March 15, 2021
Experiencing a divorce can be challenging and have a lasting impact on people's lives, but does it change your personality? By making use of large panel surveys from Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom, intra-individual change in the Big Five personality traits of those who separated during a four-year observation, was compared to that of those who remained married. We tested the replicability of divorce-induced personality change across the three country samples, while also examining gender differences and separation duration. Latent difference score models mostly indicated that divorce is not a consistent predictor of personality change, as only isolated effects were found, and these could not be replicated across samples. Aside from the overall lack of replicable effects a few isolated effects were detected that offer some support for a modified version of the social investment principle. Nonetheless, the overall finding of this study suggests that experiencing a divorce is unlikely to lead to permanent personality change.
Personality and Individual Differences