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Description: Early adulthood is a time of substantial personality change characterized by large inter-individual diversity. To investigate the role of age in this diversity, the present study examined whether emerging adults differ from an older group of young adults in their Big Five personality development. By means of multi-group latent change modelling, two groups of 16- to 19-year-olds (n = 3,555) and 26- to 29-year-olds (n = 2,621) were tracked over the course of four years and compared regarding four aspects of personality change: Mean-level change, rank-order change, inter-individual differences in change, and profile change. In addition, age-differential socialization effects associated with six first-time life events were investigated. Analyses revealed substantial age differences in all four aspects of change. As expected, emerging adults showed greater change and diversity in change than young adults. However, the six life events had no age-differential impact on change in single traits and Big Five profiles. Overall, the results indicate that age differences should be considered even in specific life stages to advance the understanding of personality development.


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