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For better or for worse: the moderating effects of personality on the marriage life satisfaction link

Boyce, Christopher J.; Wood, Alex M.; Ferguson, Eamonn


Christopher J. Boyce

Alex M. Wood


On average, marriage tends to lead to temporary increases in life satisfaction, which quickly return to pre-marital levels. This general pattern, however, does not consider the personality of individuals entering into marriage. We examine whether following marriage pre-marital personality predicts different changes to life satisfaction in a sample of initially single German adults (N = 2015), completing life satisfaction measures and indicating their marital status yearly for eight years (during which 468 married). We find that conscientious women experience greater life satisfaction following marriage than less conscientious women. Our data also indicate that introverted women and extraverted men experience longer-term life satisfaction benefits following marriage. Our results refute the claim of limited life satisfaction effects from marriage and caution against relying on average effects when examining the influence of life events on well-being.


Boyce, C. J., Wood, A. M., & Ferguson, E. (2016). For better or for worse: the moderating effects of personality on the marriage life satisfaction link. Personality and Individual Differences, 97,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 3, 2016
Online Publication Date Mar 19, 2016
Publication Date Jul 1, 2016
Deposit Date May 4, 2016
Publicly Available Date May 4, 2016
Journal Personality and Individual Differences
Print ISSN 0191-8869
Electronic ISSN 0191-8869
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 97
Keywords Marriage, life satisfaction, personality, subjective well-being, adaptation
Public URL
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Boyce_Wood_Ferguson 2016 PAID Personality and Marrage.pdf (330 Kb)

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