Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



Across the lifespan, personality changes in normative ways, but the source of such change remains ambiguous. Life events may be one impetus of such change, but strong selection effects into such events makes it unclear whether such change is driven by already existing differences (selection) between people or socialization following life events. In a preregistered study, we test socialization and selection effects of the Big 5 and life events using a large (N = 19,627) representative sample of Germans and 12 life events (e.g. marriage, retirement) from the GSOEP. Using propensity score matching and Bayesian multilevel growth curve models, we demonstrate variability in selection and socialization effects of different traits and life events. When controlling for selection bias, nearly all socialization effects following life events disappear. We conclude by discussing the implications of the absence of life event socialization and emphasize the importance of studying selection effects.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Joshua J Jackson

Committee Members

Thomas Oltmanns Patrick Hill


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/b21t-0238