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Unformatted text preview: A Longitudinal Study of Personality Change in Young Adulthood Richard W. Robins University of California, Davis R. Chris Fraley University of Illinois, Chicago Brent W. Roberts University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Kali H. Trzesniewski University of California, Davis ABSTRACT The present research examined personality continuity and change in a sample of young men and women assessed at the beginning and end of college. Two-hundred seventy students completed measures of the Big Five personality traits when they first entered college and then 4 years later. Analyses indicate small- to medium-sized normative (i.e., mean-level) changes, large rank-order stability correlations, high levels of stability in personality structure, and moderate levels of ipsative (i.e. profile) stability. Overall, the findings are consistent with the perspective that personality traits exhibit considerable continuity over time, yet can change in systematic ways. This research was funded by a Faculty Research Grant from the University of California at Davis, an Office of Educational Research Grant from the University of California at Berkeley, and a National Institute of Mental Health grant (MH – 61829). We thank Jennifer Pals, Sanjay Srivastava, and Jessica Tracy for their comments on a draft of this paper, and Keith Widaman for his statistical advice. Journal of Personality 69:4, August 2001. Copyright © 2001 by Blackwell Publishers, 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA, and 108 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1JF, UK. 618 Robins et al. Young adulthood is a period of considerable opportunity and challenge. Many young adults move away from home for the first time, begin college and full-time jobs, or marry and have children. Personality theorists and developmental psychologists have highlighted the importance of this period, describing the complex challenges that young adults face and the patterns of adaptation that follow from their resolution (Arnett, 2000; Erikson, 1963; Helson, 1983; White, 1966). G...
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