Personality characteristics in childhood and outcomes in adulthood: Findings from a 30 year longitudinal study
David M Fergusson; L John Horwood; Nicola R Swain-Campbell
Objective: Personality has been associated with a variety of outcomes in adulthood. Most of the literature related to mental state disorder and personality is cross sectional. Methods: Data from more than 900 participants of the Christchurch Health and Development Study (CHDS) were examined. Extroversion and neuroticism were measured at 14 years old and social outcomes at age 30. The presence of mental state disorder between 18-30 years old was identified. Multiple potential confounders in childhood were included in the analysis. Results: Neuroticism at fourteen was significantly correlated with multiple environmental exposures whereas extroversion had relatively few associations. Regression analysis found that neuroticism at 14 predicted depression, anxiety, suicidality and overall mental health problems at 30 as well as poor self-esteem but not relationship quality or wellbeing. Extroversion at 14 predicted alcohol and drug dependence and overall mental health problems, but also predicted improved social wellbeing, self-esteem and relationship quality at 30. Conclusions: In this analysis extroversion interacts with significantly fewer environmental factors than neuroticism in predicting adult outcomes. Neuroticism at 14 years predicts poorer mental health outcomes in adulthood. Extroversion in childhood may be a protective factor in the development of mental disorder other than alcohol use disorders. Extroverted adolescents have more positive social outcomes at 30 years.
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Rights Statement: This version in OUR Archive is the author's manuscript accepted for publication after peer-review. The published version is: Newton-Howes, G., Horwood, J., & Mulder, R. (2015). Personality characteristics in childhood and outcomes in adulthood: Findings from a 30 year longitudinal study. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 49(4), 377-386. doi: 10.1177/0004867415569796
Research Type: Journal Article