Personality Fit and Positive Interventions: Extraverted and Introverted Individuals Benefit from Different Happiness Increasing Strategies

DOI: 10.4236/psych.2012.312A172   PDF   HTML     7,885 Downloads   13,990 Views   Citations


The current investigation examined if introverts and extraverts benefit differentially from specific positive psychology interventions. Across two studies participants completed various interventions: three good things, gratitude visit, savoring, signature strength, and active-constructive responding. In study 1, each participant (N = 150) completed 1 of the 5 interventions over a one-week period. All 5 interventions led to increases in happiness, t(144) = 3.80, p < .001, and reductions in depressive symptoms t(144) = 5.20, p <.001. Neither exercise was more beneficial overall. The results of an ANCOVA (with baseline levels as a covariate) found that the interaction term for extraversion and condition was at a trend level F(4, 139) = 2.36, p = .056 and planned contrast analyses supported a pattern of person-activity fit. Extraverts benefited more from the gratitude visit and savoring exercises, whereas introverts benefited more from the active-constructive responding, signature strength, and three good things exercises. In study 2, participants (N = 85) were assigned to one of three groups: the gratitude visit performed either in-person, over the phone, or via mail. Participants completed each exercise over a one-week period. No differential efficacy was found for the 3 interventions, F(1, 74) = .056, p = .95. Results from Study 1 were replicated as the gratitude visit in person was more beneficial for extraverts than introverts, although these results were not significant, t(25) = 1.01, p = .32. Pooling the participants who completed the gratitude visit in person across the two studies into a single statistical test showed that the gratitude visit was more beneficial for extraverts than introverts t(55) = 2.03, p = .04, d = .55. These studies provide support for the notion that introverts and extroverts may benefit from pursuing different strategies to promote happiness.

Share and Cite:

