Temperament and
Personality in Adolescents
Ruth Spence, Matthew Owens, Ian Goodyer
Background
Conclusions & Future Directions
•During the transition from childhood to adolescence there
is a dramatic rise in the incidence of mental health issues.
•Temperament is very stable over adolescence and an identical structure can be found at
14 and 17 years
Temperament
•Temperament and personality traits are related to each other and the results support the
use of a developmental model that includes traits from both domains
•There is evidence to suggest that temperament and
personality are linked to the formation and persistence
these problems.
•Elucidating the associations between dispositional
factors and mental health will help tailor treatments and
identify vulnerable individuals who may benefit from early
interventions.
•Self-report measures of depressive and anxiety symptoms will be added to this
developmental model to explore bi-directional influences between psychopathology and
personality formation.
Shyness
Activity
Sociability
Emotionality
•The results of this future work will also be used to investigate the ways in which
temperament and personality influence adolescent service use and engagement.
Aims
•Form an integrated model of adolescent temperament and
personality by using structural equation modelling
Structure of temperament at age 14 and 17 years
14 yrs
17 yrs
•Measure temperament using the Parent version of the EAS
Temperament Survey for Children (EAS; Buss & Plomin, 1984)
at 14 and 17 years
19 yrs
Neuroticism
Personality
•Measure personality using the self report NEO Five Factor
Inventory (NEO FFI; Costa & McCrae, 1992) at 19 years of
age
Emotionality
.68
.38
Emotionality
Extraversion
•Use path analysis to test how temperament might predict later
personality
Activity
.86
Activity
-.28
.37
Methods and Measures
Neuroticism
Extraversion
Openness
Agreeableness
Conscientiousness
•This study used data from ROOTS; a longitudinal
prospective study of mental and physical health outcomes
over the adolescent years (Goodyer et al., 2009)
Sociability
.68
.25
.14
Sociability
Structure of Personality at age 19 years
Agreeableness
•1208 14 year olds were recruited from Cambridgeshire
secondary schools in the UK
•Primary caregivers filled out the EAS Temperament Survey
(Buss & Plomin, 1984) when adolescents were age 14 and
again at 17 years old. This measures temperament along
four dimensions: Emotionality, Activity, Sociability and
Shyness
•The adolescents were sent the NEO Five Factor Inventory
(Costa & McCrae, 1992) at age 19 years. This is a five
factor measure of personality: Neuroticism, Extraversion,
Openness to Experience, Agreeableness and
Conscientiousness
•Structural Equation Modelling was used to assess the
relationships between temperament and personality traits
Openness
-.32
Findings
Shyness
.85
•Of the original 1208, 1074 were followed up at age 17 (88.9%), and 470 returned the personality
questionnaires (38.9%) at age 19
•Path Analysis showed that temperament was very stable over time, with temperament at age 14 being very
predictive of temperament at age 17. Path coefficients ranged from .68 for Emotionality and Sociability to .86
for Activity
•Pathway coefficients demonstrated positive relationship between Emotionality and Neuroticism (.38), Activity
and Conscientiousness (.37), Sociability and Extraversion (.25) and Agreeableness (.14). There was a negative
relationship between Activity and Openness (-.28) and Shyness and Extraversion (-.32)
•Temperament explained 21% of the variance in Neuroticism, 32% of Extraversion, 12.9% of Openness to
Experience, 4.4% Agreeableness and 13.3% of Conscientiousness
Shyness
Conscientiousness
Note all path coefficients are significant at p<.05
Pathways from Temperament measured at age14 and 17 to Personality measured at 19 years
References
•Buss, A. H., & Plomin, R. (1984). Temperament: Early developing personality traits. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
Assosciates, Inc.
•Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) and NEO Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI)
professional manual. Odessa, FL.: Psychological Assessment Resources
•Goodyer, I. M., Croudace, T., Dunn, V., Herbert, J., & Jones, P. B. (2009). Cohort profile: Risk patterns and processes for
psychopathology emerging during adolescence: The ROOTS project. International Journal of Epidemiology, 1-9
•Nigg, J. T. (2006). Temperament and developmental psychopathology. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47(3), 395422.
•Shiner, R. L., & Caspi, A. (2003). Personality differences in childhood and adolescence: measurement, development, and
consequences. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44(1), 2-32.
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Temperament and Personality in Adolescents Ruth Spence