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The American Dream in a Swedish Representative Sample: Personality Traits Predict Life Outcomes Better than Childhood Background
University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education. University West, Sweden. (Socialpsykologi)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0629-353X
University of Skövde, School of Health and Education. University of Skövde, Health and Education. (Socialpsykologi)
2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The American Dream is that any individual, not regarding family background, can achieve what they desire, in terms of life, economic liberty, and happiness. An indication of the American dream would be if individual adult personality traits predicted life outcomes better than childhood background.

A sample of the Swedish population, representative in age, sex, and occupation (N = 5,280) was 2012 measured on adult personality traits, childhood socioeconomic status (SES), and 3 life outcomes – education, income, and life outcome satisfaction.

Childhood SES accounted for almost twice the disattenuated variance (22%) compared to personality (12%) in educational attainment, while personality accounted for almost twice the variance (12%) compared to childhood SES (7%) in annual income. Life outcome satisfaction was only predicted by personality (37%) and not by childhood SES (0%). Moreover, particularly the traits extraversion and neuroticism showed a full compensating catch-up effect on high childhood SES in annual income.

Expressions of personality may be growing in predictive importance and constitute a societal trademark of the American dream being present. Sweden is a renowned progressive, individualistic, and egalitarian country, which could make the results of wide-reaching interest. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016.
National Category
Social Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-11683OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-11683DiVA: diva2:869055
Conference
2nd World Conference on Personality, Búzios, Brazil, March 31 to April 4, 2016
Available from: 2015-11-12 Created: 2015-11-12 Last updated: 2017-11-27Bibliographically approved

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Kajonius, Petri J.Roos, Magnus
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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • de-DE
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  • nn-NB
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Output format
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