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Against All Odds – Is a More Differentiated View of Personality Development in Emerging Adulthood Needed? The Case of Young Apprentices
Deventer, J., Lüdtke, O., Nagy, G., Retelsdorf, J., Wagner, J.

Against All Odds – Is a More Differentiated View of Personality Development in Emerging Adulthood Needed? The Case of Young Apprentices

British Journal of Psychology. DOI: 10.1111/bjop.12336

Personality development in emerging adults who do not attend college after high school has been largely overlooked so far. In this study, we investigated personality development in emerging German adults (NT1 = 1,886, MageT1 = 18.01 years, 29% female) undergoing vocational education and training (VET). The trainees were assessed at the start of VET, 1.5 years later, and another 1.5 years after that, just before graduation. Longitudinal latent change score analyses were applied. Bivariate analyses investigated life satisfaction and job strain as social and workrelated aspects that are potentially reciprocally related to personality development. Meanlevel personality changes included increases in neuroticism and decreases in agreeableness and conscientiousness in the first interval. In the second interval, neuroticism decreased and conscientiousness increased. Simultaneously, trainees reported a gradual decrease in extraversion and openness across the 3year time span. Personality, especially agreeableness and conscientiousness, emerged as a stronger predictor of changes in job strain and life satisfaction than vice versa. For example, more agreeable and more conscientious trainees subsequently showed increases in life satisfaction. Trainees reporting higher job strain subsequently showed decreases in agreeableness. Trajectories of personality development partly support the maturity principle that has been established in many college student samples.