Personality change and problem behavior: A positive feedback loop of increasing risk in early adolescence

Elizabeth N. Riley, Heather A. Davis, Gregory T. Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


While the overall stability of personality across the lifespan has been well-documented, there is also evidence of meaningful personality change. This is particularly true when individuals are going through periods of transition (Roberts, Walton, and Viechtbauer, 2006). According to social investment theory, periods of transition require individuals to invest in new social roles, and this investment prompts engagement in new behaviors that are consistent with this new social role (Roberts, Wood, and Smith, 2005). Over time, one sees incremental changes not just in behavior but in basic personality as well. In this chapter, we present a model for what might lead to personality change, drawing from the theoretical and empirical work of prior models (e.g., Roberts et al., 2005) as well as from our own longitudinal study of personality change and risky behavior engagement in children and young adolescents (Riley et al., 2015). One implication of our model for clinical psychology is the apparent presence of a positive feedback loop of risk, in which maladaptive behaviors increase high-risk personality traits, which in turn further increase the likelihood of maladaptive behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Psychology Research. Volume 105
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781634824811
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (all)
  • Medicine (all)


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