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01-10-2018 | Research Paper | Issue 7/2019

Journal of Happiness Studies 7/2019

Quiet Flourishing: The Authenticity and Well-Being of Trait Introverts Living in the West Depends on Extraversion-Deficit Beliefs

Journal:
Journal of Happiness Studies > Issue 7/2019
Authors:
Rodney B. Lawn, Gavin R. Slemp, Dianne A. Vella-Brodrick

Abstract

Introversion–extraversion is a particularly salient personality trait, whereby “extraverts” are known to be more outgoing, bold, assertive, active, and cheerful than “introverts”. These extraverted attributes are socially desirable in individualistic Western cultures, and some evidence suggests that extraverts experience better person-environment fit and greater well-being than introverts in these cultures. However, what remains unclear is how living in a context that values and emphasises extraversion may impact upon the well-being of introverts, and how introverts might improve their well-being. This study aimed to explore this question via a moderated mediation model. Adult participants in Australia (N = 349) completed scales of trait introversion–extraversion, dispositional authenticity, and well-being. The extent to which participants wanted to be more extraverted than they were currently—labelled an extraversion-deficit belief—was also measured. Participants overwhelmingly indicated that they lived in a society where extraversion was more socially desirable than introversion, and most participants held extraversion-deficit beliefs. Moderated mediation analysis showed that higher trait introversion–extraversion predicted well-being directly as well as indirectly via dispositional authenticity, but this indirect pathway depended on extraversion-deficit beliefs. Extraversion-deficit beliefs were more important for the authenticity and well-being of introverts than for extraverts. Overall, we interpret our findings to mean that introverts in the West might be more authentic, and hence boost their overall well-being, if they can change their beliefs to become more accepting of their introversion.

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