Job characteristics and personality change in young adulthood: A 12-year longitudinal study and replication

Anqing Zheng, Kevin A. Hoff, Alexis Hanna, Sif Einarsdóttir, James Rounds, D. A. Briley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Personality changes are related to successfully performing adult occupational roles which require teamwork, duty, and managing stress. However, it is unclear how personality development relates to specific job characteristics that vary across occupations. Method: We investigated whether 151 objective job characteristics, derived from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), were associated with personality levels and changes in a 12-year longitudinal sample followed over the school to work transition. Using cross-validated regularized modeling, we combined two Icelandic longitudinal datasets (total N = 1054) and constructed an individual-level, aggregated job characteristics score that maximized prediction of personality levels at baseline and change over time. Results: The strongest association was found for level of openness (0.25), followed by conscientiousness (0.16) and extraversion (0.14). Overall, aggregated job characteristics had a stronger prediction for personality intercepts (0.14) than slopes (0.10). These results were subsequently replicated in a U.S. sample using levels of the Big Five as the dependent variable. This indicates that associations between job characteristics and personality are generalizable across life stages and nations. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that job titles are a valuable resource that can be linked to personality to better understand factors that influence psychological development. Further work is needed to document the prospective validity of job characteristics across a wider range of occupations and age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-315
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • O*NET
  • job characteristics
  • longitudinal
  • personality change
  • young adulthood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Job characteristics and personality change in young adulthood: A 12-year longitudinal study and replication'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this