A Three-Factor Model of Personality Predicts Changes in Depression and Subjective Well-Being Following Positive Psychology Interventions
Barnes, Caroline Elizabeth
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These studies investigated a new model of personality and its relationship to positive psychology interventions. Previous theoretical models and research into the structure of personality has seen disagreement concerning the true number of factors at the basis of personality. Furthermore, the link between personality and positive psychology interventions has been unclear. The following studies were undertaken to determine the structure of personality in a Canadian sample (N = 4375 at baseline) and to investigate how these personality factors predict depression, satisfaction with life, and affect following positive psychology interventions. Participants were recruited online and randomly assigned to one of ten exercise conditions which were performed every day for one week. Follow-ups were conducted one, three, and six months later. Using half of the sample (n = 2188), exploratory factor analysis was conducted on a comprehensive battery of personality questionnaires, which included measures of extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness to experience (the five-factor model) in addition to neediness, self-criticism, efficacy, self-esteem, gratitude, self-compassion, and attachment styles. The resulting three-factor model was validated using confirmatory factor analysis with the second half of the sample (n = 2186). The best fitting model for personality involved a three-factor solution interpreted to represent Equanimity, Insecurity, and Agency. The factors were then included in a latent growth curve model to determine how personality interacted with positive psychology interventions to predict depression and subjective well-being, both at baseline and over time. The results support the validity of a three-factor model of personality. In addition, this model proved useful in the study of individual differences in responding to positive psychology interventions. Limitations of this research and future directions are discussed.