Moderating effect of sex in relation to personality and psychological wellbeing in college students

  • Sebastián Urquijo Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina
  • María Laura Andrés Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina
  • Macarena del Valle Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina
  • Raquel Rodríguez-Carvajal Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, España
Keywords: Personalidad, sexo, bienestar psicológico, estudiantes universitarios


The psychological well-being (PW) is a quality of life indicator at individual and collective levels. The university population is vulnerable to low levels of PW. Sex and personality features affect the PW. To deepen one’s knowledge of these factors would be of value to the development of interventions – according to the specific requirements for college students. The objective of this paper is to compare the predictive capacity of sex and personality features on the dimensions of the PW, and analyze if sex has a moderating effect in relation to personality and PW. We evaluated to 407 college students through self-report questionnaires. Sex resulted a significant predictor for autonomy and personal growth. The personality features showed predictive capacity over the dimensions of PW: extraversion, neuroticism, self-acceptance awareness, and control of the environment; extraversion and pleasantness over positive relationships; extraversion, neuroticism, and openness to the experience over autonomy; awareness, pleasantness and openness to the experience over personal growth and the five features on the purpose in life. Sex presented a moderating effect on the relationship of the conscience features with the personal growth dimension. The personality features were associated with the dimensions of PW following most of the relations profiles hypothesized by the literature. This work delves into the knowledge of the factors that influence on PW. It is hoped that this will contribute to develop interventions destined to improve the quality of life of this population group.


Download data is not yet available.


Augusto Landa, J. M., Pulido Martos, M., & López-Zafra, E. (2010). Emotional Intelligence and Personality Traits as Predictors of Psychological Well-Being in Spanish Undergraduates. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 38(6), 783-793. doi: 10.2224/ sbp.2010.38.6.783

Bardi, A. & Ryff, C. D. (2007). Interactive effects of traits on adjustment to a life transition. Journal of Personality, 75(5), 955-983. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2007.00462.x

Benet-Martínez, V. & John, O. (1998). Los cinco grandes across cultures and ethnic groups: Multitrait multimethod analyses of the Big Five in Spanish and English. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(3), 729-750. doi: 10.1037/00223514.75.3.729

Bolger, N. & Zuckerman, A. (1995). A framework for studying personality in the stress process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(5), 890-902. doi: 10.1037/00223514.69.5.890

Burris, J. L., Brechting, E. H., Salsman, J., & Carlson, C. R. (2009). Factors associated with the psychological well-being and distress of university students. Journal of American College Health, 57(5), 536-544. doi: 10.3200/ JACH.57.5.536-544

Chang, E. C. (2006). Perfectionism and dimensions of psychological well-being in a college student sample: a test of a stress-mediation model. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 25(9), 1001-1022. doi: 10.1521/ jscp.2006.25.9.1001

Chrisler, J. C. & McCreary, D. R. (2010). Handbook of Gender Research in Psychology. New York, NY: Springer.

Compton, W. C. (1998). Measures of mental health and a five factor theory of personality. Psychological Reports, 83(1), 371-381. doi: 10.2466/PR0.83.5.371-381

Cooke, R., Bewick, B., Barkham, M., Bradley, M., & Audin, K. (2006). Measuring, monitoring and managing the psychological well-being of first year university students. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 34(4), 505-517. doi: 10.1080/03069880600942624

Costa, P. T. & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Revised NEO Personality Inventory and NEO Five- Factor Inventory: Professional manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.

Costa, P. T., Jr., Terracciano, A., & McCrae, R. R. (2001). Gender differences in personality traits across cultures: Robust and surprising findings. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81(2), 322-331. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.81.2.322

De Miguel-Negredo, A. (2005). Diferencias de edad y género en el NEO-PI-R en dos muestras con distinto nivel académico [Age and gender differences on theNEO-PI-R in two samples with different academic levels]. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 5(1), 13-31.

DeNeve, K. M. & Cooper, H. (1998). The happy personality: a meta-analysis of 137 personality traits and subjective wellbeing. Psychological Bulletin, 124(2), 197-229. doi: 10.1037/ 0033-2909.124.2.197

Díaz, D., Rodríguez-Carvajal, R., Blanco, A., Moreno-Jiménez, B., Gallardo, I., Valle, C., & van Dierendonck, D. (2006). Adaptación española de las Escalas de Bienestar Psicológico Ryff. Psicothema, 18(3), 572-577.

Eagly, A. H. (2009). The his and hers of prosocial behavior: an examination of the social psychology of gender. American Psychologist, 64(8), 644-58. doi: 10.1037/0003066X.64.8.644

Fine, C. (2010). Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.

García-Alandete, J., Lozano, B. S., Nohales, P. S., & Martínez, E. R. (2013). Predictive role of meaning in life on psychological well-being and gender specific differences. Acta Colombiana de Psicología, 16(1), 17-24.

Grant, S., Langan-Fox, J., & Anglim, J. (2009). The big five traits as predictor of subjective and psychological well-being. Psychological Reports, 105(1), 205-231.

Heller, D., Watson, D., & Ilies, R. (2004). The role of person versus situation in life satisfaction: a critical examination. Psychological Bulletin, 130(4), 574-600. doi: 10.1037/00332909.130.4.574

John, O. P., Donahue, E. M., & Kentle, R. L. (1991). The Big Five Inventory- Versions 4a and 54. Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley, Institute of Personality and Social Research.

