Age differences in personality across the adult life span: parallels in five cultures.

R. R. McCrae, P. T. Costa, M. Pedroso de Lima, A. Simões, F. Ostendorf, A. Angleitner, I. Marusić, D. Bratko, G. V. Caprara, C. Barbaranelli, J. H. Chae, R. L. Piedmont

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

429 Scopus citations


Both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies in the United States have shown consistent changes between college age and middle adulthood. There appear to be declines in 3 of the 5 major factors of personality--Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Openness--and increases in Agreeableness and Conscientiousness. To examine cross-cultural generalizability of these findings, translations of the Revised NEO Personality Inventory were administered to samples in Germany, Italy, Portugal, Croatia, and South Korea (N = 7,363). Similar patterns of age differences were seen in each country, for both men and women. Common trends were also seen for the more specific traits that define the major factors. Because these nations differ substantially in culture and recent history, results suggest the hypothesis that these are universal maturational changes in adult personality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)466-477
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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