MA Research Paper


Master of Arts




Dr. Kate Choi and Dr. Patrick Denice

Delay of Publication



Context: During the search for a potential partner, individuals emphasize personality as a key factor. The Big Five personality types (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness) have been commonly used in social psychology literature to analyse personality types in relation to marital satisfaction and relationship outcomes (Botwin, Buss and Shakelford 1997; Holland & Roisman 2008). Objectives: The purpose of this study is to 1) analyse the relationships between the big five personality types and the transition into first marriage; and 2) explore how childhood socioeconomic status moderates the relationship between childhood personality types to first marriage. Data and Methods: I run a logistic regression using data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY97), which includes men and women born between 1980 and 1984 organized in person-year files (n= 2, 218). Each personality trait from the Big Five are categorized into levels of low, medium and high. Results: High levels of Agreeableness, Extraversion, Conscientiousness are associated with an increase in marriage, while Openness was associated with a delay in marriage. With all controls added, high levels of Extraversion, Conscientiousness and medium levels of Conscientiousness are associated with an increase in marriage. As well, high levels of familial religiosity in childhood were also associated with 18% increase risk in marriage. When at least one parent has a Bachelor’s degree, there is a 17% decrease in the transition to marriage. Similarly, when respondents have less than a high school education, they have a 31% decrease in the transition to marriage, while completing four or more years of college have 20% increase in the transition to marriage. Keywords: Big Five, Personality, Marriage Transition, Agreeableness, Openness, Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, First Marriage

Available for download on Monday, August 29, 2022

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