Patterns of Mean-Level Change in Personality Traits Across the Life Course: A Meta-Analysis of Longitudinal Studies

Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana--Champaign, Champaign, IL 61820, USA.
Psychological Bulletin (Impact Factor: 14.76). 02/2006; 132(1):1-25. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.132.1.1
Source: PubMed


The present study used meta-analytic techniques (number of samples = 92) to determine the patterns of mean-level change in personality traits across the life course. Results showed that people increase in measures of social dominance (a facet of extraversion), conscientiousness, and emotional stability, especially in young adulthood (age 20 to 40). In contrast, people increase on measures of social vitality (a 2nd facet of extraversion) and openness in adolescence but then decrease in both of these domains in old age. Agreeableness changed only in old age. Of the 6 trait categories, 4 demonstrated significant change in middle and old age. Gender and attrition had minimal effects on change, whereas longer studies and studies based on younger cohorts showed greater change.

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Available from: Brent W Roberts, Jul 13, 2014
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    • "Furthermore, for this group of persons, social role changes associated with older age are imminent and they might thus invest in these roles (Roberts et al, 2005). And finally, personality changes in older age have been reported especially for people aged 50-65 (Roberts et al., 2006), making this a suitable period to detect influences on personality change. Of the selected participants, 94 % were white, 56% female, 73.3 % married, 61.6 % had at least some college education, and 62.4% rated their health as somewhat or much better compared to most women/men their age. "
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