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Parenting and Personality Development Coursework by Asselmann & Apecht’s Insights on Maturation

Published by at January 31st, 2024 , Revised On March 25, 2024

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Personality development is an ongoing process that reforms remarkable phases of life. Particularly, in adulthood, an individual experiences changes in conscientiousness, agreeableness, and emotional stability. (Roberts. et al., 2005.).

In parallel to this social investment principle, Asselmann and Apecht conducted a study comparing personality maturation before and after becoming a parent.

The research was conducted by considering Five-factor personality development theory (McCrae. et al., 2000), identifying the big five personality traits including; Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Openness, and Neuroticism.

It is a comparative study between two groups and an in-person analysis by taking longitudinal data extracted from SOEP (Socio-Economic Panel) of Germany started in 1984, covering useful information bout households with the aim of research and development.

Findings depend on other major factors; Gender, Age, and living standard. Findings have revealed that people with less openness and more extravagant traits are more inclined to have kids than those of opposite personalities, and their personality alters after having kids.

Their transition towards parenting moulds them towards lesser openness and extraversion. Concerning in-person analysis, gender has more impact, as mothers have shown more Consciousness. 

Similarly, young people seem more easily adapted to normative development, while living standards also affect personality traits. The study summed up with a few limitations. That is critically reviewed in this report.  


Data collection from the entire population is a bit tricky and complicated task. Sampling is used to generalize the results for ease in research, but this must be justifiable under the head of sampling techniques, definite and appropriate. Sampling gives more accurate and concentrated data (Henry.1990) (Saunders. & Lewis. 2017) 

The study’s scope is limited to Germany only; therefore, it couldn’t be generalized to the rest of the population. For instance, Germans are less inclined towards family and child-having values than Russian culture.

And Russian females are more eager to compromise their career goals for a family start than Russians. (Mayer, B. et al. 2009). Hence, there exists a probability of not applying to Russia or the rest of the world.  

Major life events, along with age factors, have an impact on Big five personality traits and their rank order as well. (Specht, J., Egloff, B., & Schmukle, S. C. 2011). An empirical study was conducted in Germany with the following findings.

First, personality traits move in a curvilinear manner throughout life. Secondly, the ranking order for Emotional Stability, Extraversion, Openness, and Agreeableness is in an inverted U-shaped motion across time intervals, whereas Consciousness is directly proportional to age; it goes on increasing with age.

In line with the personality development and maturation, the study also depicted; major life events and reactions to them are also responsible for altering selection and socializing effects.

When the events are more clustered as per their valency, the reactions turn more aggressively and affect the personality. Therefore, changes in personality traits occur in the life span, where it is more dependent on various major events as well.  

Regarding considering the Gender factor, where it has been concluded mothers turned to be more conscious than fathers. The fact that data is taken from SOEP, but the author didn’t consider queer segments, including sexual minorities like LGBTQ (Lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender questioning) in the sample.

(Auer., et al. 2018) has conducted the study highlighted the desire of having kids among transgenders and underwent to have kids. Similarly desire to be a mother of a child through sperm donor insemination has also been studied and shown the acceptance of the positive hypothesis.

(Herrmann-Green., et all. 2008). Therefore, regarding studying personality traits under the factor of gender, the transgender segment should be considered. Similarly, sample selection should consider the child adoption cases while associating the effects of parenting with personality traits.  

The study should also incorporate the income level to relate it with an individual’s decision to have children for in-between analysis and in-person as well. (León, M., & Pavolini, E. 2014) concluded; that austerity measures in the economy weaken family and care policies and alter individual decisions, respectively.

Austerity measurements are more concerned about economic development than focusing on an individual’s well beingness. Perinatal good beingness also holds a crucial contribution in formulating parenting personality.

It depends on many other sociological, psychological, economic, and ecology factors that must be considered while defining parenting personality traits. (Allan, C., Carrick-Sen, D., & Martin, C. R. 2013). 

Comparative analysis among two groups, i.e. parents and non-parents, needed to be observed along with the same defined factors, including; age, sex, and living standard.  

The longitudinal study was made to collect data within four years gap. As mentioned in the paper, if an individual became a parent in 2005, then till 2017, the child would be moving towards middle childhood towards young teens, and there would be another wave of personality change that can pass through. Research needed to be specified about the child’s stage by keeping it constant for the sample selection.   


Knowing the significance of sampling in a research methodology, a critical study analysis highlighted some key issues in considering the sample design. Generalizing any psychological study by ignoring a state’s major culture and tradition is a barrier to generalizing the outcomes.

A swift selection of the population without keenly considering other major dimensions is a question to study. Income level must be taken into note while discussing other factors such as age, living standards, and gender.

Previous studies have supported the hypothesis that; the state’s economic health also affects the family planning decision. Moreover, while discussing living standards, loss of a spouse and child adoption should be discussed with inclusion or exclusion as the literature shows it alters the personality traits.

LGBTQs must be considered in categorizing gender, though many empirical studies have been conducted showing their desire and in the process of becoming parents. The research scope seemed undefined regarding this queer category.

While doing longitudinal analysis, the researcher needs to correlate the child’s phase to the parent’s social effects and extraversion effects. Highlighted loopholes provide an opportunity to improvise a new study with a better and specified sampling technique. also, the study gives many other directions to study the social investment principle in a different context.

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Allan, C., Carrick-Sen, D., & Martin, C. R. (2013). What is perinatal well-being? A concept analysis and review of the literature. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 31(4), 381-398. https://doi.org/10.1080/02646838.2013.791920 

Auer, M. K., Fuss, J., Nieder, T. O., Briken, P., Biedermann, S. V., Stalla, G. K., … & Hildebrandt, T. (2018). Desire to have children among transgender people in Germany: a cross-sectional multi-center study. The journal of sexual medicine, 15(5), 757-767. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2018.03.083 

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Herrmann-Green, L. K., & Gehring, T. M. (2008). The German lesbian family study: Planning for parenthood via donor insemination. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 3(4), 351-395. https://doi.org/10.1300/J461v03n04_02 

León, M., & Pavolini, E. (2014). ‘Social Investment’or back to ‘Familism’: The impact of the economic crisis on Family and Care Policies in Italy and Spain. South European society and politics, 19(3), 353-369. https://doi.org/10.1080/13608746.2014.948603 

Mayer, B., Kuramschew, A., & Trommsdorff, G. (2009). Family-related values and future orientation in adolescence: a German-Russian comparison. Zeitschrift für Soziologie der Erziehung und Sozialisation, 29(1), 29-44. http://dx.doi.org/10.7892/boris.48755 

McCrae, R., & Costa, P. (2008). The five-factor theory of personality. In O. P. John, R. W. Robins, & L. A. Pervin (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (3rd ed., pp. 159–181). New York: The Guilford Press. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.1994.tb00742.x 

Roberts, B. W., Wood, D., & Smith, J. L. (2005). Evaluating five factor theory and social investment perspectives on personality trait development. Journal of Research in Personality, 39(1), 166-184. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2004.08.002 

Saunders, M., & Lewis, P. (2017). Doing Research in Business and Management. (2nd ed.) Pearson. 

Specht, J., Egloff, B., & Schmukle, S. C. (2011). Stability and change of personality across the life course: The impact of age and major life events on mean-level and rank-order stability of the Big Five. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(4), 862–882. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0024950 

The study found that individuals with less openness and higher extraversion traits are more likely to become parents, and their personality tends to change after having children, moving towards lesser openness and extraversion.

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