Big Five Personality Stability, Change, and Codevelopment Across Adolescence and Early Adulthood

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Abstract

Using data from 2 large and overlapping cohorts of Dutch adolescents, containing up to 7 waves of longitudinal data each (N = 2,230), the present study examined Big Five personality trait stability, change, and codevelopment in friendship and sibling dyads from age 12 to 22. Four findings stand out. First, the 1-year rank-order stability of personality traits was already substantial at age 12, increased strongly from early through middle adolescence, and remained rather stable during late adolescence and early adulthood. Second, we found linear mean-level increases in girls’ conscientiousness, in both genders’ agreeableness, and in boys’ openness. We also found temporal dips (i.e., U-shaped mean-level change) in boys’ conscientiousness and in girls’ emotional stability and extraversion. We did not find a mean-level change in boys’ emotional stability and extraversion, and we found an increase followed by a decrease in girls’ openness. Third, adolescents showed substantial individual differences in the degree and direction of personality trait changes, especially with respect to conscientiousness, extraversion, and emotional stability. Fourth, we found no evidence for personality trait convergence, for correlated change, or for time-lagged partner effects in dyadic friendship and sibling relationships. This lack of evidence for dyadic codevelopment suggests that adolescent friends and siblings tend to change independently from each other and that their shared experiences do not have uniform influences on their personality traits.

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