For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Work experiences and personality development in young adulthood"

by Roberts, Brent W; Caspi, Avshalom; Moffitt, Terrie E (2003)


This longitudinal study provides an analysis of the relationship between personality traits and work experiences with a special focus on the relationship between changes in personality and work experiences in young adulthood. Longitudinal analyses uncovered 3 findings. First, measures of personality taken at age 18 predicted both objective and subjective work experiences at age 26. Second, work experiences were related to changes in personality traits from age 18 to 26. Third, the predictive and change relations between personality traits and work experiences were corresponsive: Traits that "selected" people into specific work experiences were the same traits that changed in response to those same work experiences. The relevance of the findings to theories of personality development is discussed.

Key Passage

...the findings suggest that work experiences have the potential to modify basic personality dispositions. We discovered that work experiences were associated with personality changes in young adulthood, even after controlling for adolescents’ prework personalities. In fact, the modal effect size of the association between work experiences and personality change was approximately equal to the predictive association from prework personality to work experiences. (p.591)


Social Psychology, Personality, Personality Trait, Work Experiences, Personality Development, Personal Development


Psychological Centrality of Work

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