Longitudinal Associations Between Personality Profile Stability and Adjustment in College Students: Distinguishing Among Overall Stability, Distinctive Stability, and Within-Time Normativeness


concerning this article should be addressed to Theo A. Klimstra, Research Centre Adolescent Development, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80.140, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands. Email: t.a.klimstra@uu.nl.


ABSTRACT In the present study, longitudinal associations of 3 aspects of personality profile stability (i.e., overall stability, distinctive stability, and within-time normativeness) with 3 adjustment measures (i.e., depressive symptoms, self-esteem, and delinquency) were examined, using 4 waves of longitudinal data on a Belgian college sample (N=565). Longitudinal path models revealed strong longitudinal associations between adjustment and overall stability. Subsequent analyses showed that it is not the degree to which one's personality profile consistently diverges from the average personality profile within a population (i.e., distinctive stability) that is related to adjustment but the degree to which a personality profile of an individual matches the average personality profile within the sample at a certain point in time (i.e., within-time normativeness). The current study thereby underscores the importance of distinguishing normativeness and distinctiveness when examining personality profile stability.