Patterns of cumulative continuity and maturity in personality and well-being: Evidence from a large longitudinal sample of adults

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Longitudinal studies have shown that, on average, agreeableness and conscientiousness increase and neuroticism decreases in adulthood, a phenomenon dubbed the “maturity principle”. The rank-order stability of personality also tends to increase with age, sometimes called the “cumulative continuity principle”. It remains unclear, however, whether the rank-order stability and average levels of different types of well-being increase with age. Therefore, using a large longitudinal sample of adults (N > 6,000), the present study aimed to replicate studies of the maturity and cumulative continuity of the Big Five and test whether these developmental trends extend to different types of well-being. The present study demonstrates that, although many types of well-being exhibit developmental trends that are similar to those of the Big Five, distinguishing the general tendency toward all forms of well-being from variation in specific kinds of well-being can illuminate potentially important developmental differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109737
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019



  • Big Five
  • Development
  • Personality
  • Stability
  • Well-Being

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