How to build a Monster Model of Well-being: Part 4

This is part 4 in a mini-series of blogs that illustrate the usefulness of structural equation modeling to test causal models of well-being. The first causal model of well-being was introduced in 1980 by Costa and McCrae. Although hundreds of studies have examined correlates of well-being since then, hardly any progress has been made in theory development. In 1984, Diener (1984) distinguished between top-down and bottom-up theories of well-being, but empirical tests of the different models have not settled this issue. The monster model is a first attempt to develop a causal model of well-being that corrects for measurement error and fits empirical data.

The first part (Part1) introduced the measurement of well-being and the relationship between affect and well-being. The second part added measures of satisfaction with life-domains (Part 2). Part 2 ended with the finding that most of the variance in global life-satisfaction judgments is based on evaluations of important life domains. Satisfaction in important life domains also influences the amount of happiness and sadness individuals experience, whereas positive affect had no direct effect on life-evaluations. In contrast, sadness had a unique negative effect on life-evaluations that was not mediated by life domains.

Part 3 added extraversion to the model. This was a first step towards a test of Costa and McCrae’s assumption that extraversion has a direct effect on positive affect (happiness) and no effect on negative affect (sadness). Without life domains in the model, the results replicated Costa and McCrae’s (1980) results. Yes, personality psychology has replicable findings. However, when domain satisfactions were added to the model, the story changed. Costa and McCrae (1980) assumed that extraversion increases well-being because it has a direct effect on cheerfulness (positive affect) that adds to well-being. However, in the new model, the effect of extraversion on life-satisfaction was mediated by life domains rather than positive affect. The strongest mediation was found for romantic satisfaction. Extraverts tended to have higher romantic satisfaction and romantic satisfaction contributed significantly to overall life-satisfaction. Other domains like recreation and work are also possible mediators, but the sample size was too small to produce more conclusive evidence.

Part 4 is a simple extension of the model in part 3 by adding the other personality dimensions to the model. I start with neuroticism because it is by far the most consistent and strongest predictor of well-being. Costa and McCrae (1980) assumed that neuroticism is a general disposition to experience more negative affect without any relation to positive affect. However, most studies show that neuroticism has a negative relationship with positive aspect as well, although it is not as strong as the relationship with negative affect. Moreover, neuroticism is also related to lower satisfaction in many life domains. Thus, the model simply allowed for neuroticism to be a predictor of both affects and all domain satisfaction. The only assumption made by this model is that the negative effect of neuroticism on life-satisfaction is fully mediated by domain satisfaction and affect.

Figure 1 shows the model and the path coefficients for neuroticism. The first important finding is that neuroticism has a strong direct effect on sadness that is independent of satisfaction with various life domains. This finding suggests that neuroticism may have a direct effect on individuals’ mood rather than interacting with situational factors that are unique to individual life domains. The second finding is that neuroticism has sizeable effects on all life domains ranging from b = -.19 for satisfaction with housing to -31 for satisfaction with friendships.

Following the various paths from neuroticism to life-satisfaction produces a total effect of b = -.38, which confirms the strong negative effect of neuroticism on well-being. About a quarter of this effect is directly mediated by negative affect (sadness), b = -.09. The rest is mediated by the top-down effect of neuroticism on satisfaction with life domains and the bottom-up effect of life domains on global life-evaluations.

McCrae and Costa (1991) expanded their model to include the other Big Five factors. They proposed that agreeableness has a positive influence on well-being that is mediated by romantic satisfaction (adding Liebe) and that conscientiousness has a positive influence on well-being that is mediated by work satisfaction (adding Arbeit). Although this proposal was made three decades ago, it has never been seriously tested because few studies measure domain satisfaction (but see Heller et al., 2004).