Schueller, S. (2012). Personality Fit and Positive Interventions: Extraverted and Introverted Individuals Benefit from Different Happiness Increasing Strategies. Psychology, 3, 1166-1173. doi: 10.4236/psych.2012.312A172.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Ashton, M. C., Lee, K., & Paunonen, S. V. (2002). What is the central feature of extraversion? Social attention versus reward sensitivity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 245-252. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.83.1.245
[2] Boehm, J. K., Lyubomirsky, S., & Sheldon, K. M. (2011). A longitudinal experimental study comparing the effectiveness of happiness enhancing strategies in Anglo Americans and Asian Americans. Cognition & Emotion, 25, 1263-1272. doi:10.1080/02699931.2010.541227
[3] DeNeve, K. M., & Cooper, H. (1994). The happy personality: A meta analysis of 137 personality traits and subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 197-229. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.124.2.197
[4] Diener, E. (1984). Subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 95, 542-575. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.95.3.542
[5] Diener, E., & Emmons, R. A. (1984). The independence of positive and negative affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47, 1105-1117. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.47.5.1105
[6] Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71-75. doi:10.1207/s15327752jpa4901_13
[7] Diener, E., Larsen, R. J., & Emmons, R. A. (1984). Person × situation interactions: Choice of situations and congruence response models. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47, 580-592. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.47.3.580
[8] Duckworth, A. L., Steen, T. A., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2005). Positive psychology in clinical practice. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 1, 629-651. doi:10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.1.102803.144154
[9] Emmons, R. A., Diener, E., & Larsen, R. J. (1986). Choice and avoidance of everyday situations and affect congruence: Two models of reciprocal interactionism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 815-826. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.51.4.815
[10] Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 377-389. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.84.2.377
[11] Fordyce, M. W. (1977). Development of a program to increase personal happiness. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 24, 511-521. doi:10.1037/0022-0167.24.6.511
[12] Fordyce, M. W. (1983). A program to increase happiness: Further studies. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 30, 483-498. doi:10.1037/0022-0167.30.4.483
[13] Gable, S. L., Reis, H. T., Impett, E. A., & Asher, E. R. (2004). What do you do when things go right? The intrapersonal and interpersonal benefits of sharing positive events. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87, 228-245. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.87.2.228
[14] Giannopoulos, V. L., & Vella-Brodrick, D. A. (2011). Effects of positive interventions and orientations to happiness on subjective well being. Journal of Positive Psychology, 6, 95-105. doi:10.1080/17439760.2010.545428
[15] Gosling, S. D., Rentfrow, P. J., & Swann, W. B. (2003). A very brief measure of the big-five personality domains. Journal of Research in Personality, 37, 504-528. doi:10.1016/S0092-6566(03)00046-1
[16] Jose, P. E., Lim, B. T., & Bryant, F. B. (2012). Does savoring increase happiness? A daily diary study. Journal of Positive Psychology, 7, 176-187. doi:10.1080/17439760.2012.671345
[17] Lucas, R. E., & Diener, E. (2001). Understanding extraverts’ enjoyment of social situations: The importance of pleasantness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 343-356. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.81.2.343
[18] Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The how of happiness: A scientific approach to getting the life you want. New York: Penguin Press.
[19] Lyubomirsky, S., Dickerhoof, R., Boehm, J. K., & Sheldon, K. M. (2011). Becoming happier takes both a will and a proper way: An experimental longitudinal intervention to boost well-being. Emotion, 11, 391-402. doi:10.1037/a0022575
[20] Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, K. M., & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change. Review of General Psychology, 9, 111-131. doi:10.1037/1089-2680.9.2.111
[21] Lyubomirsky, S., Tkach, C., & Sheldon, K. M. (2004). Pursuing sustained happiness through random acts of kindness and counting one’s blessings: Tests of two six-week interventions. Unpublished raw data. doi:10.1037/1089-2680.9.2.111
[22] Mongrain, M., Chin, J. M., Shapira, L. B. (2010). Practicing compassion increases happiness and self-esteem. Journal of Happiness Studies, 12, 963-981. doi:10.1007/s10902-010-9239-1
[23] Murray, G., Judd, F., Jackson, H., Fraser, C., Komoti., A., Hodgins, G. et al. (2005). The five factor model and accessibility/remoteness: Novel evidence for person-environment interaction. Personality and Individual Differences, 39, 715-725. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2005.02.007
[24] Parks, A. C., Della Porta, M. D., Pierce, R. S., Zilca, R., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2012). Pursuing happiness in everyday life: The characteristics and behaviors of online happiness seekers. Emotion. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/a0028587
[25] Peterson, C., Park, N., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2005). Orientations to happiness and life satisfaction: The full versus the empty life. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6, 25-41. doi:10.1007/s10902-004-1278-z
[26] Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1, 385-401. doi:10.1177/014662167700100306
[27] Schueller, S. M. (2012). Person-activity fit. IIn A. C. Parks (Ed.), The Handbook of Positive Interventions. New York: Wiley-Interscience.
[28] Schueller, S. M. (2011). To each his own well-being boosting intervention: Using preference to guide selection. Journal of Positive Psychology, 6, 300-313. doi:10.1080/17439760.2011.577092
[29] Schueller, S. M. (2010). Preferences for positive psychology exercises. Journal of Positive Psychology, 5, 192-203. doi:10.1080/17439761003790948
[30] Seligman, M. E. P., Rashid, T., & Parks, A. C. (2006). Positive psychotherapy. American Psychologist, 61, 774-788. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.61.8.774
[31] Seligman, M. E. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60, 410-421. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.60.5.410
[32] Sergeant, S., & Mongrain, M. (2011). Are positive psychology exercises helpful for people with depressive personality styles? Journal of Positive Psychology, 6, 260-272. doi:10.1080/17439760.2011.577089
[33] Shapira, L. B., & Mongrain, M. (2010). The benefits of self-compassion and optimism exercises for individuals vulnerable to depression. Journal of Positive Psychology, 5, 377-389. doi:10.1080/17439760.2010.516763
[34] Sin, N. L., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2009). Enhancing well-being and alleviating depressive symptoms with positive psychology interventions: A practice-friendly meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65, 467-487. doi:10.1002/jclp.20593
[35] Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1063-1070. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.54.6.1063

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2020 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.