Sociology Mind
2013. Vol.3, No.1, 99-105
Published Online January 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 99
The Relationship between Personality Traits
with Life Satisfaction
Abbas Ali Hosseinkhanzadeh1*, Mahboobe Taher2
1Faculty of Literature & Humanistic Sciences, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran
2Faculty of Education & Psychology, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran
Email: *
Received September 2nd, 2012; revised November 6th, 2012; accepted November 21st, 2012
The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between personality traits with life satisfaction
among employed women in higher education centers of Rasht. This study was performed on 206 em-
ployed women in higher education centers of Rasht selected by classified random sampling they answered
the NEO questionnaire (Costa & McCrae, 1992) and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener et al., 1985).
Extraversion, conscientious and openness had a significant negative correlation with life satisfaction, and
agreement has significant positive correlation with life satisfaction. The results of stepwise regression
showed that personality traits can explain 19 percent of the variance in life satisfaction, interaction of in-
come and education has not significant effect on the life satisfaction. The results of one way ANOVA in-
dicated that there isn’t significant difference between employed women life satisfaction and personality
trait in diversity higher education centers. Life satisfaction is influenced by interaction of different factors
that one of these factors is personality traits.
Keywords: Personality Traits; Life Satisfaction; Employed Women
Subjective well-being as a cognitive process involves com-
parison of individual’s perception from their current position
with their expectations that is associated with life satisfaction.
Expectations of an individual are the main factors in judging
the well-being (McDowell, 2010). The subjective well-being
became surge of interest when positive psychology established
as a branch of science in 2000 (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi,
2000; Shyder & Lopez, 2002; quoted by Jovanovic, 2010).
From the view point of Diener (1984) subjective well-being
consists of three components of life satisfaction, existence of
positive excitations, and inexistence of negative excitations.
Life satisfaction is cognitive aspect of well-being and it refers
to general assessment of individual’s life (Diener, Suh, & Oishi,
In other words, in order to achieve well-being there must be
life satisfaction which is its indicator and it is closely associated
with physical and mental health (Melendez et al., 2009). The
concept of life satisfaction is main issue that has to be study,
because life satisfaction is foundation of welfare and health,
hence parallel to increasing longevity, quality, meaningful and
welfare of life must to take in consideration as well (Ozer,
2000). Happiness and being satisfied from various aspects of
life are the basic components of a positive attitude towards the
individual’s life, cheerful and life satisfaction are the top goals
of life (Zaki, 2006). Investigation of subjective well-being are
important due to: 1) To provide mental health, physical health
and increasing longevity; 2) To demonstrate the value of cheer-
fulness for human being; 3) To measure index of life quality
beside economical and social indicators as well as the degree of
health or crime (Diener et al., 2003; quoted by Kochaki &
Goodarzi, 2007). However, attention to issue of life satisfaction
in comparing with depression and anxiety was much less in hu-
manities (Rindel, Miosen, & Hyez, 1999). So, the lack of re-
search in this area is quite significant and requires further stud-
Some of the experts agree that well-being is quite resistant to
changes because often determine by genes (Diener et al., 1999;
quoted by Soons & Loiefbroer, 2009). Others, also believe that
life satisfaction is influenced by interaction of different factors,
for instance; Gibson (1986) underlines social interaction, Em-
mos & Diener (1985) focus on personality factors, according to
George (1981), social economical status is other vital factor,
Willits & Krider (1988) believe that religion is other factor that
affects on degree of life satisfaction. The quality of life is out-
come of complex interaction between the internal and external
factors. Personality is internal factor that associate with life
satisfaction (Larsen & Buss, 2005; quoted by Masthoff, 2006).
In a review study by Diener shed lighted that effect of personal
factors on life satisfaction is important as environmental factors
(Borg et al., 2008). Even though the important events of life
have long effects on the individual’s well-being, but we expect
to have the personality traits more effective (Soons & Loief-
broer, 2009).
Traits are defined as fixed structure, hierarchically, and in-
born (Remero et al., 2009). Some researchers believe that five
factor of personality traits could explain one of third variance in
life satisfaction (Schmmal et al., 2004; quoted by Wood et al.,
2008). According to different researches five factors model of
personality (Big Five) is a dominant model in psychology of
personality (Jovanovic, 2010). Assessment about model of
personality five factors includes neurosis, extraversion, open-
ness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness (Costa & McCrae,
1992; quoted by White, Hendrick, S., & Hendrick, C., 2004).
*Corresponding author.