Jordan-Young, R. (2010). Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Keyes, C. L. M., Shmotkin, D., & Ryff, C. D. (2002). Optimizing well-being: the empirical encounter of two traditions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82(6), 1007-1022. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.82.6.1007

Ledesma, R. D., Sánchez, R., & Díaz-Lázaro, C. M. (2011). Adjective checklist to assess the big five personality factors in the Argentine population. Journal of Personality Assessment, 93(1), 46-55. doi: 10.1080/ 00223891.2010.513708

Lindfors, P., Berntsson, L., & Lundberg, U. (2006). Factor structure of Ryff’s psychological well-being scales in Swedish female and male white-collar workers. Personality and Individual Differences, 40(6), 1213-1222.

Magnus, K., Diener, E., Fujita, F., & Payot, W. (1993). Extraversion and neuroticism as predictors of objective life events: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65(5), 1046-1053. doi: 10.1037/00223514.65.5.1046

Manga, D., Ramos, F., & Morán, C. (2004).The Spanish norms of the NEOFive-Factor Inventory: New data and analyses for its improvement. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 4(3), 639-648.

McCrae, R. R. & Costa, P. T. (1991). Adding Liebe und Arbeit: The full five-factor model and well-being. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17(2), 227-232.

McCrae, R. R., & John, O. P. (1992). An introduction to the five-factor model and its applications. Journal of Personality, 60(2), 175-215. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.1992.tb00970.x

Rosa-Rodríguez, Y., Negrón Cartagena, N., Maldonado Peña, Y., Quiñones Berrios, A., & Toledo Osorio, N. (2015). Dimensiones de bienestar psicológico y apoyo social percibido con relación al sexo y nivel de estudio en universitarios. Avances en Psicología Latinoamericana, 33(1), 31-43.

Ryan, R. M. & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: a review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 141-166. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.52.1.141

Ryff, C. & Keyes, C. (1995). The structure of psychological well-being revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(4), 719-727. doi: 10.1037/00223514.69.4.719

Ryff, C. & Singer, B. (1996). Psychological well-being: Meaning, measurement, and implications for psychotherapy research. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 65(1), 14-23.

Ryff, C. (1989a). Beyond Ponce de Leon and life satisfaction: New directions in quest of successful aging. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 12(1), 35-55. doi: 10.1177/016502548901200102

Ryff, C. (1989b). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57(6), 1069-1081. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.57.6.1069

Ryff, C. D. (1991). Possible Selves in Adulthood and Old Age: A Tale of Shifting Horizons. Psychology and Aging, 6(2), 286-295. doi: 10.1037/0882-7974.6.2.286

Ryff, C., Keyes, C., & Hughes, D. (2003). Status inequalities, perceived discrimination, and eudaimonic well-being: Do the challenges of minority life hone purpose and growth? Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 44(3), 275-291. doi: 10.2307/ 1519779

Schmitt, D. P., Realo, A., Voracek, M., & Allik, J. (2008). Why can’t a man be more like a woman? Sex differences in Big Five personality traits across 55 cultures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(1), 168-182

Schmutte, P. S. & Ryff, C. D. (1997). Personality and well-being: reexamining methods and meanings. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73(3), 549-559. doi: 0.1037/00223514.73.3.549

Siegler, I. C. & Brummet, B. H. (2000). Associations among NEO personality assessments and well-being at midlife: facet-level analyses. Psychology and Aging, 15(4), 710-714.

Siegrist, J. (2003). Subjective well-being: new conceptual and methodological developments in health-related social sciences. ESF SCSS Exploratory Workshop on Income, Interactions and Subjective Well-being. Paris.

Steel, P., Schmidt, J., & Shultz, J. (2008). Refining the relationship between personality and subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 134(1), 138-161. doi: 10.1037/00332909.134.1.138

Strauser, D. R., Lustig, D. C., & Ciftci, A. (2008). Psychological well-being: its relation to work personality, vocational identity, and career thoughts. Journal of Psychology, 142(1), 21-35. doi: 10.3200/JRLP.142.1.21-36

van Dierendonck, D. (2004) The construct validity of Ryff’s Scale of Psychological well-being and its extension with spiritual well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 36(3), 629-644.

Visani, D., Albieri, E., Offidani, E., Ottolini, F., Tomba, E., & Ruini, C. (2011). Gender differences in psychological wellbeing and distress during adolescence. En I. Brdar (Ed.), The human pursuit of well-being: A cultural approach (pp. 6570). New York, NY: Springer Science + Business Media.

Warner, R. M. (2008). Moderation: Tests for Interaction in Multiple Regression. In R. M. Warner (Ed.), Applied Statistics: From Bivariate Through Multivariate Techniques (Second., Vol. 2, pp. 611-644). Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

Wood, A. M., Joseph, S., & Maltby, J. (2009). Gratitude predicts psychological well-being above the Big Five facets. Personality and Individual Differences, 46(4), 443-447. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2008.11.012
How to Cite
Urquijo, S., Andrés, M. L., del Valle, M., & Rodríguez-Carvajal, R. (2015, December 10). Moderating effect of sex in relation to personality and psychological wellbeing in college students. LIBERABIT. Revista Peruana De Psicología, 21(2), 329 - 340. Retrieved from
Research articles