Essay Sample on Summary of Journal Article

Published: 2023-07-23
Essay Sample on Summary of Journal Article
Essay type:  Argumentative essays
Categories:  Psychology Analysis Personality Emotional intelligence
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 902 words
8 min read

In the psychological concept, personality traits mirror what the individual features tend to be in a social setup or when alone. To some extent, personality traits define who people are. Personality trait change can be experienced in some people due to age, social groups, types of occasions, and other life events. This paper presents a summary of a journal article on how personality trait change can be experienced, its stability, and what may be the possible causes of variation.

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According to the article, personality traits can be both stable and changeable. They are said to be relatively enduring, and take automatic thinking patterns and consistent feelings and behaviors across a wider variety of situations and contexts. The most commonly used personality trait framework is the Big Five or Five-Factor Model, which includes five broad traits: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. The insight that personality traits are both stable and changeable reflects, in part, the systematic use of different methodological approaches to assess stability and change in individual characteristics.

The two most prominent and most widely used approaches are rank-order stability and mean-level change. Rank order stability refers to the relative placement of a person within a group over time. For instance, if a 16-year-old who is conscientious relative to her peers develop into a 66-year-old who is also more conscientious compared with her peers. From the prescription, assessing rank-order stability across the life span, and especially over very long periods, is essential for understanding personality development and whether personality traits may be caused, in part, by continuous factors, such as specific components of the genetic system and individuals seeking consistent roles and environments across time.

Mean-level change refers to how the average level of a trait across all individuals changes over time. It can be studied in cross-sectional studies with different or longitudinally, with the same cohort. Longitudinal studies that investigated the rank-order stability of personality traits across extremely long time-spans are rare and often plagued by methodological drawbacks. Thus, it is unclear what level of rank-order stability we should expect across long periods. Contradicting previous research, a recent study suggested that there may be little to no rank-order stability in personality traits when very long time-intervals are considered.

At the baseline of the age of 14, teacher reports were collected using only one item for each of six personality characteristics that include self-Confidence, perseverance, the stability of moods, conscientiousness, originality, and desire to excel. At the follow-up age of 77, self- and informant-reports were collected on the same six personality items. The authors found no statistically significant rank-order stability.

U.S. sample was used to assess people's personality during adolescence, as well as 50 years later. Rank-order stability was tested, mean-level change, individual-level change, personality profile stability, gender differences in stability, and change, and we also used two independent samples to validate the short-forms against the long-forms. It was found out that the average rank-order stability across the ten personality traits and 50 years was .31, i.e. when accounting for measurement error in a latent framework and .23, that is, when estimated without correcting for unreliability.

Furthermore, according to the article, the present results, where the average raw stability coefficient was .23, with an average 95% confidence interval of .19, .27 which may bring stability and consistency with the full developmental model where all three developmental processes such as stochastic-contextual, person-environment transactions, and developmental constancies are present. Answering a question as to why personality traits are consistent from age 16 through age 66, environmental factors, genetics, or both are the critical points to the author's arguments. What environments or environmental factors could promote consistency over 50 years stretching from adolescence to old age can be challenging to imagine that many people in their 60s would find themselves in similar environments to those occupied in their teens. Thus, except for people who remained in their parents' home or nearby in the same community, strictly environmental consistency would be an unlikely explanation. Alternatively, one could imagine that people could play similar roles in adolescence and old age and that the continuity in the role may help explain the continuity in personality. If a person played the clown in high school or was the leader or nurturer, it would not be out of the question that they could play the same role in their 60s.

The other factor thought to contribute to personality continuity is genetics. One argument would be that some temperamental factors that resulted from genetic differences at conception would play out as a permanent signal in one's personality over time. However, newer perspectives on genetics that focus on developmental genetics may provide a potential answer. Specifically, a socioeconomic perspective on personality trait development acts on the gene system during development.


Personality traits tend to define and reflect on who people are whether in a social setting or individually. To some, it can be stable or changeable over time, depending on the environment, genetics, and life events. There are approaches and frameworks involved in determining personality traits. The framework and approaches are dependent on age and the other mentioned factors which contribute to the continuity or stability of personality traits.


Damian, R. I., Spengler, M., Sutu, A., & Roberts, B. W. (2019). Sixteen going on sixty-six: A longitudinal study of personality stability and change across 50 years. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 117(3), 674. Retrieved from

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