Intraindividual Variability in Adult Personality Development

Authored by: Erik E. Noftle , William Fleeson

Handbook of Intraindividual Variability Across the Life Span

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415534864
eBook ISBN: 9780203113066
Adobe ISBN: 9781136285233


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Although personality has traditionally been conceived of as a stable characteristic, the purpose of this chapter is to argue that frequent short-term variability is a real and meaningful component of personality traits and their development. Such short-term variability addresses long-standing puzzles and opens up new questions about the nature of personality and about the nature of personality development. We propose GLIDE-STRIDE theory to account for this variability (Fleeson & Jolley, 2006; Noftle & Fleeson, 2010). Six STRIDE mechanisms (stabilizing forces, temporal trends, resource availability, interpretations of situations, drives and desires, and error) determine variability in the short term, and five GLIDE mechanisms (genetics, learning, identity, developmental regulation, and environment) determine development across the life span (see Figure 10.1). Personality is certainly broader than traits, and also includes characteristic adaptations such as goals, abilities, and self-concepts as well as narrative identity (Fleeson, 2012; Hooker, 2002). However, a great deal of research on intraindividual variability in personality has concentrated on personality traits and traitlike constructs, and thus this chapter focuses primarily (but not exclusively) on this aspect of personality. 1

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