Leszko et al., 2016. Future directions in the study of personality in adulthood and older age


Over the past 20 years, empirical evidence has brought about a change in the view on how, or even whether, personality traits change or develop in adulthood and later life. Now we know personality can and does change for many people, if not most. Changes in personality may occur due to biological or environmental factors. This paper presents key empirical findings on personality change in adulthood and provides evidence that personality change affects mental and physical health. Our goal is to provide a broad overview on personality change research that would be an invaluable resource for students and researchers. We organize this paper into 3 sections. The first is focused on techniques in analyzing personality change in adulthood and later life. The second is focused on personality change as an outcome; we explore what factors predict personality change. The third discusses a relatively novel idea: personality change as a predictor of mental and physical health. We conclude that more research on factors predicting personality change is needed and we provide suggestions on how research on personality change can progress.