There are several researchers found that personality attributes
are predictors of subjective well-being (Jovanovic, 2010); since
MacCrae & Costa several times has been proved that extraver-
sion related with positive emotion and neurosis is related with
negative emotion (Hills & Argyle, 2001). Conscientious factor,
also could be predictor for cognitive assessment of subjective
well-being (DeNeve & Cooper, 1998); some of the studies have
been shown that conscientious is the strongest predictor of life
satisfaction that could explained by aim of progressing (DeNeve
& Cooper, 1998; Joseph & Hyes, 2003; quoted by Schimmack,
Schupp, &Wayner, 2008); conscientious people are leaning to
progress and to get more well-being (Boyce, Wood, & Brown,
2010). Conscientious people are tending to life statuses that are
beneficial for well-being (McCrae & Costa, 1991; quoted by
Wood & Brown, 2010). Although, generally the conscientious-
ness has positive relationship with well-being and performance
that this relationship has been reported between the 2% to 3%
(Steel et al., 2008), but depending on the situations this pattern
might reversed, thus high level of conscientiousness could threat
the well-being (Bass, Wood, & Brown, 2010), agreeableness fa-
cilitate positive experiences in social situations and progressing
and increases the well-being (Hayes & Joseph, 2002).
Attribution of openness people could lead to experience new
things in order to facilitate well-being (McCare & Costa, 1991;
quoted by Stephan, 2009), also openness people try to experi-
ence new things in order to develop themselves, and people
with these characteristics have positive life satisfaction, because
they are involved in activities that satisfy their psychological
needs (Stephan, 2009); various studies highlight different agent
of the factors that raised in the personality five factor model,
according to various studies, different factors play a greater role
in explanation of life satisfaction, the five factor personality
traits can explain the one of third variance on life satisfaction
since by factors such as personality traits can influence to life
satisfaction (Schmmal et al., 2004; quoted by Wood et al.,
2008), present study examines the role of this factor on life
satisfaction. On the other side, we still do not have adequate da-
ta about relationship between employ of women with their life
satisfaction despite of presenting women in working area have
increased significantly, because until recently main researches
focused on male’s experiences rather than females (Beatty,
1996; Long & Kahn, 1993). In any case, with respect to impor-
tance of quality of life in employed women, this study exam-
ines the relationship between personality traits and life satisfac-
tion among employed women in higher education centers of
Research Hypothesis
1) There is a significant relationship between personality
traits and life satisfaction of employed women in higher educa-
tion centers.
Research Questions
1) Is there any significant relationship between personality
traits and life satisfaction among employed women whether
they are married or not?
2) Are there any significant differences between personality
traits and life satisfaction among married and single groups?
3) Which one of the personality traits has a greater role in
explaining women’s life satisfaction?
4) Are there any significant differences between life satisfac-
tion among employed women either married or single?
5) Are there any significant differences in personality traits
among employed women who are married or not?
6) Are there any significant differences in degree of life sa-
tisfaction among employed women in various higher education
institutions such as Islamic Azad University, Payame Noor
University, University of Medical Science and Guilan Univer-
Research method of present study is correlation and the re-
search design has been an anticipative study. The population of
study included all women who hold higher than bachelor de-
gree except scientific commission in higher education centers
of Rasht. According to the collected information from person-
nel department of higher education institutions, cases are in
total 448 that are as follows due to the university separation: 14
women from Payame Noor University, 114 women from Is-
lamic Azad University, 200 women from University of Medical
Science and 120 women from Guilan University. We used
method of Krejcie-Morgan (1970) sample size which is 46%,
thus 206 samples chosen by classified random sampling respec-
tively are as follows: 7 from Payame Noor University, 52 from
Islamic Azad University, 92 from University of Medical Sci-
ence and 55 from Guilan University (n = 90).
Five Factor Personality Shorts Form Questionnaire: It com-
prised on 60 buoys and also, scale is scoring with continuum of
five degrees (from completely agree to completely disagree).
Several studies have confirmed the reliability and validity of
this scale, for instance in a seven year longitudinal study were
obtained that reliability coefficients between 0.51 to 0.82 and
the validity coefficients between the 0.63 to 0.81 (McCrae &
Costa, 1992). Psychometric attributions of this test are calcu-
lated among Iranian samples. The coefficients of Cronbach’s
alpha in each main factors of neurosis, extraversion, agreement,
openness, and conscientious respectively are obtained as 0.86,
0.73, 0.80, 0.87, and 0.70, to investigate content validity of this
test between two form of self report (observer assessment form)
was used to correlate the maximum rate of 0.66 extraversion
factor and minimum rate of 0.45 in the agreement factor (Grossi
Farshi, 2001).
Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS): This scale designed by
Diener and his colleagues (1985). It has five questions, which
examines life satisfaction of individual in a seven degree of
Likert scale (from strongly agree to strongly disagree) which
individual could achieve score of 5 - 45 on this scale, Diener
and his colleagues has been reported adequate validity (con-
vergent and discriminative practices) and also adequate reliabil-
ity for this scale.
Out of 206 participations after eliminating values and throws,
200 participations put into final analysis that 57 were single and
143 were married. Mean of age and income in sample group
respectively are 35.47 years and 500$. Statistic of variable is
presented on Table 1. It should be noted that scores for NEO in
scale are from 0 - 4 and life satisfaction is in the average of 1 -
According to Table 1 average of life satisfaction among em-
ployed women in higher education is equal with 4.47, which
is moderate level. Also, between the personality dimensions,
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 101
highest mean related to the neurosis (2.40) which is in moderate
level, while the lowest mean is related to extraversion (1.41),
which is low level. On the other side, scores of neurosis and
openness respectively allocated the highest and lowest disper-
sion due to experience. Table 1 shows which there is signifi-
cant negative correlation (p .01) between life satisfaction and
extraversion (r = 26%) and conscientiousness (r = 21%).
Thus, sample groups that have higher scores in these traits,
have lower level of satisfaction. Conversely, trait of agreement
has a positive correlation with life satisfaction (r = 15%, p .05).
Positive and significant correlations Between the NEO five
personality traits in the range of .15 to .46 are normal and ex-
pected. Table 2 presents the matrix correlation among variables
to distinguish the single and married women.
According to Table 2, average of life satisfaction respec-
tively in the married and single groups is 4.51 and 4.39. The
average range of personality traits in the single group are be-
tween 1.59 - 1.89 and in the married ones are 1.44 to 2.38. Fig-
ure 1 shows profile of NEO personality traits for both groups.
According to the chart, profile of both groups is very similar
and traits like extraversion, openness, agreeableness and con-
scientiousness are on lower levels and the neurosis trait is lo-
cated on the middle level. Conversely according to Table 2,
correlation of agreement (r = .19, p .05) and conscientious (r = .24,
p .01) with life satisfaction is significant in the married group.
Table 2, has also shown that extraversion correlation (n =
.40, p .01) and openness (r = .39, p .01) with life satisfac-
tion in a single group is significant and inverse. Also, it has
been mentioned correlation of variables in the married ones
respectively are .23 and .19 which is meaningful on scale
of .01 and .05, Fisher Z test was used to compare correlation
between extraversion and life satisfaction in a single and mar-
ried ones, which the results was significant (Z = 3.83, p .01).
As a result the inverse correlation between extraversion and life
satisfaction of single women was stronger than married ones.
Results of Fisher test has been shown that to compare openness
correlation with life satisfaction in the both groups are signifi-
cant (Z = 2.11, p .05). Thus, correlation of openness and life
satisfaction variables are stronger in single group.
According to Table 3, none of the F statistics outcome of
one-way ANOVA analysis is significant. Thus, between both
groups there is no significant difference in average of life satis-
faction and personality traits. According to Table 2 and Figure
1, the mean value of the descriptive variables in the two groups
is statistically significant, which is also confirmed by Table 3.
The test result of one-way ANOVA analysis has also shown
that between life satisfaction between employed women in
various higher education centers (Guilan University, Islamic
Azad University, Payame Noor University and University of
Medical Science) statistically there is no significant differences
(f(3,197) = .16, p .05). The test also showed that type of institu-
tion does not have any effect on personality traits (p .05).
According to Table 4, has been observed that by using step-
wise model, in the last step out of personality traits, 4 traits
Table 1.
Mean, standard deviation, coefficients of correlation between variables and Cronbach’s alpha.
Variable M SD 1 2 3 4 5 6
1) Life satisfaction 4.47 1.14 .89
2) Neurosis 2.40 .40 .11 .43
3) Extraversion 1.41 .39 .28** .15* .53
4) Openness 1.82 .32 .26** .25** .41** .48
5) Agreeableness 1.92 .38 .15* .45** .29** .26** .50
6) Conscientious 1.60 .30 .24** .19** .45** .46** .34** .49
Note: Notice: Alpha coefficients are on the diameter of the sub-matrix. *p .05, **p .01.
Table 2.
Mean, standard deviation, correlation coefficients between variables, separation to different status.
