Personality as a modifier of the relationship between stressors and subjective well-being : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University
An investigation was undertaken to explore the function of locus of control, meaning in life and assertiveness as moderating variables between chronic daily stressors and subjective well-being. Subjects were 120 adults drawn from randomly selected areas of the community and 161 extramural students. Respondents completed a questionnaire containing measures of well-being, personality, stressors, and social desirability, as well as demographic information. The hypotheses predicted that each of the personality variables (locus of control, meaning in life, assertiveness) would interact with stressors, to moderate between stressors and well-being; and that the combined personality variables would explain a greater proportion of the variance of well-being than any single personality variable. The results of the analyses revealed that stressors failed to consistently interact with any of the personality variables to effect subjective well-being. However, the main effects of personality and stressors showed substantial independent relationships to well-being. The personality variables jointly accounted for a greater proportion of the variance in well-being than any single variable, as predicted, although meaning in life was found to have the strongest relationship to well-being. The findings indicated that locus of control, meaning in life, and assertiveness each have an additive rather than interactive relationship with stressors in moderating well-being. Evidence suggests that the three personality variables constitute a personality style which predisposes an individual towards a sense of well-being. Support was found for the view that positive and negative factors independently contribute to the structure of well-being, and the implications for this were discussed.