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Although informative such research does not directly

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Unformatted text preview: e and then followed them up 5 to 10 years later. Although informative, such research does not directly address how personality develops during the transition from adolescence to early adulthood. That is, these studies do not provide a way to pinpoint “precisely when personality reaches maturity” (p. 142, Costa & McCrae, 1994b). Moreover, none of the previous longitudinal studies of early adulthood used personality measures specifically designed to assess the “Big Five” dimensions: Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and Openness to Experience (Goldberg, 1993; John & Srivastava, 1999). Many personality researchers believe that the Five Factor Model provides a useful descriptive taxonomy for the full range of personality traits. By studying personality development within the common framework provided by the Five Factor Model, findings on continuity and change in young adulthood can be compared to research on the development of the Big Five during childhood (e.g., Halverson, Kohnstamm, & Martin, 1994), adolescence (Graziano & Ward, 1992; John, Caspi, Robins, Moffitt, & Stouthamer-Loeber, 1994), and adulthood (e.g., Costa & McCrae, 1997). In this article, we focus on four types of personality stability and change: (a) normative (i.e., mean-level) change, (b) rank-order stability, (c) structural stability, and (d) ipsative stability (e.g., Block & Robins, 1993; Caspi & Roberts, 1999; Mortimer et al., 1982). Normative change refers to changes in the average trait level of a population. Normative changes are thought to result from maturational or historical processes shared by a population (e.g., Helson & Moane, 1987; Roberts & Helson, 1997). Normative change is typically assessed by mean-level differences in specific traits over time, which indicate whether the sample as a whole is increasing or decreasing on a trait. Rank-order stability reflects the degree to which the relative ordering of individuals on a given trait is maintained o...
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