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Personality type can help predict who’s single or in a relationship, and how happy they are, says study

The phrase “single life” may conjure images of a busy “Sex and the City”-like social calendar, packed with dates and drama. But researchers at the University of Toronto say that most singles are actually introverts-a far cry from the extroverted stereotypes we often see depicted in movies and on TV.

In a study published recently in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, the researchers reveal how certain personality traits-particularly how extroverted, conscientious and neurotic someone is-predict who is likelier to be single or in a relationship.

“As marriage rates decline and more people live alone, our study contributes to a more complex picture of single lives that goes beyond the misleading stereotype of the miserable single person,” says lead author Elaine Hoan, a Ph.D. candidate in in the lab of Geoff MacDonald, a professor in the department of psychology in the Faculty of Arts & Science.

“While on average people in relationships are more satisfied with their lives than single people, there are many happy singles-relationships don’t play as big of a role in one’s overall life satisfaction as you may think. We found that personality, more than relationship status, determines who is happy with their life and who isn’t.”

Participants completed a set of questionnaires that measured personality, satisfaction with relationship status, sexual satisfaction and life satisfaction to shed light on how personality traits affect well-being in the context of relationship status.

For the personality measurement, Hoan used the “Big Five” model of personality, which focuses on the following traits: extroversion (outgoing and high-energy), agreeableness (compassionate and respectful), conscientiousness (productive and dependable), neuroticism (anxious and depressed) and openness (curious and creative). Read more…