure of subjective well-being (SWB), neuroticism (N) and extraversion (E); and (2) to compare the effect sizes of N and E as predictors of SWB. The sample comprised 461 participants representative of the adult population in northern Norway. Analyses were conducted by means of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM), and the results on (1) supported the notion of an overall subjective well-being construct sustained by the three nested dimensions of life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect. A simple factor structure for N and E was not supported, and considerable modification was needed to provide even a mediocre goodness-of-fit for the trait model. On (2), N explained eight times as much of the SWB variance as did E. Moreover, through comparison of several models it was revealed that if E is the sole predictor of SWB, the influence of E on SWB is overestimated by a factor of seven. Since N and E are strongly and negatively correlated (r = -0.50), the model comparison demonstrates the importance of including both E and N as independent variables in regression models of SWB.

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