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Personality Changes in Couples: Partnership Longevity and Personality Congruence in Couples

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  • Beatrice Rammstedt
  • Frank M. Spinath
  • David Richter
  • Jürgen Schupp

Abstract

Evidence of assortative mating according to personality was reported in a previous SOEP-based study (Rammstedt & Schupp, 2008). Based on population representative data of almost 7,000 couples, high levels of congruence between spouses were found, which increased with marriage duration. Almost 5,000 of these couples were tracked over a five-year period with personality assessed at the beginning and end of this time, which allowed us to investigate the relationship between personality congruence and marriage duration longitudinally. Using this data, we investigated (a) whether personality congruence is predictive for partnership longevity and whether congruence therefore differs between subsequently stable and instable couples, (b) if stable couples become more congruent, and (c) if separated couples become less congruent with regard to their personality over time. The results provide initial evidence of personality congruence as a predictor for partnership longevity: the more congruent couples are in the personality domain of Openness, the more stable their partnership. In addition, we found no indications of an increase in personality congruence over time within the stable couples; within the separated couples, however, a strong decrease in congruence was detectable.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.427647.de/diw_sp0585.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 585.

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Length: 15 p.
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp585

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Keywords: Assortative mating; Big Five; personality; congruence; personality change; partnership;

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  1. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP): Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  2. Jule Specht & Boris Egloff & Stefan C. Schmukle, 2011. "Stability and Change of Personality across the Life Course: The Impact of Age and Major Life Events on Mean-Level and Rank-Order Stability of the Big Five," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 377, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  3. Lang, Frieder R. & John, Dennis & Lüdtke, Oliver & Schupp, Jürgen & Wagner, Gert G., 2011. "Short Assessment of the Big Five: Robust Across Survey Methods Except Telephone Interviewing," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 548-567.
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