Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Rand D. Conger


Research evidence has indicated significant change in personality traits during the transition from late adolescence to early adulthood. Life experiences, particularly those involved in work, school, interpersonal relationships, positive and negative life events, and risky behavior are seen as having the potential to evoke personality change. The influence of these life experiences may also be contingent on the personality dispositions that persons bring to the change situation themselves. Based on this view, we proposed that personality characteristics at adolescence would help shape life experiences during early adulthood which, in turn, would lead to further growth, stability, or regression on these personality traits. Consistent with most previous research, our results indicate that personality traits reported by both self and others (parents, spouses/partners, boyfriend or girlfriends, or friends) change significantly during the period of late adolescence to early adulthood. Consistent with our reciprocal hypothesis, the results also indicate that early personality traits are significantly related to an array of life experiences, which, in turn, are associated with increases or decreases in specific personality traits over time. However, these results may differ depending on who reports respondent personality. In addition, the results also indicate that different domains of personality influence or are affected by different domains of life experiences.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Yumei Sun



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

110 pages