Iranian and Swedish adolescents: differences in personality traits and well-being


Introduction. This study addresses the need to further contextualize research on well-being (e.g., Kjell, 2011) in terms of cross-cultural aspects of personality traits among adolescents and by examining two different conceptualizations of well-being: subjective well-being (i.e., life satisfaction, positive and negative affect) and psychological well-being (i.e., positive relations with others, environmental mastery, self-acceptance, autonomy, personal growth, and life purpose). Methods. Iranian (N = 122, mean age 15.23 years) and Swedish (N = 109, mean age 16.69 years) adolescents were asked to fill out a Big Five personality test, as well as questionnaires assessing subjective well-being and psychological well-being. Results. Swedes reported higher subjective and psychological well-being, while Iranians reported higher degree of Agreeableness, Openness and Conscientiousness. Neuroticism and Extraversion did not differ between cultures. Neuroticism was related to well-being within both cultures. Openness was related to well-being only among Iranians, and Extraversion only among Swedes. A mediation analysis within the Swedish sample, the only sample meeting statistical criteria for mediation analysis to be conducted, demonstrated that psychological well-being mediated the relationship between Neuroticism and subjective well-being as well as between Extraversion and subjective well-being. Conclusions. Certain personality traits, such as Extraversion, Openness, and Conscientiousness, relate differently to well-being measures across cultures. Meanwhile, Neuroticism seems to relate similarly across cultures at least with regard to subjective well-being. Furthermore, the results give an indication on how psychological well-being might mediate the relationship between certain personality traits and subjective well-being. Overall, the complexity of the results illustrates the need for more research whilst supporting the importance of contextualizing well-being research.

Oscar Kjell
Oscar Kjell

I’m a researcher in Psychology interested in measuring psychological constructs with words and text responses analyzed with AI. In particular I’m interested in how this method can be used in clinical settings to assessment mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. I’m also interested in researching well-being, harmony in life and sustainable living. I’m currently funded for an international postdoc at the Computer Science Department at Stony Brook University and the University of Copenhagen.