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Questions about absolute stability can be considered at the group level or the individual level.
This module describes different ways to address questions about personality stability across the lifespan.
Definitions of the major types of personality stability are provided, and evidence concerning the different kinds of stability and change are reviewed.
(The prefix “homo” means something like the “same” in Greek.) For example, researchers might ask whether stress reaction or the tendency to become easily distressed by the normal challenges of life exhibits homotypic stability from age 25 to age 45.
The assumption is that this attribute has the same manifestations at these different ages.
Questions about heterotypic stability concern the degree of consistency in underlying personality attributes.
The tricky part of studying heterotypic stability is that the underlying psychological attribute can have different behavioral expressions at different ages.I will also draw your attention to the important concept of individual differences in personality development.Heterotypic stability refers to the psychological coherence of an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors across development.For example, it is possible to investigate whether the average 40-year-old adult has a lower (or higher) level of stress reaction than the average 20-year-old.The answer to this question would tell researchers something about typical patterns of personality development.Something frustrating happens when you attempt to learn about personality stability: As with many topics in psychology, there are a number of different ways to conceptualize and quantify personality stability (e.g., Caspi & Bem, 1990; Roberts, Wood, & Caspi, 2008).This means there are multiple ways to consider questions about personality stability.) or at the group level (e.g., how are most 18-year-olds different than most 38-year-olds? [Image: Ken Wytock, https://goo.gl/G1qfc O, CC BY-NC 2.0, https://goo.gl/Vn Kl K8]Absolute stability refers to the consistency of the level of the same personality attribute across time.If an individual received a score of 45 on a hypothetical measure of stress reaction at age 20 and at age 40, researchers would conclude there was evidence of absolute stability.I will make an important distinction between heterotypic and homotypic stability.I will then describe absolute and differential stability, two ways of considering homotypic stability.