Age differences in the big five across the life span: evidence from two national samples
Cross-sectional age differences in the Big Five personality traits were investigated using 2 large datasets from Great Britain and Germany: the British Household Panel Study (BHPS; N >/= 14,039) and the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (GSEOP; N >/= 20,852). Participants, who ranged in age from 16 to the mid-80s, completed a 15-item version of the Big Five Inventory (e.g., John & Srivastava, 1999) in either 2005 or 2006. The observed age trends were generally consistent across both datasets. Extraversion and Openness were negatively associated with age, whereas Agreeableness was positively associated with age. Average levels of Conscientiousness were highest for participants in middle age. The only exception was Neuroticism, which was slightly negatively associated with age in the BHPS and slightly positively associated with age in the GSEOP. Neither gender nor education level were consistent moderators of age differences in the Big Five.
Psychology and Aging
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