Extroversion, social support and life satisfaction in old age: a mediation model

Aging Ment Health. 2018 Aug;22(8):1063-1071. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2017.1330869. Epub 2017 May 31.


Objectives: The aim of this study was twofold: on the one hand to analyze whether extroversion predicts social support in older people, and on the other hand to determine if different types of social support mediate the effect that extroversion has on older people's life satisfaction.

Method: The sample comprised 406 community-dwelling older adults (M = 74.88, SD = 6.75) from urban areas of Granada, southern Spain.

Results: Extroversion was positively correlated with emotional (r = .23) and with affectionate support (r = .30). Extroversion and all types of social support also positively correlated with life satisfaction. The multiple mediation analysis revealed that when age, gender, marital status and loneliness were controlled, extroversion predicted emotional (B = .008, p < .01) and affectionate support (B = .015, p < .01) and emotional and affectionate support mediated the association between extroversion and life satisfaction (total effect: B = .034, SE = .0024, p < .001, r2 = .295). Results from this study highlight the fact supportive social relations are crucial for older people's life satisfaction. Also emotional and affectionate support constitutes important explanatory mechanisms of the indirect effect of extroversion on life satisfaction.

Conclusion: Personality traits should be considered when interventions aimed at promoting life satisfaction in old age and successful aging are designed.

Keywords: Extroversion; life satisfaction; mediation; social support; successful aging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Extraversion, Psychological*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Loneliness
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Social Support*
  • Spain