Comparing associations between personality and loneliness at midlife across three cultural groups

Colin D. Freilich, Frank D Mann, Robert F. Krueger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Loneliness represents a public health threat given its central role in predicting adverse mental and physical health outcomes. Prior research has established four of the Big Five personality traits as consistent cross-sectional predictors of loneliness in largely western, White samples. However, it is not clear if the personality predictors of loneliness vary across cultures. Method: The present study estimates associations between the Big Five traits and loneliness across distinct samples of White American, Black American, and Japanese adults (n = 6051 at T1). Confirmatory factor analysis and exploratory structural equation modeling were used to examine measurement invariance properties of the Big Five and loneliness across these groups. The factor structures were then carried forward to estimate associations between personality and loneliness across two assessments waves using structural equation modeling. Results: While Neuroticism was a strong predictor across groups, low Extraversion was more predictive of loneliness in Japan than in the U.S., and low Conscientiousness was only a significant predictor in the U.S. Conclusions: Previous literature offers a framework for interpreting these findings in that loneliness may be shaped comparatively more through interconnectedness in Japanese culture, while, in the U.S., individual goals and personal romantic expectations are more salient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)653-666
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of personality
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Analyses were not preregistered, but programming syntax and all model results can be found at Open Science Framework. Since 1995 the MIDUS study has been funded by the following: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network; National Institute on Aging (P01‐AG020166); National Institute on Aging (U19‐AG051426). R.F. Krueger is partially supported by the US National Institutes of Health, NIH (R01‐AG053217, U19‐AG051426). F.D. Mann is partially supported by the US National Institute on Aging (R21AG074705‐01) and the US National Institutes of Health (L60AG074424).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Journal of Personality published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


  • Big Five
  • culture
  • loneliness
  • measurement invariance
  • personality

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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