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Children's Behavioral Styles at
Age 3 Are Linked to Their
Adult Personality Traits at Age 26

Authors

  • Avshalom Caspi,

    1. Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and University of Wisconsin-Madison
      University of Wisconsin-Madison University of Otago
      Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and University of Wisconsin-Madison
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  • HonaLee Harrington,

    1. Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and University of Wisconsin-Madison
      University of Wisconsin-Madison University of Otago
      Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and University of Wisconsin-Madison
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  • Barry Milne,

    1. Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and University of Wisconsin-Madison
      University of Wisconsin-Madison University of Otago
      Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and University of Wisconsin-Madison
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  • James W. Amell,

    1. Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and University of Wisconsin-Madison
      University of Wisconsin-Madison University of Otago
      Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and University of Wisconsin-Madison
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  • Reremoana F. Theodore,

    1. Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and University of Wisconsin-Madison
      University of Wisconsin-Madison University of Otago
      Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and University of Wisconsin-Madison
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  • Terrie E. Moffitt

    1. Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and University of Wisconsin-Madison
      University of Wisconsin-Madison University of Otago
      Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and University of Wisconsin-Madison
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Abstract

We observed 1,000 3-year-old children who exhibited five temperament types: Undercontrolled, Inhibited, Confident, Reserved, and Well-adjusted. Twenty-three years later, we reexamined 96% of the children as adults, using multiple methods of comprehensive personality assessment, including both self- and informant-reports. These longitudinal data provide the longest and strongest evidence to date that children's early-emerging behavioral styles can foretell their characteristic behaviors, thoughts, and feelings as adults, pointing to the foundations of the human personality in the early years of life.

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