Personality Change

Global measures of personality traits, such as those captured by the five-factor model give us hints that personality can change over time. But it is also true that researchers who have focused most heavily on personality stability have generally not explicitly designed studies and measures to assess personality change. Thus, it is important to remember that knowledge about personality change is sparse.

One reason for the relative lack of knowledge about change is that there might be a bias among researchers against even looking for personality change (Helson & Stewart, 1994). As Block (1971) notes, even the terms used to describe stability and change are laden with evaluative meaning. Terms that refer to absence of change tend to be positive: consistency, stability, continuity, and constancy all seem like good things to have. On the other hand, inconsistency, instability, discontinuity, and inconstancy all seem undesirable or unpredictable.

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