Beyond stability: Predicting inter-individual differences in intra-individual change


  • Jens B. Asendorpf

    Corresponding author
    1. Max-Planck-lnstitut für psychologische Forschung, München, Germany
    • Max-Planck-Institut für psychologische Forschung, Leopoldstr. 24, D-8000 München 40, Germany
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Demonstration of a high longitudinal stability of inter-individual diferences in behaviour has been one traditional goal of personality psychology. In recent years, impressively high longitudinal correlations have been reported for self-and other-ratings of behaviour in adulthood, indicating a high overall stability of personality differences in that period of development. However, even 5-year correlations around 0.70 do not exclude major deviations of some of the subjects from this overall stability (i.e. differential stability in the sample). Furthermore, the younger a sample is, the lower will be the longitudinal stability observed, and the less suficient is the explanation of inter-individual diferences by static traits. This article goes beyond the notion of stability at the sample level by asking from a developmental perspective (a) whether systematic inter-individual differences in intra-individual change exist, (b) how they can be assessed, and (c) whether these inter-individual differences can be explained by characteristics of the person or of the environment.