Major life events like getting married, having a baby, or starting to work are widely believed to shape or even change people’s personalities. Researchers analyzing data from the study “Living in Germany” have found that this is only partly true.
Marriage, for example, does not make people as happy as one might think. The “honeymoon phase” ends after about a year, and spouses end up being approximately as satisfied or dissatisfied as they were before. Separation, on the other hand, can have positive long-term impacts in that it makes people stronger.
And after becoming parents, people’s lives are turned upside down, but their personalities change very little. “In fact, we mature more after our first job change than we do after the birth of a first child,” says Eva Asselmann, Professor of Differential and Personality Psychology at the HMU Health and Medical University in Potsdam, who conducted the analyses. You can find out more in her book Woran wir wachsen (“How we grow”).
Eva Asselmann, Martina Pahr: Woran wir wachsen: Welche Lebensereignisse unsere Persönlichkeit prägen und was uns wirklich weiterbringt. – Die neuesten Erkenntnisse aus der Persönlichkeitspsychologie: Ariston, 2022