Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education and International Services


Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Dennis Waite

Second Advisor

Carole Woolford-Hunt

Third Advisor

Tevni Grajales



The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the Big Five personality type indicators and job satisfaction in the community mental health setting. The focus of this study was to gain a better understanding of whether a not-for-profit can benefit from the use of a brief personality instrument to recruit and retain individuals with the highest probability of job satisfaction. This research complements previous research which has revealed a positive correlation between certain Big Five personality traits and job satisfaction in several sectors. The research population for this study consisted of community mental health employees working in the outpatient setting at the Bowen Center. The Big Five Indicator (BFI), a 44-item instrument with five scales, and the Job Satisfaction Survey (JSS), a 36-item instrument with nine scales, was used to measure the relationship between personality and job satisfaction while controlling for demographic variables.


The Bowen Center is a community mental health center based in Warsaw, Indiana. The Bowen Center employs 482 employees ranging from psychiatrists to administrative support staff. The Center provides the full continuum of mental health services ranging from adult inpatient to outpatient therapy. The study focused on the clinical and support staff in only the outpatient offices in all 10 counties Bowen Center have physical locations. These offices are located in Marshall, Kosciusko, Wabash, Huntington, Whitley, Lagrange, Steuben, Dekalb, Noble, and Allen counties. The population included 93 master's-level clinicians, 257 bachelor's-level community-based clinicians, and 37 client services staff. The population was asked to complete a demographics form, The Big Five Indicator, and the Job Satisfaction Survey: Version 44. The sample was made up of those who completed the forms. Demographics Form: The participants were asked to identify personal characteristics including their age category, level of education, gender, ethnicity, and marital status. Occupational characteristics were also collected including years in current role, years in the company, job classification, and occupational area.

Big Five Indicator: The Big Five Inventory (BFI): Version 44 (V44) was created by John, Donahue, and Kentle from the University of California, Berkeley. It is a brief although complete measure of the five-factor model of personality. John et al. touted the BFI as an instrument that "allows efficient and flexible assessment of the five dimensions when there is no need for more differentiated measure of individual facets." Job Satisfaction Survey: The Job Satisfaction Survey (JSS) was used because it is a multidimensional instrument that was originally used in the social services sector but proven statistically sound in all organizations. The JSS measures nine facets of work: Pay, Promotion, Supervision, Fringe Benefits, Contingent Rewards, Operating Procedures, Coworkers, Nature of Work, and Communication. Total Job Satisfaction was selected as the primary dependent variable (Spector, 1985). This study is quantitative in nature, cross-sectional, predictive and non-experimental. This design provides for a high degree of external validity based on real-world setting and participants. Inferences about the relation between variables are discussed, but the causal inferences among variables cannot be determined as this is a correlational research project. Multiple independent variables were used, including the Big Five personality traits, gender, age, education, marital status, ethnicity, years with the company, and years in occupation. The dependent variable is Total Job Satisfaction as presented by the general Job Satisfaction Survey. The analysis of the data focused on the relationship between job satisfaction and the above-mentioned demographic variables and their ability to predict Total Job Satisfaction. The correlations are presented across and within the sub-groups as defined by Big Five personality traits and demographic variables. An analysis of covariate was also utilized to examine job satisfaction with the demographic variables used as independent categorical variables and the big five traits included as covariates. There was little evidence that ordered variables would be necessary or beneficial based on the research design.


After reviewing the descriptive nature of the demographics, Big Five personality responses and responses from the Job Satisfaction Survey a review of the relationship between variables was sought. There was a significant positive relationship found between agreeableness and Total Job Satisfaction. This was similar to previous research in other fields. There was a negative relationship between Neuroticism and Total Job Satisfaction. These results suggested that a person with high Agreeableness and low Neuroticism would report high Total Job Satisfaction as an employee at the Bowen Center. Null hypothesis Ho1 was tested and was rejected by the analysis of this data. Further analysis looked at the relationship between Total Job Satisfaction and Big Five personality traits when controlling for demographics. Here it was found that a single demographic characteristic, job classification had a slight positive correlation with Total Job Satisfaction. With regard to Big Five personality traits a positive predictive relationship was found between Agreeableness and a significant negative relationship with Neuroticism. Null hypothesis Ho2 was tested and was rejected by this analysis of data.


Seeking high job satisfaction for their employees is at the core of the Community Mental Health Centers because it ensures higher quality service delivery and lower costs. This study investigated the job satisfaction as a function of the five-factor model of personality by examining the relationship of the Big Five personality traits with job satisfaction. The research findings offer more understanding into the degree to which the Big Five personality traits relate to job satisfaction in the Community Mental Health Centers. The study suggests the following practical implications: 1. The study's findings can be helpful to the managers of Community Mental Health Centers by focusing their attention on hiring candidates with high Agreeableness as a personality trait. Employees with higher Agreeableness were found to have a positive relationship with job satisfaction. 2. The study's findings can be helpful to the managers of Community Mental Health Centers by focusing their attention on hiring candidates with low Neuroticism as a personality trait. Employees with lower Neuroticism were found to have a higher job satisfaction. The study findings add a body of knowledge to existing literature regarding the job satisfaction as a function of the five-factor model of personality, as well as the relationship between the Big Five personality traits and job satisfaction when controlling for common demographic characteristics. The study has expounded on the relationship between the Big Five personality traits and job satisfaction; hence, the study findings can be used to precisely change the Community Mental Health Center environment work setting and hiring practices.

Subject Area

Job satisfaction; Personality and occupation; Big Five model; Personality assessment; Community Mental Health Center (Ind.)