Stability vs Change (A guide)

In this article, we’ll briefly describe “Stability vs. Change”, developmental psychology, situation change, the importance of situation change and how to measure situation change.


Stability is defined as the personality trait which is present in infancy and it remains the same throughout the lifespan.

Whereas, change is defined by the theorists which can be modified by the interactions with family, experience at school and acculturation.

The existence of personality traits addressing stabilization and change have been seen among people throughout the life cycle.

It has been believed that personality changes through family interaction, school experience, and adaptation to culture.

Researches on children often show long-term stability of development, such as affection for the parents and personality.

There is also evidence of the opposite view that change is possible under appropriate conditions.

Sigmund Freud emphasized the important nature of our early development. Psychologists believed that the character traits of the first five years of development can predict the character of adults.

Developmental psychologists studies which features are more stable and consistent and which features are more flexible and changeable.

Certain aspects of temperament seem to be stable although social attitude changes with time. For example, outgoing and talkative babies may in later life do not stay extroverted at all.

Discussion about stability and change is one of the fundamental problems related to the development of psychology and the nature of cultivation.

Generally, cross-sectional studies and longitudinal studies are used in research on stability and variation.

Human beings are dependent on stability and without it, there is no structure, organization or society.

Without stability, there will be only confusion and it lasts for a long time. Stable things almost always resist changing and intuitively and consciously, we all seek stability.


Developmental psychology refers to the scientific approach which focuses on explaining growth, change, and consistency throughout the lifespan.

It looks at how thinking, feeling and behavior change throughout a person’s life.

In this discipline, the focus on the therapies is that the development during childhood as this period is known as the significant period where the most changes occur.

Developmental psychologists study biological, social, emotional, and cognitive processes.


The situation cannot be the same throughout and studying situation change has been an important issue in psychology for several reasons.

The lack of clear and consensual understanding of what situations are and how they can be described and measured makes the study of situation change practically impossible.

Therefore, the topic of situation change- as the stability vs change of situations has received very little attention, although its importance has been already understood.

The foundation by addressing three major questions are:

  • Conceptualization and Measurement
  • Correlates and ANtecedents
  • Trajectories and Outcomes


The reason why it is important to study situation change is- First, most of the psychology is focused rather on static structures.

As the situation research is devoted to understanding “the situation”, real life is lived like a flowing stream of situations that are never changing.

It is our main goal to understand the everyday lives of people and we must develop theories and methods to study dynamic aspects of situations.

Second, we know that change is inevitable and it is important to accept the change, it is important to know how they change.

The types of changes tell a new story about the people who have changed.

How and in which ways the situation change happened is also important and one should also take an account of it, some situations may change suddenly and abruptly while others may not and in these cases, behavioral processes will be involved.

Third, one must understand why situation change will elucidate person-situation transactions or “person-to-person” transactions.

Personality and situation characteristics are correlated with each other and these correlations emerge because of what people “do” to their situations. Like, in personality development, people seek out situations that “fit” their personalities, while others sought after situations, in turn, deepen and consolidate the personalities that have led to seeking them out.

This kind of person-situation transaction in personality development could benefit from a better understanding of situation change.


How the situation change is defined is responsible for the measurement of it. The following three questions are asked and necessary to be answered:

  1. Resolution: At what level of abstraction are “situational variables” located?
  2. Variable Type: Which types of “situational variables” are used?
  3. Analytic Level: Are analysis conducted nomothetically or ideographically?


There is a different phenomenon which is referred to as “the situation” in theory and research: situation, episode, environment, and context.

Several situations can be linked together so that they form an episode and situations and episodes are embedded into the environment of a person.

These together can be merged into a larger context, e.g., history, etc.

In examining stability and change of situations, touching episodes of lower resolution is also inevitable.

Change in one’s life and the environment is an interesting topic, this persuades that we have knowledge on situation change because environments are a function of recurring, typical, or “crystallized” situations and episodes of a person.


In this blog, we’ve briefly described “Stability vs. Change”, developmental psychology, situation change, the importance of situation change and how to measure situation change.

Please feel free to leave a comment or a suggestion, we appreciate your time.


What’s stability and change?

Stability and Change are approaches of developmental psychology, in which stability denotes a condition in which some aspects of a system are unchanging and change is an inevitable thing that occurs throughout a lifespan.

Is personality stable or changeable throughout the lifespan?

Personality remains stable with some modifications in it throughout the lifetime, these modifications can be said as the changes which occur according to the situation and environment. 

How consistent or stable is personality?

Personality traits are stable over time although some aspects of it change over a period of time

What is the difference between continuity and discontinuity?

The difference between Continuity and Discontinuity is that continuity suggests that the change is gradual while discontinuity states that development is more of an abrupt process.

What does stability mean in psychology?

Stability in psychology means the absence of variation or motion which can be applied to genetics, personality or body position.


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