Stability and well-being: Associations among the Big Five domains, metatraits, and three kinds of well-being in a large sample

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Objective: The present study estimates associations of the Big Five domains and their metatraits with individual indicators of eudaimonic, hedonic, and social well-being, as well as broader factors that capture the tendency for these individual indicators to correlate. Method: Using data from a large sample of adults from the United States, confirmatory factor analysis and exploratory structural equation modeling was used to verify the factor structure of Big Five personality and well-being in adulthood. The factor structure of the Big Five domains and well-being was carried forward to estimate associations between personality and well-being at each of three assessments and different levels of analysis using structural equation modeling. Results: Associations between the Big Five metatraits and well-being were strong and consistent across the three measurements when the average ages of participants were 46, 54, and 63 years. Similar results were observed whether focused on a fine-grained or broad level of analysis. Conclusions: For all types of well-being, the metatraits accounted for more variance than the Big Five domains, even when the Big Five were operationalized using latent factors, emphasizing the importance of considering this level of analysis when elucidating relations between personality and well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)720-737
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of personality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 15 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, through the Genetics and Human Agency project. 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). These analyses were also partially supported by a data analysis grant from the National Institute on Aging (R01 AG058595).


  • Big Five
  • eudaimonic
  • hedonic
  • metatraits
  • social
  • well-being


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