Longitudinal stability of personality characteristics1


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    .The study was supported by a grant from the Swedish National Defense Research Institute to Professor D. Magnusson. The study is part of a program on longitudinal stability of person characteristics. Requests for reprints should be sent to David Magnusson, Department of Psychology, University of Stockholm, Postbox 6706, S-113 85 Stockholm, Sweden.


An empirical study, based on a longitudinal sample of approximately 1,000 boys and girls, investigated whether ratings of personality traits show longitudinal stability. A reformulation of the Campbell and Fiske (1959) multitrait-multimethod criteria in terms of stability across time was employed to give a more profound analysis of longitudinal stability. The results point to considerable stability across a period of three years (from 10 to 13 years of age) in ratings of personality traits, performed by independent raters. These results are discussed in relation to views, put forward by several researchers, that ratings mainly mirror implicit personality theories of the raters, and therefore are less useful as data in psychological research and application.