Dispositional traits perspective of personality stability versus change…
Dispositional traits perspective of personality stability versus change during adulthood
are aspects of the personality which are consistent across different contexts and are comparable across a group along a continuum which represents high and low degrees of the characteristics. They include descriptors such as talkative, authoritarian, shy, etc. 3 Assumptions are made about traits:
The qualities of a trait must be distinctive enough to avoid confusion.
Traits are assumed to be
Traits are based on comparisons of people.
The Five-Factor Model
: Costa and McCrae, grounded in cross-sectional, longitudinal and sequential research. Consists of five independent dimensions of personality:
3. Openness to Experience
- 6 facets representing 6 areas:
Aesthetics: appreciation of art and beauty, sensitivity to experience for its own sake.
Action: willingness to try new things.
Fantasy: vivid imagination and active dream life.
Ideas: curious and value knowledge for the sake of it.
Values: willingness to admit what is right for someone may not be for someone else and think of possibilities, empathy.
Experience: related to occupational choice, intelligent.
: trustful, sympathetic, polite, patient, overly dependent and self-effacting.
- 6 facets grouped into two traits:
Interpersonal traits: warmth, gregariousness and assertiveness.
Temperamental traits: activity, excitement seeking and positive emotions.
: hardworking, ambitious, persevering, energetic, diligent.
- 6 facets: when high, typically results in violent and negative emotions that hinder ability to handle problems or get along with others.
Self-consciousness: sensitive to criticism, teasing and feelings of inferiority. (With depression: relate to emotions shame and sorrow)
Depression: feelings of sadness, loneliness, guilt, hopelessness and low self-worth.
Hostility: people high in hostility are prone to anger, irritable and hard to get along with.
Impulsiveness: the tendency to give in to temptations and desires due to a lack of willpower and self-control, often do things in excess.
Anxiety: people high in anxiety are nervous, high-strung, tense, pessimistic and worried. (With hostility: form underlying traits of fear and anger)
Vulnerability: involves a lowered capacity to deal effectively with stress, tend to panic in an emergency and are highly dependent on others for help.
What happens to dispositional traits across adulthood?
Traits typically stop changing by age 30, large consistency over a very long period.
However changes in the very old occurred: increase in suspiciousness and sensitivity (explained by increased wariness of victimisation in older adulthood).
Stability: individuals change little in self-reported personality traits over periods of up to 30 years long, over the 20 to 90 year age range.
Thus there is growing evidence of
which has been detected due to advances in statistical techniques: extraversion and agreeableness was found to decrease with age, whereas agreeableness was found to increase with age. Conscientiousness appeared to peak in middle age. Neuroticism often disappeared or was much less apparent in later life. These changes were found in studies examining larger populations across a larger age range and greater geographical regions.
Change in the five-factor model with increasing age is most often the absence of neuroticism and the presence of agreeableness and conscientiousness, associated with personality adjustment. These characteristics allow older adults to maintain and regain levels of well-being in the face of their oft-occurring challenges.
A decrease in openness to new experiences increases with age, as it is related to personal maturity, which is highly linked to ego development, wisdom and emotional complexity. These three aspects of personality don't increase with age and decline.
Personal growth in adulthood appears to be rare and not the norm.
The reason for increases in adjustment aspects of the personality and decline/stability of personality growth could be because personality growth or change doesn't normally happen during adulthood unless there are special environmental circumstances in which it can occur.
Therefore personality traits remain fairly stable throughout adulthood when data is averaged over many people, but specific aspects of personality that is idiosyncratic to people will reveal both change and stability.
The answer to whether personality traits remain stable or change over adulthood will depend on the way in which data are analysed - perhaps by examining changes at an individual level as opposed to the typical longitudinal mass studies.
There is growing evidence for personality change despite research findings for personality stability using the five-factor model. Personality adjustment (developmental changes in terms of adaptive value and functionality) and personality growth (ideal end states) interact and do not necessarily occur in everyone, can be used to interpret issues of stability and change in the five-factor model.