Age and gender differences in personality traits from early childhood through adolescence

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Objective: Most research on personality development has employed self-report questionnaires and concerned individuals older than 10 years. This is the first study to examine mean-level age differences in personality traits from early childhood to late adolescence in the non-Western cultural context. Method: Personality was measured in two community samples of parent reports of 2–18-year-old children (N = 4,330) and self-reports of 10–19-year-old adolescents (N = 4,663) from Russia by the Inventory of Child Individual Differences-Short version (ICID-S) at the three levels of the hierarchy, the two higher order traits, the Big Five, and lower order traits. Results: Across childhood, the Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Neuroticism traits increased, and the Extraversion and Openness traits decreased. In adolescence, parent-reported Conscientiousness traits increased and Neuroticism traits decreased, whereas youth-rated Alpha and Agreeableness decreased in middle adolescence. There were small gender differences in trait levels and age trends. Parents and youths did not agree on gender differences in age trends for Neuroticism and Extraversion. Conclusion: The findings support personality maturation from early childhood to late adolescence, with the exception of increasing Neuroticism across childhood, and provide some evidence for the disruption in personality maturation in adolescence. Parents and adolescents may have different perspectives on personality development.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Personality
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • adolescence
  • childhood
  • gender differences
  • mean-level age differences
  • personality development




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