Archive for February, 2007

Personality changes, now and then

The study conductor(s)top
Prof. Jaap Dennissen (Humboldt University, Berlin)
The participant(s)top
103 children followed to adulthood
Date study concludedtop
February 2, 2007
Funded bytop
Humboldt University, other independent sources.

This study attempts to show a relationship from childhood behavior to adult behavior.


Shy children generally stayed shy, but “hyper or outgoing” children calmed down to an “average” level in adulthood.

Methods usedtop

To get an initial idea of the preschoolers’ personalities, the researchers surveyed both guardians and teachers when the children were ages 4, 5 and 6. Based on the observations of their teachers and guardians, the children were identified as having one of three personality types: over-controlled, under-controlled or resilient. Over-controlled equates to shy, under-controlled equates to “impulsive”, and resilient shows a “good” balance between the two. The parents were given questionnaires every year after the initial survey until the children were age 10, and then again at ages 12, 17, and 23.


Children labeled as over-controlled generally remain over-controlled through adulthood. Children who were labeled as under-controlled gained some self control over the years, and children who were labeled as resilient generally remained that way. One factor that may help the children develop normally is a part-time job during their teen years, according to Dennissen. He and his colleagues found that such work experience led to lower levels of aggressiveness among both the over-controlled and under-controlled kids. With the early job experience, teens learn some of the basic life’s rules, such as that aggression is met without reward, Dennissen explains.

  • Parental behavior likely should have played a part in the study, but it’s generally similar results would indicate that may not be a factor.
  • This study validates the belief that working “temp” jobs as a youth increases one’s social skills.
External Sourcestop | Journal of Personality, February 2007
APA Citation(s)top
Personality changes, now and then. (2007).
   Retrieved January 21, 2018, from Public Studies Web site:
MLA Citation(s)top
“Personality changes, now and then”
   Public Studies. 2 February 2007.
   January 21, 2018. <>.