Extraversion and Neuroticism as Predictors of Objective Life Events: A Longitudinal Analysis

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Data from a 4-year longitudinal study of young adults were used to examine the causal pathways between personality and life events. To reduce measurement artifacts, analyses were conducted using reports of more objective life events. It was found that extraversion predisposed participants to experience more positive objective life events, whereas neuroticism predisposed people to experience more negative objective events. In contrast, personality was somewhat stable, and life events were found not to have a prospective influence on it. Objective positive and negative life events covaried, suggesting that people who experience more of 1 type of event are also likely to experience more events of the opposite valence as well. The findings indicate that life events cannot be viewed as a source of influence independent of personality. Although factors that are independent of the person undoubtedly influence life events to some degree, the personality of the individual also appears to do so.

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