Cultivating Conscientiousness: Can Targeted Interventions Foster the Development of Conscientiousness in Children and Youth?

Team: Thomas Knopf
Leader: Dr. Clemens Lechner & Prof. Dr. Beatrice Rammstedt
Scientific unit: Survey Design und Methodology, Abteilung Skalenentwicklung & -dokumentation


The personality trait conscientiousness and its relatives (e.g., self-control, grit, perseverance, determination), ranks among the most important non-cognitive predictors of success at school, at work, and beyond. Several meta-analyses demonstrate that conscientiousness predicts academic achievement and attainment above and beyond cognitive ability. Unfortunately, not all students develop sufficient levels of conscientiousness without support from teachers, schools, or social initiatives. Hence, researchers, policymakers and practitioners share an interest in a crucial question: How can we foster conscientiousness and related traits and skills in children and youth?

Our project FOSTER aims to answer this question. In a systematic literature review and meta-analysis, we will summarize the current state of knowledge about whether targeted interventions can foster the development of conscientiousness and related traits and skills in childhood and youth. We will focus on four interrelated issues: (a) Which conscientiousness-related traits and skills can be fostered (b) through which specific intervention approaches, (c) in which target groups (age, type of school, social background, etc.), and (d) with what success (i.e., effect sizes), durability, and sustainability. The findings from our project will not only fertilize theory building in personality and developmental psychology but will also provide important insights for policy and practice.

We are looking for dissertations, unpublished manuscripts or preprints, conference presentations, unpublished raw data, and work in progress.

We would be happy to include relevant studies matching the following criteria:

Experimental designs or quasi-experimental designs (i.e., RCTs, intervention studies, program evaluations etc.)

– with pre-/post measures of conscientiousness or related constructs

– focusing on children and adolescents / young adults (roughly ages 5–25 years)

We would be very grateful if you could contact us if you have material that matches these criteria: foster-project(at)gesis(dot)org




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