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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2006 Sep;91(3):538-52.

Five types of personality continuity in childhood and adolescence.

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  • 1Department of Developmental, Personality, and Social Psychology, Ghent University, H. Dunantlaan 2, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium.


This study examines 5 types of personality continuity--structural, mean-level, individual-level, differential, and ipsative--in a representative population (N=498) and a twin and sibling sample (N=548) of children and adolescents. Parents described their children on 2 successive occasions with a 36-month interval using the Hierarchical Personality Inventory for Children (I. Mervielde & F. De Fruyt, 1999). There was evidence for structural continuity in the 2 samples, and personality was shown to be largely differentially stable. A large percentage had a stable trait profile indicative of ipsative stability, and mean-level personality changes were generally small in magnitude. Continuity findings were explained mainly by genetic and nonshared environmental factors.

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