Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Nicholas A Turiano

Committee Co-Chair

Barry Edelstein

Committee Member

Julie H Patrick


Research suggests a link between personality traits and various health outcomes. There is now a need to understand why this association exists by investigating potential underlying mechanisms. The current study investigated a potential mechanism that has not received much attention, positive social exchanges (PSS). PSS have been linked to health in various studies, but more research is needed to understand its association with health. The current study utilized data from 6,095 community-dwelling adults from the National Study of Midlife in the United States (MIDUS Wave 1; ages 20--75; Mage = 46.83, SD = 12.90). Using the Hayes PROCESS macro, we investigated whether PSS mediated the association between the Big Five personality traits (i.e. conscientiousness, neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, openness to experience) and functional limitations. The associations between neuroticism, conscientiousness, extraversion, and agreeableness and functional limitations were significantly mediated by PSS. Exploratory age moderation revealed that age significantly moderated the association between neuroticism, conscientiousness, and extraversion with functional limitations such that the association was stronger at older ages. Through further analyses of these paths, it is possible to get a stronger understanding of how these processes work.