Chapter 9: Life outcomes/well-being
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Life outcomes/ well-being
- Psychologists have studied personality traits and tried to determine whether these
traits have an effect on life stories and life outcomes.
• Relationships and marriage:
- Are spouses similar in personality?
- Watson did a study in which he used 300 married couples who completed self and
spouse reports to measure the big five personality factors
- Positive correlation means they are similar, negative correlation means if one is
high, the other is low
- The husband and wives personalities were basically uncorrelated. Correlations
were all near zero. The only trait that had SLIGHT negative correlation was
extraversion, at -0.15.
- Watson’s other half of the study asked spouses about marital satisfaction, sexual
satisfaction, and marital conflict. The spouses were to rate these factors without
knowing how their spouse responded.
- He analysed the correlations between personality traits and marital satisfaction.
Some people have traits that will find a happy marriage unsatisfying, or vice
versa. Some people have traits within them that elicit negative or positive
behaviours from their spouse.
- The traits that were most strongly correlated with marital satisfaction are
agreeableness and emotional stability. People who are high in levels of
agreeableness and who are emotionally stable tend to be most satisfied with their
marriages, and people with spouses with high levels of those traits also tend to be
satisfied with their marriages.
- Watson also considered the extent to which marital satisfaction was related to
similarity or dissimilarity between spouses
- Basically he studied whether having similar levels of traits or different levels of
traits affects how satisfied they are with the marriage
- He did this by finding the correlation between individuals levels of marital
satisfaction and the absolute value of the difference between the individual and
his/her spouse in a given characteristic
- There was no correlation between similarity or differences between spouses and
- How does personality affect attachment styles?
• Anxious attachment: the tendency to worry about the loss of a partners love.
• Avoidant attachment: tendency to feel uncomfortable being emotionally close to
- These two attachment styles are not correlated. A high/low level of one does not
determine a high/low level of another
• Peer relationships: friends and status
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