Personality, intelligence, and academic achievement: Charting their developmental interplay

Lisa Bardach*, Nicolas Hübner, Benjamin Nagengast, Ulrich Trautwein, Sophie von Stumm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Although intelligence and personality traits have long been recognized as key predictors of students' academic achievement, little is known about their longitudinal and reciprocal associations. Here, we charted the developmental interplay of intelligence, personality (Big Five) and academic achievement in 3880 German secondary school students, who were assessed four times between the ages 11 and 14 years (i.e., in grades 5, 6, 7, and 8). Method: We fitted random intercept cross-lagged panel models (RI-CLPs) to investigate reciprocal within-person associations between (a) academic achievement and intelligence, (b) academic achievement and personality, as well as (c) intelligence and personality. Results: The results revealed negative within-person associations between Conscientiousness and Extraversion assessed at the first wave of measurement and intelligence assessed at the second wave. None of the reciprocal personality–achievement associations attained statistical significance. Academic achievement and intelligence showed reciprocal within-person relations, with the strongest coefficients found for achievement longitudinally predicting intelligence. Conclusions: Our work contributes to developmental theorizing on interrelations between personality, intelligence, and academic achievement, as well as to within-person conceptualizations in personality research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Personality
Early online date14 Feb 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The TRAIN study was funded by the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs Baden‐Württemberg, the Robert‐Bosch foundation, and the Hertie foundation. Lisa Bardach and Sophie von Stumm are supported by Jacobs Foundation Research Fellowships. Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Personality published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


  • academic achievement
  • Big Five
  • intelligence
  • personality
  • random intercept cross-lagged panel model

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