Article Version of Record

Why do conservatives report being happier than liberals? The contribution of neuroticism

Author(s) / Creator(s)

Burton, Caitlin M.
Plaks, Jason E.
Peterson, Jordan B.

Abstract / Description

Previous studies suggest that conservatives in the United States are happier than liberals. This difference has been attributed to factors including differences in socioeconomic status, group memberships, and system-justifying beliefs. We suggest that differences between liberals and conservatives in personality traits may provide an additional account for the "happiness gap". Specifically, we investigated the role of neuroticism (or conversely, emotional stability) in explaining the conservative-liberal happiness gap. In Study 1 (N = 619), we assessed the correlation between political orientation (PO) and satisfaction with life (SWL), controlling for the Big Five traits, religiosity, income, and demographic variables. Neuroticism, conscientiousness, and religiosity each accounted for the PO-SWL correlation. In Study 2 (N = 700), neuroticism, system justification beliefs, conscientiousness, and income each accounted for PO-SWL correlation. In both studies, neuroticism negatively correlated with conservatism. We suggest that individual differences in neuroticism represent a previously under-examined contributor to the SWL disparity between conservatives and liberals.

Keyword(s)

political orientation conservatism neuroticism satisfaction with life system justification beliefs

Persistent Identifier

Date of first publication

2015-04-08

Journal title

Journal of Social and Political Psychology

Volume

3

Issue

1

Page numbers

89–102

Publisher

PsychOpen GOLD

Publication status

publishedVersion

Review status

peerReviewed

Is version of

Citation

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
    Burton, Caitlin M.
  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
    Plaks, Jason E.
  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
    Peterson, Jordan B.
  • Accession date
    2018-11-26T12:44:45Z
  • Made available on
    2018-11-26T12:44:45Z
  • Date of first publication
    2015-04-08
  • Abstract / Description
    Previous studies suggest that conservatives in the United States are happier than liberals. This difference has been attributed to factors including differences in socioeconomic status, group memberships, and system-justifying beliefs. We suggest that differences between liberals and conservatives in personality traits may provide an additional account for the "happiness gap". Specifically, we investigated the role of neuroticism (or conversely, emotional stability) in explaining the conservative-liberal happiness gap. In Study 1 (N = 619), we assessed the correlation between political orientation (PO) and satisfaction with life (SWL), controlling for the Big Five traits, religiosity, income, and demographic variables. Neuroticism, conscientiousness, and religiosity each accounted for the PO-SWL correlation. In Study 2 (N = 700), neuroticism, system justification beliefs, conscientiousness, and income each accounted for PO-SWL correlation. In both studies, neuroticism negatively correlated with conservatism. We suggest that individual differences in neuroticism represent a previously under-examined contributor to the SWL disparity between conservatives and liberals.
    en_US
  • Publication status
    publishedVersion
  • Review status
    peerReviewed
  • ISSN
    2195-3325
  • Persistent Identifier
    https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12034/1355
  • Persistent Identifier
    https://doi.org/10.23668/psycharchives.1706
  • Language of content
    eng
  • Publisher
    PsychOpen GOLD
  • Is version of
    https://doi.org/10.5964/jspp.v3i1.117
  • Keyword(s)
    political orientation
    en_US
  • Keyword(s)
    conservatism
    en_US
  • Keyword(s)
    neuroticism
    en_US
  • Keyword(s)
    satisfaction with life
    en_US
  • Keyword(s)
    system justification beliefs
    en_US
  • Dewey Decimal Classification number(s)
    150
  • Title
    Why do conservatives report being happier than liberals? The contribution of neuroticism
    en_US
  • DRO type
    article
  • Issue
    1
  • Journal title
    Journal of Social and Political Psychology
  • Page numbers
    89–102
  • Volume
    3
  • Visible tag(s)
    Version of Record