To test these hypotheses, I added conscientiousness and agreeableness to the model. Adding both together was necessary because agreeableness and conscientiousness were correlated as reflected in a large modification index when the two factors were assumed to be independent. This does not mean that agreeableness and conscientiousness are correlated factors, an issue that is debated among personality psychologists (Anusic et al., 2009; Biesanz & West, 2004; DeYoung, 2006). One problem is that secondary loadings can produce spurious correlations among scale scores that were used for this model. This could be examined by using a more complex item-level model in the future. For now, agreeableness and conscientiousness were allowed to correlate. The results showed no direct effects of conscientiousness on PA, NA, and LS. In contrast, agreeableness was a positive predictor of PA and a negative predictor of NA. Most important are the relationships with domain satisfactions.

Confirming McCrae and Costa’s (1991) prediction, work satisfaction was predicted by conscientiousness, b = .21, z = 3.4. Also confirming McCrae and Costa, romantic satisfaction was predicted by agreeableness, although the effect size was small, b = .13, z = 2.9. Moreover, conscientiousness was an even stronger predictor, b =.28, z = 6.0. This confirms the old saying “marriage is work.” Also not predicted by McCrae and Costa was that conscientiousness is related to higher housing satisfaction, b = .20, z = 3.7, presumably because conscientious individuals take better care of their houses. The other domains were not significantly related to conscientiousness, |b| < .1.

Also not predicted by McCrae and Costa are additional relationships of agreeableness with other domains such as health, b = .18, z = 3.7, housing, a = .17, z = 2.9, recreation, b = .25, z = 4.0, and friendships, b = .35, z = 5.9. The only domains that were not predicted by agreeableness were financial satisfaction, b = .05, z = 0.8, and work satisfaction, b = .07, z = 1.3. Some of these relationships could reflects benefits for social relationships aside from romantic relationships. Thus, the results are broadly consistent with McCrae and Costa’s assumption that agreeableness is beneficial for well-being.

The total effect of agreeableness in this dataset was b = .21, z = 4.34. All of this effect was mediated by indirect paths, but only the path through romantic satisfaction achieved statistical significance due to a lack of power, b = .03, z = 2.6.

The total effect of conscientiousness was b = .18, z = 4.14. Three indirect paths were significant, namely work, b = .06, z = 3.3. romantic satisfaction, b = .06, z = 4.2, and housing satisfaction, b = .04, z = 2.51.

Overall, these results confirm previous findings that agreeableness and conscientiousness are also positive predictors of well-being and shed first evidence on potential mediators of these relationships. These results need to be replicated in datasets from other populations.

When openness was added to the model, a modification index suggested a correlation between extraversion and openness, which has been found in several multi-method studies (Anusic et al., 2009; DeYoung, 2006). Thus, the two factors were allowed to correlate. Openness had no direct effects on positive affect, negative affect, or life-satisfaction. Moreover, there were only two, weak, just significant relationships with domain satisfaction for work, b = .12, z = 2.0, and health, b = .12, z = 2.2. Consistent with meta-analysis, the total effect is negligible, b = .06, z = 1.3. In short, the results are consistent with previous studies and show that openness is not a predictor of higher or lower well-being. To keep the model simple, it is therefore possible to omit openness from the monster model.

Model Comparisons

At this point, we have built a complex, but plausible model that links personality traits to subjective well-being by means of domain satisfaction and affect. However, just because this model is plausible and fits the data, does not ensure that it is the right model. An important step in causal modeling is to consider alternative models and to do model comparisons. Overall fit is less important than relatively better fit among alternative models.

The previous model assumed that domain satisfaction causes higher levels of PA and lower levels of NA. Accordingly, affect is a summary of the affect generated in different life domains. This assumption is consistent with bottom-up models of well-being. However, a plausible alternative model assumes that affect is largely influenced by internal dispositions which in turn color our experiences of different life domains. Accordingly neuroticism may simply be a disposition to be more often in a negative mood and this negative mood colors perception of marital satisfaction, job satisfaction, and so on. Costa and McCrae (1980) proposed that neuroticism and extraversion are global affective dispositions. So, it makes sense to postulate that their influence on domain satisfaction and life satisfaction is mediated by affect. McCrae and Costa (1991) postulated that agreeableness and conscientiousness are not affective dispositions, but rather only instrumental for higher satisfaction in some life domains. Thus, their effects should not be mediated by affect. Consistent with this assumption, conscientiousness showed only significant relationships with some domains, including work satisfaction. However, agreeableness was a positive predictor of all life domains, suggesting that it is also a broad affective disposition. I thus modeled agreeableness as a third global affective disposition (see Figure 2).

