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Personality Development Young Adulthood

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Young adulthood (ages 18–30 years) is a developmental period associated with a number of significant life changes and challenges. Interspersed with both biological and environmental catalysts, substantial personality continuity and change have been observed within this period in the life span. An understanding of such developments is best achieved by investigating how the constructs housed within personality’s three conceptual levels (McAdams 1995) manifest and unfold. Accordingly, in this entry we provide an overview of personality development in young adulthood by summarizing what is known about the stability and change of (1) personality traits, (2) characteristic adaptations, and (3) narrative identity.

What Is Personality?

Personality is best represented by traits, characteristic adaptations, and narrative identity (McAdams 1995; McAdams and Olson 2010). Traits are biologically based constructs that manifest as cognitive, affective, and behavioral patterns. Though...


  • Personality
  • Traits
  • Goals
  • Narrative identity

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Correspondence to William L. Dunlop .

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Wilkinson, D.E., Dunlop, W.L. (2020). Personality Development Young Adulthood. In: Zeigler-Hill, V., Shackelford, T.K. (eds) Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. Springer, Cham.

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