Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


NLM Title Abbreviation

J Pers Soc Psychol

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

PubMed ID


DOI of Published Version



We examined self- and spouse-ratings in a young adult newlywed sample across a 2-year interval. Rank-order stability correlations were consistently high and did not differ across the two types of ratings. As expected, self-ratings showed significant increases in conscientiousness and agreeableness—and declines in neuroticism/negative affectivity—over time. Spouse-ratings yielded a very different pattern, however, showing significant decreases in conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion and openness across the study interval. Spouse-ratings also showed evidence of a “honeymoon effect”, such that they tended to be more positive than self-ratings at Time 1. This effect had dissipated by the second assessment; in fact, the spouse-ratings now tended to be more negative at Time 2. Analyses of individual-level change revealed little convergence between self- and spouse-rated change, using both raw change scores and reliable change index (RCI) scores. Finally, correlational and regression analyses indicated that changes in spouse-ratings were significantly associated with changes in marital satisfaction; in contrast, changes in self-ratings essentially were unrelated to marital satisfaction. These results highlight the value of collecting multimethod data in studies of adult personality development.


trait stability, mean-level change, personality development, marital satisfaction, spouse ratings, self ratings, emerging adulthood


This research was supported by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Grant 1-R01-MH61804-01 to Diane Berry, by NIMH Grant 1-R01-MH068472-1 to David Watson, and by NIMH Grant 1-R03- MH068395-01 to Eva C. Klohnen.

Journal Article Version

Author's Original

Published Article/Book Citation

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91:5 (2006) pp. 959-974. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.91.5.959


Copyright © American Psychological Association, 2006. This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record. Posted by permission.