The effect sizes for affect on domain satisfaction are shown in Table 1.

A comparison of the fit indices for the top-down and bottom-up models shows that both models meet standard criteria for global model fit (CFI > .95; RMSEA < .06). In addition, the results show no clear superiority of one model over the other. CFI and RMSEA show slightly better fit for the bottom-up model, but the Bayesian Information Criterion favors the more parsimonious top-down model. Thus, the data are unable to distinguish between the two models.

Both model assume that conscientiousness is instrumental for higher well-being in only some domains. The key difference between the models is the assumption of the top-down model that changes in domain satisfaction have no influence on affective experiences. That is, an increase in relationship satisfaction does not produce higher levels of PA or a decrease in job satisfaction does not produce a change in NA. These competing predictions can be tested in longitudinal studies.

Conclusion

To conclude part 4 of the monster model series. As surprising as it may sound, the present results provide one of the first tests of McCrae and Costa’s causal theory of well-being (Costa & McCrae, 1980, McCrae & Costa, 1991). Although the present results are consistent with their proposal that agreeableness and conscientiousness are instrumental for higher well-being because they foster higher romantic and job satisfaction, respectively, the present results also show that this model is too simplistic. For example, conscientiousness may also increase well-being because it contributes to higher romantic satisfaction (marriage is work).

One limitation of the present model is the focus on the Big Five as a measure of personality traits. The Big Five are higher-order personality traits of more specific personality traits that are often called facets. Facet level traits may predict additional variance in well-being that is not captured by the Big Five (Schimmack ,Oishi, Furr, & Funder, 2004). Part 5 will add the strongest facet predictors to the model, namely the Depressiveness facet of Neuroticism and the Cheerfulness facet of Extraversion (see also Payne & Schimmack, 2020).

Stay tuned.

Viewpoint: As part of global shift, Utrecht University is changing how it evaluates its researchers | Science|Business

Many scientists are transitioning to a new way of working, known as open science, which will require new ways of evaluating researchers’ work. At Utrecht University we are adapting the reward system so it will incentivise this shift. The change that has received the most public attention, ditching the publishing metric known as the journal impact factor, is important, but it’s just one step in a much larger transformation. Through open science, researchers and research administrators seek to improve the quality, reproducibility and social impact of research. Open science includes open access publishing, so citizens and peers can access the fruits of publicly-funded research without paying for the privilege, and moving to a system of FAIR data, making information easy for researchers to find, access, and reuse. Open science also includes software sharing.

All publishers must provide researchers with clarity and transparency on Open Access – CESAER

“On 25 May 2021, more than 880 universities and research-performing and research-funding organisations united within CESAER, EUA and Science Europe call on all publishers to stop requiring researchers to sign over their rights and to end the use of restrictions and embargoes. The joint statement, signed by the presidents of the three organisations, is a strong show of support for Open Science and Open Access.

The statement expresses deep concern regarding the unclear practices of some publishers, in particular the examples recently reported by cOAlition S, that complicate and confuse matters for researchers. The organisations urge publishers to reconsider their position and modernise their approaches in a way that fully respects researchers’ rights, including sharing their peer-reviewed research findings without restrictions or embargoes.

Notably, the statement declares that researchers who wish to deposit their author-accepted manuscript in a repository with an open license (e.g. CC BY), and without any embargo, must be able to do so.

Currently, publishers commonly require authors to sign exclusive publishing agreements that restrict what authors can do with their research findings. The statement urges this outdated system to be replaced and supports a diversity of models for the open dissemination of research for the greater benefit of society….”

