Correlates of the Temporal Consistency of Personality Patterns in Childhood


  • We wish to thank Reinhard Götten, who developed the German version of the California Child Q-set together with the first author, the teachers and parents for their collaboration, and Marianne Riksen-Walraven, Cornells van Lieshout, William Graziano, and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Jens B. Asendorpf, Max-Planck-Institut für psychologische Forschung, Leopoldstr. 24, 8000 Miinchen 40, Germany.


ABSTRACT The temporal consistency of children's personality patterns as measured by the California Child Q-set was investigated in a sample of 151 German children between ages 4 and 6 years, and in a sample of 87 Dutch children between ages 10 and 12 years. Children's personality patterns showed a high interindividual variance of consistency. Correlational analyses revealed that children's ego resiliency predicted the longitudinal consistency of their Q-sort patterns irrespective of variations in age, culture, and type of judge. Itemwise extreme group comparisons of very consistent and very inconsistent children with a middle group showed that consistent children were characterized by culturally desirable traits, and inconsistent children by undesirable traits. The items typical for consistent children changed with age in agreement with the change in major developmental tasks. Discussion focuses on the processes that mediate the positive relations between the temporal consistency of personality, ego resiliency, and the age-appropriateness of personality.