Who can buy happiness? Personality traits moderate the effects of stable income differences and income fluctuations on life satisfaction
The present research tested whether the Big Five personality dimensions—extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience—moderate the effects of income on life satisfaction. The authors analyzed data from three large-sample, nationally representative, longitudinal studies: the British Household Panel Survey, the German Socio-Economic Panel Study, and the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey. Neuroticism consistently moderated the effects of both stable between-person income differences and within-person income fluctuations on life satisfaction. Specifically, income predicted satisfaction more strongly for highly neurotic individuals than for their emotionally stable peers. These findings illustrate that the effects of life circumstances on subjective well-being can vary considerably across individuals, depending on their basic personality traits.
Social Psychological and Personality Science
Volume and page numbers
4 , 46 -53
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