Voices from the OA Books Community Summary: The Great Polyphony – Open Access Books Network

“At the end of May 2021 the most significant series of events hosted by the Open Access Books Network so far, Voices from the OA Books Community, came to an end. The series, initiated in November 2020 at the OPERAS conference, was devoted to exploring different aspects of policy for OA books, to gather thorough and wide-ranging feedback from the community that could inform the forthcoming Plan S guidance for books. We discussed funding models, policy scope, quality assurance, green OA, discoverability and metadata, rights retention, and licensing.

The OABN was thrilled to see that the series attracted a large number of stakeholders, with voices coming from different backgrounds and economic and geographical circumstances. In all, we gathered around 450 participants — publishers, funders, OA policymakers, researchers, librarians, and infrastructure providers – from Europe to the US to Latin America. This exceptional attendance proved that the research community is engaged and willing to take action when it comes to shaping a Plan S policy for OA books. 

We listened to a great polyphony of voices and recorded them in notes, videos, and automated transcripts. Based on this material, SPARC Europe collated the evidence to produce a document that we think reflects all the diverse voices we heard, whilst organising and summarising the main areas of agreement or contention. In this process, the priority was to record all the voices as truthfully as possible. 

We are happy to present you with the outcomes of these efforts today. Drafts of the summarizing document and an introduction highlighting key takeaways, are available here and will remain open until 12 August 2021. After that time, SPARC Europe will prepare the final version of the document, which will be presented to cOAlition S in early September 2021….”

Open access: 54% of Victoria University research articles were open | Mirage News

“An analysis of journal articles published by Victoria University (VU) researchers in 2019 indicates that over half of the journal articles published were freely accessible.

Based on a methodology developed by New Zealand researchers to determine how many published journal articles were free-to-access, an analysis of journal articles published by VU researchers in 2019 indicates that 54% of VU research articles were open.

VU had a higher percentage of open access articles compared to the percentage recorded for all New Zealand universities where 41% of journal articles were open access.

While the VU figure is a pleasing result, the percentage could have been even higher. Nearly all the remaining closed articles published in 2019 had the potential to be open if the author accepted manuscripts were added to the VU Research Repository (VURR)….”

Notre Dame launches platform for online access to library, museum holdings | News | Notre Dame News | University of Notre Dame

“The Hesburgh Libraries and the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame have launched Marble (Museum, Archives, Rare Books and Libraries Exploration) — an online teaching and research platform designed to make distinctive cultural heritage collections from across the University accessible through a single portal.

The development of Marble was made possible, in part, by a three-and-one-half-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create an open-access, unified software solution that would enable universities to access museum and library holdings through a single online platform….

The code for the Marble project was developed and will be maintained by the Hesburgh Libraries development team. The platform code is openly licensed under an Apache 2.0 license and available on GitHub. Project documentation, technical diagrams, collaborative processes and best practices are published on the Open Science Framework….”

More Unexpected Consequences: How the Plan S Transformative Journal Route Favors Larger Incumbent Publishers – The Scholarly Kitchen

“But once you read the Transformative Journal reporting requirements, you will realize that this route is likely impossible for journals other than those from larger and wealthier publishers. Once again, a well-intentioned policy has created further inequities in scholarly communication….

Transformative Journals (TJs) are one route offered by cOAlition S “to encourage publishers to transition to immediate Open Access.” Through this route, a subscription/hybrid journal can remain compliant and eligible for Plan S authors by committing to a transition to becoming fully-OA and meeting a set of OA growth requirements each year until 2024, when support for TJs ends and they are expected to fully convert over to OA. Let’s ignore for now the OA growth requirements for TJs – DeltaThink’s recent analysis covers this well and shows how unrealistic the numbers are and how few journals are likely to progress adequately given the timelines involved…

Instead, I want to focus on the reporting requirements for TJs. Tallying up the number of OA articles published each year is easy to accomplish. The transparent pricing reporting requirements remain vague and meaningless enough that they shouldn’t prove too onerous for even smaller publishers to put together. Where things get difficult, if not impossible, is in the requirement for an annual public report to cOAlition S, a report that must include data on downloads, citations, and Altmetric scores for all papers published, and that must be sub-divided into OA papers versus non-OA papers.

