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.

Published Article/Book Citation

The definitive version was published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91:5 (2006) pp. 959-974. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.91.5.959


Author Posting. 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. It is posted here by permission of the APA for personal use, not for redistribution.