Four types of change and self-other agreement on change in personality traits during college years: A multi-informant longitudinal study

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1 Scopus citations


Research in personality trait change has largely relied on mean-level and rank-order change across the lifespan. The current research expanded the literature in several ways: analyzing four types of change and correlated change patterns, obtaining multi-informant reports, including lower-order personality traits, and collecting multiple assessments during a short yet important time for college-attending emerging adults (baseline N = 259, Mage = 18.79). There was little evidence for mean-level change, yet participants showed significant individual differences such that rank-ordering and ipsative profiles were much more dynamic than mean score patterns. Informant-reports from close others demonstrated largely similar patterns: little to no mean-level change, significant increase in rank-ordering, and about half of participants reporting configural change mostly in elevation and scatter rather than in profile shapes. Interestingly, there was no correlated change between self and other-reports. This indicated that close others do not share individuals' perception of their own personality trait change, at least not in the demographic group studied. By examining individual-level, sample-level, and multi-informant perspectives, our thorough investigation provided useful benchmarks for future research to examine the source of variability in change trajectories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-463
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of personality
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Dr. M. Brent Donnellan and Dr. Fred Oswald for their tremendous help in preparing the simulation codes for our analysis of ipsative change. Thanks to Cianna Bedford‐Petersen and Leslie Mei for their assistance with data collection and project management. Thanks to Wendy Schlinsog for meticulously checking the figures and reported statistics. This research was supported by a grant from the Templeton Religion Trust, through the Self, Motivation, and Virtue project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Journal of Personality published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


  • correlated change
  • individual difference
  • ipsative profile
  • mean-level
  • multi-informant
  • personality development
  • rank-order

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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