The PMaD Lab employs a number of longitudinal studies to address questions concerning personality development. 


Promoting Character Development

Promoting Character Development (PCD) is a multi-method longitudinal study that examines how best to measure the development of personality during adolescence. The study focuses on the development of conscientiousness, a key component related to school and occupational success, relationship quality, and physical health. The participants of the PCD study are students enrolled at KIPP Academy in St. Louis. These fifth to eighth graders are being assessed in six different waves throughout each academic year. The main aim of the PCD study is identify whether different assessments of personality (self, peer, teacher, daily diary and EAR) provide similar estimates of personality change. Additional questions include: Do school experiences impact development? Are certain assessment techniques better at predicting academic outcomes? Do transition periods promote greater personality development? 

Collaborators: Angela Duckworth 

Kelly Connolly Longitudinal Study

The Kelly Connolly Longitudinal Study (KCLS) is one of the longest and most thorough studies of personality. The KCLS is a three wave longitudinal spanning 45-years, with mortality information across a 75-year time span. Between 1935 and 1938, 300 engaged couples were recruited in a study of martial functioning. Personality assessments were obtained with self-ratings, spousal ratings, and from five close friends. In the mid 1950s when the participants were in their mid-forties they were followed up again and provided personality, relationship and health information. Finally, when the participants were nearly 70 years of age they completed a final wave of assessment that mainly focused on their physical and mental health. Recent topics from this study include using friend-rated personality to predict longevity and divorce.  

Collaborators: Jim Connolly, Mason Garrison 

St. Louis Personality and Aging Network

The SPAN (St. Louis Personality and Aging Network) study is a longitudinal study examining the development and impact of personality in later life. The participants include a representative sample of adults living in the St. Louis area that were between 55 and 64 during the first wave of assessment in 2007. Phase I of the SPAN study resulted in multiple assessments of personality, social functioning, and physical and mental health across a span of 4 years. With recent funding from NIA, Phase II is about to begin. In Phase II we plan to continue to follow up our participants to address how personality influences health in older adulthood. First, what assessments or measures of personality (e.g., self vs other, normal vs abnormal, broad vs facet) best predict later health maladies? Second, do physiological markers (e.g., IL-6) mediate the relationship between personality and physical health? Third, do changes in personality play a role in the health process?

Collaborators: Tom Oltmanns

Personality and Intimate Relationships Study

The Personality and Intimate Relationships Study (PAIRS) is a two-year longitudinal study measuring personality and relationship development in a sample of over 400 college students. PAIRS uses a variety methods to measure personality, including self-report questionnaires, the EAR, experience sampling, and life narrative interviews, in the hope to best track how life experiences can impact one’s personality. One of the main focuses is looking at how close others (romantic partners, friends, parents, siblings, and even ex-romantic partners) have insight into one’s life. 

Collaborators: Simine Vazire

Additionally, our lab uses a number of publicly available longitudinal data sets including:

  •    German Socioeconomic Panel Study (GSOEP)   
  •    The Health and Retirement Study (HRS)
  •    The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA)
  •    Midlife in the United Status (MIDUS)
  •    National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY)



The lab is currently interested in a number of broad questions:

  • What experiences are associated with personality trait change?

  • Are friends, family and other observers able to notice changes in personality? 

  • What is the relationship between personality and romantic relationships? 

  • What daily behaviors are assoiciated with personality?   

  • What is the best way to pull a perfect espresso shot?