Elucidating Pathways to Character via Short-Term and Longer-Term Changes Using Individual and Dyadic Approaches

The proposed project will recruit 100 older adult romantic couples (200 participants) in which at least one partner is planning to transition into assisted living. Using a multi-method prospective longitudinal measurement burst design, the couples will be tracked 2 weeks before, as well as after 2 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months from transitioning into assisted living. At each of the 4 bursts (i.e., study waves), participants will complete global trait assessments of their own and partners’ character virtues (e.g., how grateful, prosocial, empathetic, etc. they are on average) and 7-days of ecological momentary assessments (EMA) surveys in daily life of state character virtues (e.g., how grateful, prosocial, empathetic, etc. they are at a particular moment). The two major aims of the study are to:

1) Delineate the extent to which character virtues may change on different time scales: in terms of state character virtues assessed in daily life (e.g., how altruistic a person is in a given moment or day) vs. trait characteristics (e.g., how altruistic a person is, on average); and

2) Elucidate hypothesized transactional mechanisms (e.g., individual differences, dyadic, and contextual factors (such as experiences of daily stressors)) that may promote or inhibit changes in character virtues.