• Jennifer Deventer
  • Oliver Lüdtke
  • Gabriel Nagy
  • Jan Retelsdorf
  • Jenny Wagner
Personality development in emerging adults who do not attend college after high school has been largely overlooked so far. In this study, we investigated personality development in emerging German adults (NT1 = 1,886, MageT1 = 18.01 years, 29% female) undergoing vocational education and training (VET). The trainees were assessed at the start of VET, 1.5 years later, and another 1.5 years after that, just before graduation. Longitudinal latent change score analyses were applied. Bivariate analyses investigated life satisfaction and job strain as social and work‐related aspects that are potentially reciprocally related to personality development. Mean‐level personality changes included increases in neuroticism and decreases in agreeableness and conscientiousness in the first interval. In the second interval, neuroticism decreased and conscientiousness increased. Simultaneously, trainees reported a gradual decrease in extraversion and openness across the 3‐year time span. Personality, especially agreeableness and conscientiousness, emerged as a stronger predictor of changes in job strain and life satisfaction than vice versa. For example, more agreeable and more conscientious trainees subsequently showed increases in life satisfaction. Trainees reporting higher job strain subsequently showed decreases in agreeableness. Trajectories of personality development partly support the maturity principle that has been established in many college student samples.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Psychology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)60-86
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 02.2019

    Research areas

  • bivariate longitudinal latent change score modelling, emerging adulthood, personality development, vocational education and training

ID: 902822