For those working at larger publishing houses, this likely sounds trivial. You’d just assign your team of in-house bibliometric analysts to pull citation data from your expensive Web of Science, Scopus, or Dimensions subscription. Download information can be obtained from the usage tracking service you pay for, or perhaps it’s included from the full-service publishing platform that your organization owns or that you employ each year at significant cost. Altmetric numbers can come from your access to the paid service of the same name. Your employee bibliometricians will, of course, spend the necessary time parsing out the OA articles from everything else.

Hopefully the theme running through that last paragraph was fairly obvious – none of this is free, much of it is very expensive, and in-house bibliometric expertise is rare among smaller publishers….”

Methods as a scientific asset – The Official PLOS Blog

“Clear, complete, and open methods increase credibility and support lasting impact. Documenting and sharing methodologies has interrelated scientific and reputational benefits for individuals and the community. 

Making methods public creates a positive impression. Having the option to review detailed methods increases readers’ trust, whether or not they consult the documentation. 
Researchers can more easily reproduce results with detailed open methods. Authors who want to apply the method in their own research can do so more efficiently if the approach is described in detail and easy to find online.
Strong, easy-to-follow methods are more likely to be used in future research, and by extension more likely to be cited, bringing fresh eyes to the original and helping it to remain relevant over time….”

Wikipedia Is Finally Asking Big Tech to Pay Up | WIRED

“FROM THE START, Google and Wikipedia have been in a kind of unspoken partnership: Wikipedia produces the information Google serves up in response to user queries, and Google builds up Wikipedia’s reputation as a source of trustworthy information….

The two have grown in tandem over the past 20 years, each becoming its own household word. But whereas one mushroomed into a trillion-dollar company, the other has remained a midsize nonprofit, depending on the generosity of individual users, grant-giving foundations, and the Silicon Valley giants themselves to stay afloat. Now Wikipedia is seeking to rebalance its relationships with Google and other big tech firms like Amazon, Facebook, and Apple, whose platforms and virtual assistants lean on Wikipedia as a cost-free virtual crib sheet….

Today, the Wikimedia Foundation, which operates the Wikipedia project in more than 300 languages as well as other wiki-projects, is announcing the launch of a commercial product, Wikimedia Enterprise. The new service is designed for the sale and efficient delivery of Wikipedia’s content directly to these online behemoths (and eventually, to smaller companies too)….

The free, albeit clunky option will still be available to all users, including commercial ones. This means that Wikimedia Enterprise’s principal competition, in the words of Lisa Seitz-Gruwell, the foundation’s chief revenue officer, is Wikipedia itself….

But the formatting problems with the free version offer an obvious opportunity to create a product worth paying for, one tailored to the requirements of each company. For example, Enterprise will deliver the real-time changes and comprehensive data dumps in a compatible format. There will also be a level of customer service typical of business arrangements but unprecedented for the volunteer-directed project….

By offering more useful data, Enterprise will help ensure that commercial operators display the latest, most accurate version of articles and crack down on vandalism quicker. A contractual relationship will also more formally recognize that these companies are extracting value from a volunteer project, and therefore must “contribute back to the commons,” Seitz-Gruwell says. …”

More Unintended Consequences: How the Plan S Transformative Journal Route Favors Larger Incumbent Publishers

For smaller and independent publishers, the Transformative Journal route to Plan S compliance seems like a viable option. At least until you see the reporting requirements.

The post More Unintended Consequences: How the Plan S Transformative Journal Route Favors Larger Incumbent Publishers appeared first on The Scholarly Kitchen.

