Increasingly, psychological research has indicated that an individual’s personality changes across the lifespan. We aim to better understand personality change by examining if personality change is linked to striving towards fulfilment, as suggested by existential–humanistic theories of personality dynamics. Using the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, a cohort of 4,733 mid-life individuals across 10 years, we show that personality change was significantly associated with change in existential well-being, represented by psychological well-being (PWB). Moreover, personality change was more strongly related to change in PWB than changes in other well-being indicators such as depression, hostility and life satisfaction. Personality changed to a similar degree and explained greater variation in our well-being measures than changes in socioeconomic variables. The findings indicate personality change is necessary for the holistic development of an individual, supporting a greater need to understand personality change and increasing room for use of personality measures as indicators of well-being and policy making.
- Big Five
- Personality change
- Psychological well-being scale