Correlated personality change across time and age

Gabriel Olaru*, M. Allemand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The goal of this study was to examine differential and correlated change in personality across the adult lifespan. Studying differential and correlated change can help understand whether intraindividual trait change trajectories deviate from the norm and how these trajectories are coupled with each other. We used data from two large longitudinal panel studies from the United States that covered a total age range of 20 to 95 years on the first measurement occasion. We used correlated factor models and bivariate latent change score models to examine the rank-order stability and correlations between change across three measurement waves covering 18 years ( N = 3250) and four measurement waves covering 12 years ( N = 4145). We examined the moderation effects of continuous age on these model parameters using local structural equation modeling. The results suggest that the test–retest correlations decrease with increasing time between measurements but are unaffected by participants’ age. We found that change processes in Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness were strongly related, particularly in late adulthood. Correlated change patterns were highly stable across time intervals and similar to the initial cross-sectional Big Five correlations. We discuss potential mechanisms and implications for personality development research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

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