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Psychol Rev. 2005 Jan;112(1):60-74.

Patterns of continuity: a dynamic model for conceptualizing the stability of individual differences in psychological constructs across the life course.

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Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.


In contemporary psychology there is debate over whether individual differences in psychological constructs are stable over extended periods of time. The authors argue that it is impossible to resolve such debates unless researchers focus on patterns of stability and the developmental mechanisms that may give rise to them. To facilitate this shift in emphasis, they describe a formal model that integrates 3 developmental processes: stochastic-contextual processes, person-environment transactions, and developmental constancies. The theoretical and mathematical analyses indicate that this model makes novel predictions about the way in which test-retest correlations are structured across a wide range of ages and test-retest intervals. The authors illustrate the utility of the model by comparing its predictions against meta-analytic data on Neuroticism. The discussion emphasizes the value of focusing on patterns of continuity, not only as phenomena to be explained but as data capable of clarifying the developmental processes underlying stability and change for a variety of psychological constructs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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