Transactional links between personality and adaptation from childhood through adulthood

Rebecca L. Shiner, Ann S. Masten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Does childhood personality foreshadow later adaptation in the key developmental task domains of academic achievement, work, rule-abiding conduct, friendships, and romantic relationships? In this article we present a synopsis of recent findings from the Project Competence longitudinal study of 205 children who were assessed around ages 10, 20, and 30. Childhood personality differences predicted adaptation at all three time periods and also changes in adaptation over time. On the other hand, features of adult personality were presaged by childhood adaptation, and in some cases childhood adaptation predicted the course of personality development. To understand better the transactional processes that shape and link personality and adaptive success over the life course, longitudinal designs and more dynamic models of personality development will be needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)580-588
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002


  • Competence
  • Life outcomes
  • Personality development

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