Modeling bivariate change in individual differences: Prospective associations between personality and life satisfaction



Hounkpatin HO, Boyce CJ, Dunn G & Wood AM (2018) Modeling bivariate change in individual differences: Prospective associations between personality and life satisfaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 115 (6), pp. 12-29.

A number of structural equation models have been developed to examine change in one variable or the longitudinal association between two variables. The most common of these are the latent growth model, the autoregressive cross-lagged model, the autoregressive latent trajectory model, and the latent change score model. We first overview each of these models through evaluating their different assumptions surrounding the nature of change and how these assumptions may result in different data interpretations. We then, to elucidate these issues in an empirical example, examine the longitudinal association between personality traits and life satisfaction. In a representative Dutch sample (N = 8320), with participants providing data on both personality and life satisfaction measures every two years over an eight year period, we reproduce findings from previous research. However, some of the structural equation models overviewed have not previously been applied to the personality-life satisfaction relation. Our extended empirical examination suggests intra-individual changes in life satisfaction predict subsequent intra-individual changes in personality traits. The availability of datasets with three or more assessment waves allows the application of more advanced structural equation models such as the autoregressive latent trajectory or the extended latent change score model, which accounts for the complex dynamic nature of change processes and allows stronger inferences on the nature of the association between variables. However, the choice of model should be determined by theories of change processes in the variables being studied.

personality; individual differences; life satisfaction; latent change score model; structural equation models;

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Volume 115, Issue 6

Publication date31/12/2018
Publication date online18/09/2017
Date accepted by journal14/06/2017
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association

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Dr Christopher Boyce
Dr Christopher Boyce

Honorary Research Fellow, SMS Management and Support