Maja Zupančič Tina Kavčič


The study investigated the effect of personality traits (wave 1), change in personality traits over a one-year time period (from wave 1 to wave 2), and life events over the past year (wave 2 reports) on three components of female university students’ (N = 280; mean age 20.2 years) subsequent (wave 2) subjective well-being, i.e. emotional (EWB), psychological (PWB), and social (SoWB). We applied the Big Five Inventory to evaluate personality, the Scale of Significant Life Events in Emerging Adulthood to assess the number of life events and student-perceived influence of these events on their lives, and the Mental Health Continuum – Short Form to measure EWB, PWB, and SoWB. Each of the Big Five traits played a significant and somewhat different role in predicting subsequent levels of the components of well-being, over and beyond background variables. Baseline levels of Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and positive life events were associated with both EWB and PWB. Whereas an increase in Extraversion and a decrease in Neuroticism predicted EWB, an increase in Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness contributed to PWB. Baseline levels of Extraversion and an increase in Agreeableness were also predictive of SoWB. In support to the validity of the three-component model of well-being, the findings suggest the Big Five as a significant force in shaping different aspects of female students’ well-being differentially, whereas the important but not extremely adverse or favourable life events within the past year show little influence above the effects of personality.