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Maturity and change in personality: Developmental trends of temperament and character in adulthood

  • Kim Josefsson (a1) (a2), Markus Jokela (a1), C. Robert Cloninger (a3), Mirka Hintsanen (a1), Johanna Salo (a1), Taina Hintsa (a1), Laura Pulkki-Råback (a1) (a2) and Liisa Keltikangas-Järvinen (a1)...


We studied the developmental trends of temperament and character in a longitudinal population-based sample of Finnish men and women aged 20–45 years using the Temperament and Character Inventory model of personality. Personality was assessed in 1997, 2001, and 2007 (n = 2,104, 2,095, and 2,056, respectively). Mean-level changes demonstrated qualitatively distinct developmental patterns for character (self-directedness, cooperativeness, and self-transcendence) and temperament (novelty seeking, harm avoidance, reward dependence, and persistence). Character developed toward greater maturity, although self-transcendence decreased with age. However, self-transcendence was the strongest predictor of overall personality change. Cohort effects indicated lower level of self-transcendence and higher level of self-directedness and cooperativeness in younger birth cohorts. Regarding temperament, novelty seeking decreased and persistence increased slightly with age. Both high novelty seeking and high persistence predicted overall personality change. These findings suggest that temperament and character traits follow different kinds of developmental trajectories.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Liisa Keltikangas-Järvinen, Institute of Behavioral Sciences, Psychology, Siltavuorenpenger 1A, P.O. Box 9, University of Helsinki, Helsinki 00014, Finland; E-mail:


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