Job insecurity and personality fluidity

Professor Chia-huei Wu featured in Psychology Today on 7 April 2021 in an article discussing his recent research on chronic job insecurity and long-term personality changes.

The Psychology Today article discusses important research on personality fluidity led by Professor Chia-huei Wu on ‘Effects of Chronic Job Insecurity on Big Five Personality Change’, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology in 2020. 

Professor Wu and his co-authors found that episodes of chronic job insecurity can cause long-lasting personality changes, namely a small increase of neuroticism, and a small decrease in agreeableness and conscientiousness.

Professor Wu and co-authors analysed data from 1,046 employees participating in the Household, Income, and Labor Dynamics in Australia survey over a nine-year period. The researchers found that people who experienced prolonged episodes of job insecurity, over four or five preceeding years, experienced prolonged periods of stress, and in turn became ‘more on edge, less discipined, less organised, and more disagreeable’. The research found that the extraversion trait remained unchanged in the face of chronic job insecurity. 

The Psychology Today article highlights the importance of Professor Wu’s research in evolving our understanding of personality fluidity, the idea that our personalities can change over time. The research adds another dimension to an emerging field exploring the idea that our peronalities gradually evolve over time, challenging previous thinking that they remain largely fixed throughout our lives. Professor Wu commented: 

This study suggests that job insecurity has important implications for one’s personality when experienced over a long-term period.

Read the full article in Psychology Today.