Is spousal similarity for personality a matter of convergence or selection?

Mikhila N. Humbad, M. Brent Donnellan, William G. Iacono, Matthew McGue, S. Alexandra Burt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


We investigated whether spousal similarity for personality traits results from convergence (i.e., couples becoming more similar to one another over time) or selection (i.e., individuals selecting partners with similar traits) in a sample of 1296 married couples. Personality was assessed using the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire. We evaluated whether similarity increased with increasing length of marriage. Evidence of spousal convergence was inconsistent across analyses, arguing against this mechanism as a compelling explanation for spousal similarity. Accordingly, selection processes may better explain spousal similarity in these data. The one exception might be for aggressive aspects of personality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)827-830
Number of pages4
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded in part by USPHS Grants # DA05147 , AA09367 , and AA11886, DA13240 , and MH65137 .


  • Assortative mating
  • Personality similarity
  • Spousal convergence


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