For example certain experiences within the academic

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Unformatted text preview: Finally, a number of personality theorists have suggested that personality stability and change is best conceptualized as a person-environment transaction (e.g., Buss, 1987; Caspi, 1998). In the present study, this transaction may play out in terms of individuals adapting to and finding niches within the college environment. For example, certain experiences within the academic context might promote higher levels of Conscientiousness and similarly certain experiences within the broader context of college might promote greater Openness to Experience. A related idea is the possibility that person-environment fit might serve as a mechanism for both stability and change. It is possible, for example, that individuals 636 Robins et al. select college majors that fit with their current personalities, thus promoting personality stability, or select majors that correspond with what kind of person they would like to be in the future, thus promoting personality change. In summary, these various limitations point to the need for further research on personality change in young adulthood. In particular, the field would greatly benefit from studies that (a) assess change across multiple waves of data; (b) use a cohort-sequential longitudinal design; (c) use a multi-method approach to the assessment of personality, including both self-report questionnaires and external criteria such as peer and parent reports; (d) assess personality at different levels of analysis, including traits, motives, goals, and life stories; and (e) measure variables hypothesized to produce personality change. CONCLUSION The college experience involves a diverse range of experiences— increased independence from one’s family, successes and failures in the academic domain, romantic beginnings and endings, shifting life goals, and the establishment of lifelong friendships. Amidst all these changing life circumstances, personality exhibits impressive levels of continuity. Nonetheless, the degree of continuity is far from perfect, and most individuals seem to show important change in at leas...
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