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Personality Traits and Relationship Satisfaction in Intimate Couples: Three Perspectives on Personality

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Abstract

Personality traits are important predictors of relationship satisfaction. However, the majority of previous study findings are based on self-perceptions of personality. Thus, by means of the self-, partner-, and meta-perceptions of personality, the present study focused on three different perspectives on the Big Five personality traits to examine dyadic associations with relationship satisfaction of intimate couples. The study was based on the first measurement occasion of the Swiss longitudinal study ‘Co-Development in Personality: Longitudinal Approaches to Personality Development in Dyads across the Life Span’ and included data of 216 couples. The main analyses were based on Actor-Partner Interdependence Model. Three general findings emerged. First, the three personality perspectives represented related, albeit distinct, constructs, and showed incremental validity with respect to relationship satisfaction. Second, neuroticism was negatively related to relationship satisfaction, whereas agreeableness and conscientiousness were positively related to relationship satisfaction across all perspectives. Third, substantial associations between extraversion and relationship satisfaction were exclusively evident in terms of the partner- and meta-perception. The present results contribute to the literature by showing that each perspective is essential for the understanding of the role of personality for relationship satisfaction. Copyright © 2014 European Association of Personality Psychology

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