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Examining Mechanisms of Personality Maturation: The Impact of Life Satisfaction on the Development of Big Five Personality Traits

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Listed:
  • Jule Specht
  • Boris Egloff
  • Stefan C. Schmukle

Abstract

Individuals are expected to mature with increasing age, but it is not yet fully understood which factors contribute to this maturation process. Using data of a representative sample of Germans (N = 14,718) who gave information about their Big Five personality traits twice over a period of 4 years, we identified satisfaction with life, which was reported yearly, as an important variable for explaining mechanisms and interindividual differences in personality maturation. Dual latent change models suggest that more satisfied (compared to less satisfied) individuals experience more positive changes in Emotional Stability, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness and that positive changes in life satisfaction are associated with positive changes in personality. Furthermore, maturation processes were examined for individuals who faced a social role transition, namely, marriage, birth of a child, or entering the job market. Again, differential effects highlight the importance of life satisfaction for personality maturation.

Suggested Citation

  • Jule Specht & Boris Egloff & Stefan C. Schmukle, 2012. "Examining Mechanisms of Personality Maturation: The Impact of Life Satisfaction on the Development of Big Five Personality Traits," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 455, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp455
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christopher Boyce & Alex Wood & Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2013. "Is Personality Fixed? Personality Changes as Much as “Variable” Economic Factors and More Strongly Predicts Changes to Life Satisfaction," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 111(1), pages 287-305, March.
    2. William Meredith, 1993. "Measurement invariance, factor analysis and factorial invariance," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 525-543, December.
    3. Michael Eid & Ed Diener, 2004. "Global Judgments of Subjective Well-Being: Situational Variability and Long-Term Stability," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 65(3), pages 245-277, February.
    4. Kerry Chamberlain & Sheryl Zika, 1992. "Stability and change in subjective well-being over short time periods," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 101-117, March.
    5. Rachel Margolis & Mikko Myrskylä, 2011. "A Global Perspective on Happiness and Fertility," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 37(1), pages 29-56, March.
    6. 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).
    7. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
    8. Richard E. Lucas & Andrew Clark & Yannis Georgellis & Ed Diener, 2002. "Re-Examining Adaptation and the Setpoint Model of Happiness: Reactions to Changes in Marital Status," DELTA Working Papers 2002-08, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
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    Keywords

    Personality development; Big Five personality traits; life satisfaction; personality maturation; longitudinal latent modeling;

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