Moreover, one particular trait– emotional stability– was most strongly linked to an individual’s satisfaction in their social connections, career, and overall life.
“Over findings show that, despite differences in life challenges and social roles, personality traits are relevant for our satisfaction with life, work, and social contacts across young, middle, and older adulthood,” explained Manon van Scheppingen, the study’s co-author.
“The personality traits remained equally relevant across the adult lifespan, or became even more interconnected in some cases for work satisfaction.”
Conscientiousness as a personality trait was also found to be closely related to work satisfaction; meanwhile, agreeableness and extraversion were linked to social satisfaction.
And individuals who witnessed increases in these traits over time also saw increases in social, work, and life satisfaction.
It was found that work satisfaction over time was most impacted by age differences. So, as study participants grew older, the relationship between emotional stability and career satisfaction moderately increased as well.
And despite a weaker link between overall life satisfaction and openness, the research team did find that people who saw an increase in openness also witnessed a rise in life satisfaction over the 11 years of the study.
According to the team, the relationship may also be explained by indirect environmental impacts.
“A good example of how personality interacts with the environment can be found in the work context. One of our findings was that the link between emotional stability and work satisfaction increases across age,” van Scheppingen detailed.
“This might be explained by the fact that emotionally stable people are less scared to quit unsatisfactory jobs and more likely to apply for jobs that are more challenging and perhaps more fulfilling and enjoyable in the long run.”
Moving forward, the team believes that further research should be conducted to determine how other variables that change with age– including employment status, income, health, and marital status– impact the link between personality traits and life satisfaction overall.