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Are personality traits and relationship characteristics reciprocally related? Longitudinal analyses of codevelopment in the transition out of high school and beyond
Deventer, J., Wagner, J., Lüdtke, O., Trautwein, U.

Are personality traits and relationship characteristics reciprocally related? Longitudinal analyses of codevelopment in the transition out of high school and beyond

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/pspp0000191, Open Access

Personality development has been associated with changes in various aspects of social relationships (e.g., contact frequency, emotional closeness, etc.). However, specific patterns of personality-relationship transactions are still not well understood as not many empirical studies have explored major life transitions. Emerging adulthood with its numerous life transitions is crucial for personality and social relationship development. In this study, we looked at personality–relationship transactions in the transition from high school to college, apprenticeship training, and so forth. We used Waves 1 to 3 of theTransformation of the Secondary School System and Academic Careers (TOSCA) study, which measured the Big Five (McCrae & Costa, 2008) and their facets as well as five relationship characteristics in social networks with one’s romantic partner, friends, kin, and others. Our analyses of extended bivariate latent difference score models revealed four main findings: First, there was an imbalance in personality–relationship transaction effects with the majority of effects occurring from personality to change in social relationships rather than in the opposite direction. Furthermore, only a few change-tochange associations occurred. Second, two thirds of the cross-lagged effects derived from personality facets. Third, the majority of effects were found in the second measurement interval (i.e., not during the transition out of high school, but in the time period after this transition). Finally, neuroticism and its facets, as well as conflict frequency and perceived feelings of insecurity in the relationship emerged as the most consistent associations in this age group. Theoretical and empirical implications for personality– relationship transaction patterns are discussed.