The kids are alright: growth and stability in personality development from adolescence to adulthood

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001 Oct;81(4):670-83.


This longitudinal study provides a comprehensive analysis of continuity and change in personality functioning from age 18 to age 26 in a birth cohort (N = 921) using the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (A. Tellegen, 1982). Data were analyzed using 4 different methods: differential continuity, mean-level change, individual differences in change, and ipsative change. Convergent evidence pointing toward personality continuity, as opposed to change, was found. The personality changes that did take place from adolescence to adulthood reflected growth in the direction of greater maturity; many adolescents became more controlled and socially more confident and less angry and alienated. Consistent with this, greater initial levels of maturity were associated with less personality change over time. The results indicate that the transition from adolescence to young adulthood is marked by continuity of personality and growth toward greater maturity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Development*
  • Random Allocation
  • Sex Factors