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

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

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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.403018.de/diw_sp0455.pdf
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    Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 455.

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    Length: 28 p.
    Date of creation: 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp455
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    1. 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).
    2. 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, 03.
    3. Michael Eid & Ed Diener, 2004. "Global Judgments of Subjective Well-Being: Situational Variability and Long-Term Stability," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 65(3), pages 245-277, February.
    4. 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).
    5. 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, Springer, vol. 111(1), pages 287-305, March.
    6. Kerry Chamberlain & Sheryl Zika, 1992. "Stability and change in subjective well-being over short time periods," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 101-117, March.
    7. William Meredith, 1993. "Measurement invariance, factor analysis and factorial invariance," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 58(4), pages 525-543, December.
    8. 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).
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