Journal article

Development of personality in early and middle adulthood: set like plaster or persistent change?

Sanjay Srivastava, Oliver P John, Samuel D Gosling, Jeff Potter

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology | Published : 2003


Different theories make different predictions about how mean levels of personality traits change in adulthood. The biological view of the Five-factor theory proposes the plaster hypothesis: All personality traits stop changing by age 30. In contrast, contextualist perspectives propose that changes should be more varied and should persist throughout adulthood. This study compared these perspectives in a large (N = 132,515) sample of adults aged 21-60 who completed a Big Five personality measure on the Internet. Conscientiousness and Agreeableness increased throughout early and middle adulthood at varying rates; Neuroticism declined among women but did not change among men. The variety in patt..

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