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 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.