- Mean-level personality development across childhood and adolescence: a temporary defiance of the maturity principle and bidirectional associations with parenting
- Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 107 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
In this study, we investigated mean-level personality development in children from 6 to 20 years of age. Additionally, we investigated longitudinal, bidirectional associations between child personality and maternal overreactive and warm parenting. In this 5-wave study, mothers reported on their child’s personality from Time 1 (T1) through Time 4 (T4), and children provided self-reports from Time 2 (T2) through Time 5 (T5). Mothers reported on their levels of overreactive and warm parenting from T2 through T4. Using cohort-sequential latent growth curve modeling, we investigated mother reported child personality from 6 to 17 years of age and child reported personality from 9 to 20 years of age. Extraversion decreased linearly across the entire study. Benevolence and conscientiousness increased from middle to late childhood, temporarily declined from late childhood to mid-adolescence, and increased again thereafter. Imagination decreased from middle childhood to mid-adolescence and also increased thereafter. Mothers reported a temporary decline in emotional stability with an increase thereafter, whereas children did not. Boys and girls differed in mean-levels of the personality dimensions and, to a lesser extent, in the degree and direction of changes. Latent difference score modeling showed that child personality predicted changes in parenting and that, to a lesser extent, parenting predicted changes in child traits. Additionally, changes in child personality were associated with changes in maternal parenting. Results of the present study show that personality change is not directed at increasing maturity from childhood to mid-adolescence and that it elicits and is shaped by both positive and negative parenting.
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