Graduation Year

2009

Document Type

Ed. Specalist

Degree

Ed.S.

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Shannon M. Suldo, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Kathy L. Bradley-Klug, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Constance V. Hines, Ph.D.

Keywords

positive psychology, subjective well-being, five-factor model, gender, social support

Abstract

The purpose of the study is to investigate the relationships among personality factors and life satisfaction in high school students. High school students ( N = 625) completed self-report measures of personality characteristics (namely, extraversion, neuroticism, openness, conscientiousness, and agreeableness) and global life satisfaction. Results include the specific contribution of each of these personality dimensions as they relate to life satisfaction, gender differences, and the role of perceived classmate support in relationships between personality factors and life satisfaction. Specifically, findings revealed that about 45% of the variance in adolescents‟ life satisfaction scores was accounted for by their self-reported measures of personality factors. Neuroticism emerged as the strongest predictor of life satisfaction. Further, results demonstrated that openness, conscientiousness, and extraversion were significant and unique predictors of life satisfaction. Gender differences were found in the link between agreeableness and life satisfaction such that a higher level of agreeableness was related to higher life satisfaction for girls, but not for boys. Finally, results of the structural equation model that analyzed the role of perceived classmate support in the link between personality factors and life satisfaction revealed significant paths between four personality factors

(excluding openness) and perceived classmate support. Further, the path from extraversion to perceived classmate support showed the strongest standardized path coefficient (.42); suggesting that a higher score on extraversion was associated with a higher level of perceived classmate support which, in turn, predicted higher levels of life satisfaction. Neuroticism demonstrated the strongest, albeit inverse, direct path to life satisfaction, further supporting the finding that higher levels of neuroticism were related to lower levels of life satisfaction. Findings provide school psychologists with a better understanding of the demographic (i.e., gender), stable (i.e., personality) and interpersonal characteristics (i.e., perceptions of classmate support) that place students at-risk for negative outcomes via low life satisfaction or, conversely, facilitate optimal wellness via high life satisfaction.

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