Personality types in adolescence: Change and stability and links with adjustment and relationships: A five-wave longitudinal study.

W.H.J. Meeus, Rens Van De Schoot, T.A. Klimstra, Susan Branje

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We examined change and stability of the 3 personality types identified by Block and Block (1980) and studied their links with adjustment and relationships. We used data from a 5-wave study of 923 early-to-middle and 390 middle-to-late adolescents, thereby covering the ages of 12-20 years. In Study 1, systematic evidence for personality change was found, in that the number of overcontrollers and undercontrollers decreased, whereas the number of resilients increased. Undercontrol, in particular, was found to peak in early-to-middle adolescence. We also found substantial stability of personality types, because 73.5% of the adolescents had the same personality type across the 5 waves. Personality change was mainly characterized by 2 transitions: overcontrol → resiliency and undercontrol → resiliency. The transitional analyses implied that the resilient type serves more often as the end point of personality development in adolescence than do overcontrol and undercontrol. Analyses of the personality type trajectories also revealed that the majority of adolescents who change personality type across 5 years made only 1 transition. Study 2 revealed systematic differences between resilients and overcontrollers in anxiety. Stable resilients were less anxious over time than were stable overcontrollers. Further, change from overcontrol to the resilient type was accompanied by decreases in anxiety, whereas change from the resilient type to overcontrol was accompanied by an increase in anxiety. Similarly, systematic differences between personality types were found in the formation of intimate relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1181-1195
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Volume47
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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