We moeten af van telzucht in de wetenschap – ScienceGuide

From Google’s English:  “On July 19, ScienceGuide published an open letter from 171 academics who are concerned about the new Recognition and Valuation of scientists. In fact, the signatories warn that the new ‘Recognize and Appreciate’ leads to more arbitrariness and loss of quality. This will jeopardize the international top position of Dutch science, argue the writers, which will adversely affect young academics in particular.  …

It is noticeable that these young scientists, whom the letter speaks of, do not seem to be involved in drafting the message. It is also striking that signatories to the open letter themselves are mainly at the top of the academic career ladder; 142 of the 171 signatories are even professors. As Young Science in Transition, PhD candidates Network Netherlands, PostDocNL, a large number of members of De Jonge Akademies and many other young researchers, we do not agree with the message they are proclaiming. In fact, we worry about these kinds of noises when it comes to our current and future careers. Young academics are eagerly waiting for a new system of Recognition and Appreciation. …”

Nieuwe Erkennen en waarderen schaadt Nederlandse wetenschap – ScienceGuide

From Google’s English:  “A group of 171 scientists, including 142 professors, warns in this open letter that the new Recognition and Valuation will harm Dutch science. The medical, exact and life sciences in particular are in danger of losing their international top position as a result of the new Recognition and Appreciation, because it is no longer clear how scientists are judged.

An article was recently published in Nature about the new policy of Utrecht University whereby the impact factors of scientific journals are no longer included in the evaluation of scientists. Measurable performance figures have been abandoned in favor of an ‘open science’ system and elevating the team above the individual.  

Here 171 academics warn that this new ‘Recognition and appreciation’ will lead to more arbitrariness and less quality and that this policy will have major consequences for the international recognition and appreciation of Dutch scientists. This will have negative consequences in particular for young researchers, who will no longer be able to compete internationally.  …”

Why the new Recognition & Rewards actually boosts excellent science

“During the last few weeks, several opinion pieces have appeared questioning the new Recognition and Rewards (R&R) and Open Science in Dutch academia. On July 13, the TU/e Cursor published interviews with professors who question the usefulness of a new vision on R&R (1). A day later, on July 14, the chairman of the board of NWO compared science to top sport, with an emphasis on sacrifice and top performance (2), a line of thinking that fits the traditional way of R&R in academia. On July 19, an opinion piece was published by 171 university (head) teachers and professors (3), this time in ScienceGuide questioning again the new vision of R&R. These articles, all published within a week, show that as the new R&R gains traction within universities, established scholars are questioning its usefulness and effectiveness. Like others before us (4), we would like to respond. …”

The Big Ten Academic Alliance joins Direct to Open from the MIT Press | Big Ten Academic Alliance

“The MIT Press and the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) have entered a three-year collective action agreement that provides Direct to Open (D2O) access for all fifteen BTAA member libraries. An innovative, sustainable framework for open access monographs, D2O moves professional and scholarly books from a solely market-based, purchase model to a collaborative, library-supported open access model. 

Developed over two years with the generous support of the Arcadia Fund, D2O gives institutions the opportunity to harness collective action to support access to knowledge. As participating libraries, the Big Ten members will help open access to all new MIT Press scholarly monographs and edited collections from 2022. In addition, the member libraries will gain term access to an archive of gated titles, including classic works from Rosalind Krauss, Daniel Dennett, Noam Chomsky, Paul Krugman, Sherry Turkle, and many more. D2O libraries also gain the benefit of discounting on the MIT Press’s trade books collection on the MIT Press Direct platform….”

Open Access agreements with smaller publishers require active cross-stakeholder alignment, report says | ISSN

Open Access agreements between consortia/libraries and smaller independent publishers are used worldwide increasingly since 2020, signalling a potential for further growth, highlights an independent report released in June 2021 by Information Power. The report was commissioned by cOAlition S and the Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) as a follow up on the outcomes of the Society Publishers Accelerating Open access and Plan S (SPA-OPS) project, published in autumn 2019.