Perceived versus Actual Personality Change during Study-abroad Participation

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Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Rodger Narloch, Psychology


The purpose of this study was three-fold: to examine actual personality change that occurs during a study-abroad, and to determine the consistency between actual and perceived change. Participants (N=54) filled out the Unipolar Personality Assessment (Goldberg, 1992) prior to studying abroad and after completion of the program. In addition they were asked, “How have you changed as a result of your study abroad experience?” Results were coded according to the five factor theory of personality into categories of neuroticism, extraversion, openness, conscientiousness, and agreeableness. Results revealed that participants changed in their levels of extraversion, openness, and neuroticism, but 65% of participants perceived a change in their level of neuroticism, 57% perceived a change in their level of extraversion, 67% a change in openness, 9% a change in conscientiousness, and 11% a change in agreeableness. Statistical analysis also revealed that there was no relationship between how participants perceived they changed and how they really had changed.