Personality development in childhood

Kathrin Herzhoff*, Shauna C. Kushner, Jennifer Tackett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

9 Scopus citations


Differences in behavior, feelings, and thoughts have consequences for important life outcomes at the individual, interpersonal, and institutional levels. These individual differences-commonly organized into the Big Five personality traits Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness-to-Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness-develop as early as childhood. To provide a fulsome description of the Big Five personality traits in childhood, we will describe their development and review evidence for their associations with temperament. In describing the Big Five personality traits in childhood, we will distinguish them from temperament and adult personality. When distinguishing child personality from adult personality traits, we will pay special attention to the unique challenges for the measurement of child personality that may be contributing to some of the observed differences. To help organize the historically separate literatures on child temperament and personality, we will then describe the hierarchical structure of personality in childhood. Finally, information on the developmental trajectories of personality traits in childhood is reviewed. Given the relevance and importance of early personality for later life outcomes, we will conclude by presenting an innovative way of measuring childhood personality traits that may optimize the design of longitudinal studies on personality development across the life span.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPersonality Development Across the Lifespan
PublisherElsevier Inc
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780128047613
ISBN (Print)9780128046746
StatePublished - Apr 14 2017


  • Behavioral coding
  • Big Five
  • Child personality
  • Development
  • Hierarchical structure
  • Temperament
  • Thin slice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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