Therapy experience in naturalistic observational studies is associated with negative changes in personality

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Journal of Research in Personality, ISSN: 0092-6566, Vol: 68, Page: 88-95

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Philip I. Chow; Jenny Wagner; Oliver Lüdtke; Ulrich Trautwein; Brent W. Roberts
Elsevier BV
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Recent research has shown that personality traits change as a result of clinical therapy, although evidence for this effect is derived from efficacy studies that reflect relatively controlled experimental designs. Little is known about how therapy in real world contexts affects change in personality. In two longitudinal studies ( N’s = 1270 and 5217), the present research examined whether personality trait change was associated with therapy experience. Propensity score matching was used to compare trajectories of personality trait change in individuals with and without therapy experiences. Overall, therapy experiences were associated with significant increases in undesirable traits and markers (e.g., chronic stress, depression, neuroticism), and significant decreases in desirable traits (e.g., self-esteem, conscientiousness).