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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1990 Feb;58(2):250-8.

Continuity and change: assortative marriage and the consistency of personality in adulthood.

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Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706.


How is personality stability possible amid the myriad of social changes and transformations that characterize a human life? We argue that by choosing situations that are compatible with their dispositions and by affiliating with similar others, individuals may set in motion processes of social interchange that sustain their dispositions across time and circumstance. To test this proposition we examined mate selection, using data on married couples from two ongoing longitudinal studies at the Institute of Human Development, University of California, Berkeley. Consistent with other research, the results point to homogamy as a basic norm in marriage. More important, the results show that marriage to a similar other promotes consistency in the intraindividual organization of personality attributes across middle adulthood. We offer some speculations for a more relational approach to the problem of individual continuity and change.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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