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Self-Other Agreement in Happiness and Life-Satisfaction: The Role of Personality Traits


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  • Henrik Dobewall


  • Anu Realo
  • Jüri Allik
  • Tõnu Esko
  • Andres Metspalu
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    The aim of the current study is to examine the role of personality traits in self-other agreement in happiness and life-satisfaction which are often seen as the essential components of subjective well-being (SWB). Self-reports on the SWB measure and the NEO Personality Inventory-3 were obtained from 1,251 Estonians aged between 18 and 86 years. Other-ratings on the same measures were provided by knowledgeable informants. The measure of SWB showed significant self-other agreement, r = .55 (p = .000). We found this agreement to be transmitted (i.e., mediated) through the self- and other-rated personality facet scores of N3 (Depression) and E6 (Positive Emotions), Z = 2.8001–11.7142. The findings suggest that when an informant evaluates someone’s happiness or life-satisfaction, his/her rating is inflated by the image held about the personality of this person. Furthermore, self-reported SWB reflects, to some extent, what other people think about one’s personality. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Social Indicators Research.

    Volume (Year): 114 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 2 (November)
    Pages: 479-492

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:114:y:2013:i:2:p:479-492

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    Keywords: Happiness and life-satisfaction; Subjective well-being; Personality ratings; NEO PI-3; Self-other agreement;


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    1. Adrian Furnham & Helen Cheng, 2000. "Lay Theories of Happiness," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 227-246, June.
    2. Heidi Lepper, 1998. "Use of Other-Reports to Validate Subjective Well-Being Measures," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 367-379, July.
    3. Amery Wu & Bruno Zumbo, 2008. "Understanding and Using Mediators and Moderators," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 87(3), pages 367-392, July.
    4. Leann Schneider & Ulrich Schimmack, 2009. "Self-Informant Agreement in Well-Being Ratings: A Meta-Analysis," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 94(3), pages 363-376, December.
    5. Ed Diener, 1994. "Assessing subjective well-being: Progress and opportunities," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 103-157, February.
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