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J Pers Disord. 2005 Apr;19(2):202-10.

A developmental perspective on personality disorders: lessons from research on normal personality development in childhood and adolescence.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY 13346, USA. rshiner@mail.colgate.edu

Abstract

Recent work on normal personality development in children and adolescents points to several conclusions that are relevant for understanding personality pathology. First, child temperament and adult personality traits share many features in common. Second, youths' individual differences can be described in terms of the Big Five personality traits observed in adults; an integrative taxonomy of individual differences in childhood and adolescence is articulated in this article. Third, personality is already moderately stable by the preschool years, but considerable personality change occurs well into the adult years. Taken together, these findings suggest that childhood personality functioning can and should be integrated into developmental research and applied work on personality disorders.

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