Friedrich Götz, Tobias Ebert, Jason Rentfrow
Regional cultures and the psychological geography of Switzerland: Person–environment–fit in personality predicts subjective wellbeing

Frontiers in Psychology, In Press:
ISSN: 1664-1078

The present study extended traditional nation-based research on person–culture–fit to the regional level. First, we examined the geographical distribution of Big Five personality traits in Switzerland. Across the 26 Swiss cantons, unique patterns were observed for all traits. For Extraversion and Neuroticism clear language divides emerged between the French- and Italian-speaking South-West versus the German-speaking North-East. Second, multilevel modelling demonstrated that person–environment–fit in Big Five, composed of elevation (i.e., mean differences between individual profile and cantonal profile), scatter (differences in mean variances) and shape (Pearson correlations between individual and cantonal profiles across all traits; Furr, 2008, 2010,) predicted the development of subjective wellbeing (i.e. life satisfaction, satisfaction with personal relationships, positive affect, negative affect) over a period of four years. Unexpectedly, while the effects of shape were in line with the person–environment–fit hypothesis (better fit predicted higher subjective wellbeing), the effects of scatter showed the opposite pattern, while null findings were observed for elevation. Across a series of robustness checks, the patterns for shape and elevation were consistently replicated. While that was mostly the case for scatter as well, the effects of scatter appeared to be somewhat less robust and more sensitive to the specific way fit was modelled when predicting certain outcomes (negative affect, positive affect). Distinguishing between supplementary and complementary fit may help to reconcile these findings and future research should explore whether and if so under which conditions these concepts may be applicable to the respective facets of person–culture–fit.