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Title:Development of Dispositions and Behaviors in Random and Self -Selected Freshman Roommate Pairs
Author(s):Wood, Dustin
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Roberts, Brent W.
Department / Program:Psychology
Discipline:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Psychology, Personality
Abstract:A robust literature indicates that individuals within a variety of dyadic relationships (e.g., marriage, friends) are more similar to one another than would be expected by chance. However, most studies are unable to identify whether dyadic relationships start with partners that are similar to one another through selection processes, or whether dyadic partners become more similar to one another over time through mutual influence or shared experiences. In a cross-sectional study of freshman roommate pairs, I document that randomly-paired roommates showed similarities in characteristics such as music preferences and social activities after living with one another for a semester, while self-matched roommates showed greater similarities across a greater range of characteristics, including personality traits, religiosity, and political preferences. In a second study, I show that even randomly-paired roommates were more similar than expected by chance at the beginning of their relationship due to dorm selection effects, but then became more similar in their social activities and dorm room behaviors over the course of the school year. In contrast, mutually-selected roommates maintained initial similarities in social activities through the course of the school year, but became less similar for broad characteristics such as general attitudes and personality traits over time. Besides showing different degrees of initial similarity, mutually-selected and randomly-paired roommates otherwise showed similar levels of influence and correlated change. Roommates showed the most influence and convergence for behaviors that had to be coordinated in the dorm room, and little influence in broad characteristics such as general attitudes or traits. Finally, mean-level decreases were observed for measures of agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness to experience, and life satisfaction, indicating that experiences associated with entering college may have been powerful enough to result in sample-wide changes in broad, highly stable characteristics. In considering the observation of decreasing similarity among mutual roommates together with the levels of roommate influence and shared environmental effects for broad characteristics, I conclude that the roommate relationship may represent a rare context where dyadic partners are expected to show deteriorating levels of similarity over time. The implications for interpreting the observation of dyadic similarity in other contexts are discussed.
Issue Date:2007
Type:Text
Language:English
Description:92 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/82142
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3290432
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2007


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