Personality Development

To what extent is personality stable versus changing across the lifespan? How do people’s personalities change?

>> Atherton, O.E., Grijalva, E., Roberts, B.W. & Robins, R.W. (2021). Stability and change in personality traits and major life goals from college to midlife. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 47(5), 841-858.

>> Atherton, O.E., Sutin, A.R., Terracciano, A., & Robins, R.W. (in press). Stability and change in the Big Five personality traits: Findings from a longitudinal study of Mexican-origin adults. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

>> Atherton, O.E., Donnellan, M.B., & Robins, R.W. (2020). The development of personality across the lifespan. In P.J. Corr & G. Matthews (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology, 2nd ed (pp. 169-182). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


What is self-regulation? How does it develop? How do we cultivate more of it? When and why is it beneficial versus costly, and in what contexts?

>> Atherton, O.E., Lawson, K.M., & Robins, R.W. (2020). The development of effortful control from late childhood to young adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 119(2), 417-456. DOI: 10.1037/pspp0000283.

>> Atherton, O.E. (2020). Typical and atypical self-regulation: The importance of studying change over time. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 14(1), 1-14. DOI: 10.1111/spc3.12514.

>> Damian, R.I., Atherton, O.E., Lawson, K.M., & Robins, R.W. (2020). The co-development of chores and effortful control among Mexican-origin youth and prospective work outcomes. Journal of Research in Personality, 84, 1-13. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2019.103883.

Sociocultural Contexts

Which sociocultural factors predict stability and change in personality? How, when, and why do sociocultural contexts interact with individual differences to impact behavior and outcomes?

>> Atherton, O.E., Willroth, E.C., Weston, S.J., Mroczek, D.K., & Graham, E.K. (in prep). Longitudinal associations between the Big Five and healthcare utilization: An exploration of the factors that lead individuals to seek treatment in the U.S. and Japan.

>> Atherton, O.E., Graham, E.K., Luo, J., Dorame, A., Horgan, D.E., Nevarez, M.D., Spiro, A., Schulz, M., Waldinger, R.J., Mroczek, D.K., & Lee, L.O. (in prep). Intergenerational patterns of early life adversity: Findings from two generations of the Harvard Study of Adult Development.

Mental and Physical Health

To what extent is personality associated with mental and physical health across the life course? How, when, and why do these associations emerge? In what ways can we improve human health, wellbeing, and longevity?

>> Atherton, O.E., Lawson, K.M., Ferrer, E., & Robins, R.W. (2020). The role of effortful control in the development of ADHD, ODD, and CD symptoms. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 118(6), 1226-1246. DOI: 10.1037/pspp0000243.

>> Atherton, O.E., Willroth, E.C., Schwaba, T., Goktan, A.J., Graham, E.K., Condon, D.M., Rao, M.B., & Mroczek, D.K. (under review). Personality predictors of emergency department post-discharge outcomes.

>> Atherton, O.E., Robins, R.W., Rentfrow, P.J., & Lamb, M.E. (2014). Personality correlates of risky health outcomes: Findings from a large Internet study. Journal of Research in Personality, 50, 56-60. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2014.03.002.

Quantitative Methods

How can we study personality and development to build a more replicable and generalizable science? What does it mean to study psychological phenomena in the longterm – across weeks, months, years, decades, periods, and generations?

>> Atherton, O.E., Chung, J.M., Harris, K., Rohrer, J.M., Condon, D.M., Cheung, F., Vazire, S., Lucas, R.E., Donnellan, M.B., Mroczek, D.K., Soto, C.J., Antonoplis, S., Damian, R.I., Funder, D.C., Srivastava, S., Fraley, R.C., Jach, H., Roberts, B.W., Smillie, L.D., Sun, J., Tackett, J.L., Weston, S.J., Harden, K.P., & Corker, K.S. (in press). Why has personality psychology played an outsized role in the credibility revolution? Personality Science.

>> Atherton, O.E., Yang, Y.C., & Mroczek, D.K. (in prep). It’s time to integrate age-period-cohort analysis into psychological research.