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


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.

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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.


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