Personality and Relationship Quality During the Transition From High School to Early Adulthood

Philip D. Parker, Oliver Lüdtke, Ulrich Trautwein, Brent W. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The post-high school transition period is believed to be associated with considerable changes in social networks, yet longitudinal studies documenting these changes are scarce. To address this gap, the current research explored 3 relevant issues. First, changes in participants' relationship characteristics during the transition from high school were examined. Second, the roles of personality traits as antecedents of these changes were studied. Third, the association between change in relationship characteristics and personality during the transition was explored. A sample of over 2,000 German emerging adults, surveyed before leaving school and then 2 years after the transition from high school, was assessed on personality traits and a multidimensional assessment of the quality of their relationships. Findings indicated that participants experienced mostly positive changes in relationship quality during the transition from high school and that antecedent personality at school was an important predictor of the nature of this change. Finally, change in relationship quality was found to be associated with personality change during the post-school transition. Findings indicated that personality traits may influence transition success and that change in relationships during this transition may influence personality development. The implications of the research for post-school transition success are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1061-1089
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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