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Dependability of Personality, Life Satisfaction, and Affect in Short-Term Longitudinal Data

Authors


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Ivana Anusic, Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, Psychology Building, East Lansing, MI 48824. Email: anusiciv@msu.edu.

Abstract

The consistency of individual differences across time has implications for theory building and clinical applications. Indeed, personality psychologists have long worked to place constructs on the continuum of consistency of more trait-like to more state-like constructs. Recently, Chmielewski and Watson (2009) highlighted the importance of dependability coefficients for interpreting the results of stability studies. These coefficients provide an estimate of how strongly short-term transient error affects retest correlations for a given measure. In this article, we use a modified version of Kenny and Zautra's (1995, 2001) STARTS model to estimate dependability of personality, life satisfaction, and affect in a 2-month longitudinal study of 8 waves. Results from 226 undergraduate students indicated that personality ratings were least influenced by transient state factors, whereas affect was most influenced. We discuss these findings in terms of their implications for the continuum of consistency and for the practical issue of selecting retest intervals for dependability analyses.

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