One insight emerging from the results is that

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Unformatted text preview: stion of stability and change from a variety of perspectives and assessed multiple types of change. Overall, the findings are consistent with the perspective that personality exhibits moderate degrees of continuity over time, yet can change in systematic ways. One insight emerging from the results is that conclusions about personality change depend in part on how change is defined. With respect to normative change, we found that all of the Big Five dimensions showed significant mean-level change, except for Extraversion. The students in our sample became more agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, and open to new experiences as they progressed through college. These findings, which are generally consistent with previous longitudinal studies, point toward increasing levels of adaptation and psychological functioning. However, in no case did we find evidence for dramatic normative shifts; the mean-level changes were small to medium in magnitude, ranging from one quarter to one half of a standard deviation. The absence of large mean-level changes does not preclude the possibility that individual participants showed substantial personality changes over time (e.g., if some participants increase substantially while others decrease substantially, then mean-level change could be minimal). However, the individual level changes we found were generally consistent with the mean-level changes; relatively few participants showed reliable increases or decreases in their personality scale scores. On any given personality dimension, the vast majority of participants (73% to 90%) did not exhibit larger changes than would be expected by measurement error alone (see Table 1). Longitudinal studies rarely find dramatic changes in personality at any stage of the life course, and the present study is no exception. Analyses of rank-order stability revealed strong correlations over time, with disattenuated correlations ranging from .63 to .92. The level of stability was comparable to that found in previous...
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