Human wellbeing is influenced by personality traits, in particular neuroticism and extraversion. Little is known about which facets that drive these associations, and the role of genes and environments. Our aim was to identify personality facets that are important for life satisfaction, and to estimate the contribution of genetic and environmental factors in the association between personality and life satisfaction. Norwegian twins (N = 1,516, age 50–65, response rate 71%) responded to a personality instrument (NEO-PI-R) and the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS). Regression analyses and biometric modeling were used to examine influences from personality traits and facets, and to estimate genetic and environmental contributions. Neuroticism and extraversion explained 24%, and personality facets accounted for 32% of the variance in life satisfaction. Four facets were particularly important; anxiety and depression in the neuroticism domain, and activity and positive emotions within extraversion. Heritability of life satisfaction was 0.31 (0.22–0.40), of which 65% was explained by personality-related genetic influences. The remaining genetic variance was unique to life satisfaction. The association between personality and life satisfaction is driven mainly by four, predominantly emotional, personality facets. Genetic factors play an important role in these associations, but influence life satisfaction also beyond the effects of personality.
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