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Do our personalities change later in life?

26th March 2020

For years, many people have believed that although our bodies change as we become older, with many older people relying on straight stairlifts and handrails, our personalities stop developing in our 30s. However, new research suggests that our personalities continue to develop throughout our lives, way into our eighties.

The BBC reported that after decades of research scientists said that personalities continue to stay fluid and malleable. René Mõttus, a psychologist from the University of Edinburgh, tells the BBC: “The conclusion is exactly this: that we are not the same person for the whole of our life. People become nicer and more socially adapted, they’re increasingly able to balance their own expectations of life with societal demands.”

The research suggests as people become older, they are more conscientious and agreeable, with a higher willpower and a better sense of humour. It also indicates that older people have better control over their emotions, which goes against the ‘grumpy’ stereotype that they often face.

Personalities and wellbeing were also found to be linked. The BBC continues to reveal that, for instance, those with higher self-control are more likely to be healthy in later life and that a degree of narcissism may be associated with lower rates of loneliness in older age. The research aimed to better understand how personality and health are linked in order to help predict who will be more at risk of health problems in the future.

Rodica Damian, a social psychologist at the University of Houston, also comments to the BBC: “It's important that we know this. For a long time, people thought they didn’t change. Now we’re seeing that our personalities can adapt, and this helps us to cope with the challenges that life throws at us.”

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This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.