1 2 3 4 5 6
Statistics M 4.51 2.38 1.44 1.83 1.93 1.68
Variable M SD 1.11 .39 .37 .31 .38 .30
1) Life satisfaction 4.39 1.19 - .12 .23** .19* .19* .24**
2) Neurosis 2.46 .42 .10 - .23** .30** .48** .26**
3) Extraversion 1.35 .43 .40** .04 - .38** .35** .43**
4) Openness 1.79 .34 .39** .17 .44** - .28** .45**
5) Agreement 1.89 .41 .05 .18 .18 .21 - .33**
6) Conscientious 1.59 .31 .25 .04 .49** .48** .37** -
Note: Notice: On higher of original diameter statistics related to the married women (n = 143) and on the lower of statistics related to single women (n = 57). *p .05, **p .01.
Table 3.
Analysis of one way ANOVA for the effects of marital status on the research.
SS MS F(1, 198)
Between group .45 .45 .50
1) Life satisfaction
Within group 255.16 1.29
Between group .25 .25 1.55
2) Neurosis
Within group 31.41 .16
Between group .35 .35 2.34
3) Extraversion
Within group 29.39 .35
Between group .08 .08 .76
4) Openness
Within group 19.86 .10
Between group .05 .05 .34
5) Agreement
Within group 29.31 .15
Between group .01 .01 .07
6) Conscientious
Within group 18.34 .09
Table 4.
Summarizes the analysis of stepwise regression to predict life satisfaction (n = 200).
Variables B SEB β R
2 R2 F
First step .08 .08 16.63**
Extraversion .82 .20 .28**
Second step .13 .05 15.15**
Agreeableness .73 .21 .25**
Third step .17 .04 13.65**
Openness .79 .25 .22**
Fourth step .19 .02 11.65**
Conscientious .64 .29 .17*
Note: **p .01, *p .05.
Figure 1.
Profile of NEO personality traits for married and single women.
(extraversion, agreeableness, openness and conscientious) of
personality traits are able to explain 19% of variance in life
satisfaction. On the first step, variable of extraversion inversely
and significantly is predicting 8% of life (F(1,198) = 16.63, p
0/01). So that each of standard deviation change in extraversion
is associated with 0.28 followed by change in the variable of
satisfaction (t = 4.08, p .01). In the second step, also with
adding agreeableness to extraversion model is successful in
predicting life satisfaction and ability of predicting increases
about 5% (F(2,197) = 15.15, p .01). Beta coefficient of agree-
ment directly and significantly engaged to predict life satisfac-
tion (t = 3.56, p .01). On the third step with adding openness
due to experience has ability to predict significant model and
increases about 4% (F(3,196) = 13.6, p .01). According to the
third step each deviation that decreases in openness is associate
with increasing deviation 0.22 in life satisfaction (t = 3.06,
p .01). In the final model, with adding conscientiousness to
the previous three variables, the ability of prediction was sig-
nificant and increased about 2% (F(4,195) = 11.65, p .01).
According to the fourth step, every deviation that changes in
conscientiousness with .17 is associated with changes in life
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
satisfaction (t = 2.21, p .05). Likewise as seen, only neurosis
is not located in the model. At the final step, regression equa-
tion to predict life satisfaction for 200 samples is as follows:
(Conscientiousness) (.17) + (Openness) (.22)
+ (Agreeableness) (.25) + (Extraversion) (.28)
= Life satisfaction
Table 5 has been presented result of stepwise regression
analysis to predict life satisfaction by personality traits to dif-
ferentiate both groups of single and married women which lead
to different results.
According to Table 5 has been observed that in the group of
single employed women, extraversion and openness have abil-
ity to predict reversely and significantly the life satisfaction. In
contrast with the married group of employed women, extraver-
sion, conscientious and agreeableness are the most appropriate
personality traits to predict the life satisfaction (F(3,139) = 10.43,
p .01). Equation of regression to differ- rentiate married and
single women are as follows:
(Openness) (.27) + (Extraversion) (.27)
= Life satisfaction of single women (Agreement) (.36)
+ (Conscientiousness) (.25) + (Extraversion) (.25)
= Life satisfaction of married women
Present study has taken place to determine the relationship
between personality traits and life satisfaction among Iranian
employed women in higher education centers. In investigating
profile of NEO personality traits has been observed that among
sample of Iranian employed women traits such as extraversion,
agreeableness, openness and conscientiousness are lower than
average level which can explained by cultural and religious
differences. On the whole according to post extraversion: they
are introversion, conservative and serious, regarding to post
openness: they are humble, dominant on their works, regarding
to post agreeableness: they are stubborn, skeptical, supercilious
and likely to be rivalry, and according to after conscientious-
ness: they do not prefer to have pre-determined program. On
the other side, usually according to the mean point of neurosis,
they are calm and they have ability to cope with their pressures.
