Based on a sample of 532 undergraduates at a Southeastern U.S. university, Big Five and narrow personality traits were examined in relation to a measure of satisfaction with specific domains of college experience (College Satisfaction) and a measure of General Life Satisfaction. Four of the Big Five traits- Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability and Extraversion- as well as the narrow traits of Aggression, Career Decidedness, Optimism, Self-Directed Learning, Sense of Identity, and Work Drive were positively, significantly related to both satisfaction measures. Results of hierarchical regression analyses showed that the Big Five traits accounted for 45% of Life Satisfaction variance with Sense of Identity contributing an additional 7%, and College Satisfaction, 6%. It was suggested that who students become in college and how satisfied they are with different aspects of collegiate experience may be primarily determined by who they are when they enter college. Similarities were noted to findings of personality traits and academic performance, job performance, and adult career and life satisfaction. Implications were discussed in terms of Chickering and Reisser's major vectors for college development as well as for admissions decisions and enhancing student environment fit in advising, orientation, counseling, and career planning, among others.
Big Five personality traits, Narrow personality traits, Life satisfaction, College students, Campus satisfaction, College student development
In the present study, we looked first at the role of the Big Five
personality traits in relation to life satisfaction of college students
Beyond the Big Five traits, the
following research questions were examined:
(1) Are the Big Five personality traits of Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, Extraversion, and Openness as well as
the narrow traits of Aggression, Career Decidedness, Optimism,
Self-Directed Learning, Sense of Identity, Tough-Mindedness, and
Work Drive significantly related to College Satisfaction and General
(2) When considered as a set, which of the Big Five traits contribute
uniquely to the prediction of General Life Satisfaction?
(3) Do the narrow personality traits add incremental validity beyond
the significant Big Five traits in predicting General Life Satisfaction?
(4) What is the relationship between College Satisfaction and General
(5) What is the relationship between College Satisfaction and General
Life Satisfaction after controlling for the personality traits (Big Five
and narrow)? Similarly, does College Satisfaction add incremental
validity to the prediction of General Life Satisfaction after controlling for the personality traits (Big Five and narrow)?
(6) Considered as a set, which personality traits significantly account
for variance in College Satisfaction and General Life Satisfaction?
The present results indicate that the College Satisfaction measure used
in this study is a quite reliable composite of satisfaction-comprised specific, important domains of collegiate experience - and is substantively
related to Life Satisfaction, which provides further support for the approach of other researchers who have used a domain-based composite
measure of the overall student set.
Lounsbury, J. W., Saudargas, R. A., Gibson, L. W., & Leong, F. T. (2005). An investigation of broad and narrow personality traits in relation to general and domain-specific life satisfaction of college students. Research in Higher Education, 46(6), 707-729.
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|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|In Publication||Research in Higher Education|
|Type of Research||Quantitative|
|Research Design||Survey research (qualitative or quantitative)|
|Intervention/Areas of Study|
|Level of Analysis||Student-level|
|Specific Populations Examined||Undergraduates|
|Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest||Masters-granting|
|Specific Course or Program Characteristics||Social sciences|
|Outcome Variables of Interest|
|Student Sample Size||500 +|