The effects of getting a new teacher on the consistency of personality

Sven Rieger, Richard Göllner, Marion Spengler, Ulrich Trautwein, Benjamin Nagengast, Jeffrey R. Harring, Brent W. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: In the present research, we examined the effect of getting a new teacher on consistency in students’ personality measures, including trait and social cognitive constructs. Method: To test the effect of this kind of situational transition, we analyzed two large longitudinal samples (N = 5,628; N = 2,458) with quasi-experimental study designs. We used two consistency measures (i.e., rank-order clations and changes in variance over time) to compare students who got a new teacher with students who kept the same teacher. Results: Multiple-group latent variable analyses showed no differences in the rank-order correlations for the math-related social cognitive constructs of interest, effort, self-concept, self-regulation, anxiety, and the Big Five personality traits. Significantly lower rank-order correlations were found for some of the German- and English-related social cognitive constructs (i.e., effort measures) for the group of students who got a new teacher. Regarding the changes in variance (over time), we found no systematic differences between groups in both studies. Conclusions: We found partial support for the idea that social cognitive variables are more susceptible to environmental changes (i.e., getting a new teacher) than the Big Five personality traits are.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-500
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Big Five
  • consistency
  • new teacher
  • social cognitive constructs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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    Rieger, S., Göllner, R., Spengler, M., Trautwein, U., Nagengast, B., Harring, J. R., & Roberts, B. W. (2019). The effects of getting a new teacher on the consistency of personality. Journal of Personality, 87(3), 485-500.