IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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


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


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Beatrice Rammstedt & Frank M. Spinath & David Richter & Jürgen Schupp, 2013. "Personality Changes in Couples: Partnership Longevity and Personality Congruence in Couples," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 585, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp585

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    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. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp585. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bibliothek). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.