Personality and happiness: A national-level analysis

Piers Steel, Deniz S Ones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


The possibility that national personality traits could explain national subjective well-being (SWB) is controversial, with many researchers arguing that traits are irrelevant to any national-level analysis. The weaknesses of this standpoint are reviewed, followed by a series of empirical investigations. Using Eysenck's 3-factor model (H. J. Eysenck & S. B. G. Eysenck, 1975) and P. T. Costa and R. M. McCrae's (1992b) 5-factor model, the authors found that Neuroticism and Extraversion correlated significantly with national SWB. Lie scale scores were also related strongly to national SWB. Neuroticism and Extraversion incrementally predicted SWB above gross national product per capita. The strength of these results indicates that personality can have stronger relationships at national levels of analysis than at the individual level. National personality traits appear to be unwisely neglected, having considerable but largely unconsidered explanatory power.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-781
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2002
Externally publishedYes


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