The stability of personality over time as a function of personality trait dominance

Leigh Wilks


This essay examines alternative theories explaining the extent of personality change over time. Personality is initially conceptualized in terms of temperament and traits, which indicate overarching personality stability across the lifespan. Despite high rank-order correlations of trait scores, measurements of individual differences and group mean trait scores reveal change over time. Beyond the scope of temperament and traits, aspects such as evolutionary mechanisms, characteristic adaptations, life narratives, and culture also contribute to personality change or stability. Although small changes in personality emerge across situations, a substantial amount of research supports the notion of enduring personality stability over the life span.

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