The mean point of life satisfaction between sample groups was
on the moderate level that in order to explain, precisely their
family relationship and job satisfaction must be measured.
Due to the research findings, there is no significant relation-
ship between neurosis and life satisfaction which this result is
not consistent with research findings of Hills & Argyle (2001),
Soon & Loief broer (2009), Keyes, Shmotkin, & Ryff (2002).
These discrepancies, can explain with previous studies which
examined relationship between neurosis and well-being that
indicated there is negative correlation between neurosis and
post subjective well being, because according to the previous
studies neurosis is the main factor to develop emotional distur-
bance, while the presented study focused on the post cognitive
well-being (life satisfaction).
There is significant and direct relationship between agree-
ment and life satisfaction that these findings are consistent with
research findings of Hayes & Joseph (2002) which showed that
agreeableness could facilitate the positive experiences in social
situations. Results of correlation analysis showed that there is
negative significant relationship between conscientiousness and
life satisfaction. This outcome is not consistent with some of
the previous studies as DeNeve & Cooper (1998), Hayes &
Joseph (2002) and Steel & colleagues (2009), found that there
is positive significant relationship between conscientious and
life satisfaction, they underline that conscientious people are
tending to achieve success and further progress which could
support well-being.
Consistent to this study Boyce, Wood and Brown (2010),
found that sometimes when people experience failure, there
could be negative significant relationship between conscien-
tiousness and life satisfaction. In terms of failure, well-being
reduces between the conscientious people, at this point consci-
entiousness become dangerous for well-being and production.
Conscientious people may linage their failure with lack of abi-
lity (lasting reason for failure) which this attribution style is
associate with depression, anxiety and consequently leads to
low life satisfaction. Analysis of this result needs to further re-
searches, because we found that according to some interviews
with employees of this study, the fact in their employment is
their economical needs rather than their personal interest. This
factor can justify lower conscientiousness and inverse correla-
tion of life satisfaction.
Results of one-way ANOVA analysis showed that there is no
significant differences of life satisfaction between married and
single women which this conclusion is consistent with results
of Myers & Diener (1997), stated that there is no significant
relationship between marital status and life satisfaction. This
finding could explain without consideration their marital status,
only employment itself could lead them to positive emotional
such as economically being independent and sense of being
Table 5.
Summarizes the stepwise regression analysis to predict life satisfaction to differentiation of marital status.
Variable B SE B β R
2 F
Final step of single women .22 7.39**
Extraversion .77 .38 .27*
Openness .94 .47 .27*
Final step of married women .18 10.43**
Extraversion .75 .26 .25**
Conscientious .92 .32 .25**
Agreement 1.05 .25 .36**
Note: **p .01, *p .05.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 103
valuable that finally results with life satisfaction.
Also results of one-way ANOVA analysis showed that there
are no significant differences in personality traits between mar-
ried and single women, to support this finding by Bergman and
colleagues (1993), pointed out that some of the characteristics
and dimensions of such traits raised in the five factors model of
personality are inherited, so marital status does not have sig-
nificant effect on them.
On the other side, analysis of one-way ANOVA test showed
that there is no significant difference in extend of employed
women between life satisfaction and personality traits in the
various higher education centers (Guilan University, Payame
Noor University, Islamic Azad University, University of Medi-
cal Science). This means that there are no significant differ-
ences in degree of life satisfaction between women who work at
Guilan University with their colleagues in other universities.
Because of similarity between activities, needs, job demands,
environment, role of social status, days, hours, salaries and be-
nefits between samples, the type of universities that they are
working in, could not be facts for making differences in life
satisfaction or personality traits.
Presented study only focused on employed women, regard-
ing to this, might be suggest that in further researches to study
various backgrounds like house wife’s to compare between va-
riables, thus relationship between personality traits and life sa-
tisfaction could study very carefully. Second limitation could
be social factors. Based on this findings suggest that in further
studies to include factors such as optimism, hope, religious and
other factors that could affect life satisfaction.
Thanks and Appreciation
Thanks to the university authorities of Guilan University,
University of Medical Science, Islamic Azad University and
Payame Noor University of Guilan province, also thanks to all
staff who sincerely and honestly helped us in implementing this
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