Objective: We aimed to investigate value change and stability longitudinally in middle childhood. Background: Values are the aspect of personality defining one's aspirations. Research identifies meaningful values in middle childhood, yet we know little about the process of their development within individual. Method: Children (N = 298; 53.7% girls, Mage = 7 years and 3 months, SD = 7.70 months, at the first time point) four times, annually. Results: Rank-order stability increased with age and decreased with time-span. We found value hierarchy consistency, with value hierarchy similar to adolescents in the priority given to openness to change versus conservation values, and to adults in the priority given to self-transcendence values. Latent growth curve analyses indicated linear increase in openness to change, and curvilinear increase in self-transcendence values, and linear decrease in conservation and self-enhancement values, with some differences across ages. Value structure was better differentiated with age. Compatible values changed in similar, and conflicting values in opposite directions. Conclusions: This paper suggests that in middle childhood, children can already report stable values. Moreover, middle childhood is characterized by coherent change patterns, of increase in the importance of growth, and decrease in the focus on conflicting protection values.
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© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Personality published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.
- growth values
- longitudinal study
- middle childhood
- value change