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J Res Pers. 2008;42(3):577-598.

Ethnicity, Education, and the Temporal Stability of Personality Traits In the East Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study.

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  • 1Laboratory of Personality and Cognition, National Institute on Aging, NIH, DHHS.


We examined the influence of age, gender, Black vs. White ethnicity, and education on five indices of personality stability and change across an average interval of 8 years in the East Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area study. In the full sample (n = 505, aged 30-88), examination of structural, rank-order, ipsative, and mean level stability, as well as indices of reliable change suggested that NEO-PI-R personality traits showed moderate to high levels of stability over time. There were few age and gender effects on temporal stability but rank-order, ipsative, and mean level stability were lower among Blacks and individuals with lower education. Future research should explore additional demographic predictors of temporal plasticity in a diverse range of samples, and employ observer ratings to assess personality.

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