Positive assortment on personality in older couples

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Delaney, Mary E.
Nesselroade, John R.

Delaney, M. E., Nesselroade, J. R. (1993). Positive Assortment on Personality in Older Couples. Multivariate Experimental Clinical Research, 10(2), 103-111.


Marital dyads have manifested similar personality traits on the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF). To extend these findings to older adults, the 16PF was administered to 43 elderly couples, and husband-and-wife scores were intercorrelated. Cross-validating earlier findings, significant positive interspouse correlations were found for several traits. Change in the degree of spousal similarity over length of marriage was examined in two ways. First, the relationship between age of the elderly couples (used as proxy for length of marriage) and the magnitude of the interspouse correlation was examined. Age was found to have no impact on similarity. Second, a meta-analysis of the other 16PF studies showed significant age differences in similarity for the dimension Happy-go-lucky vs. Sober. Substantive implications for the observed similarity between spouses are discussed.

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