Department of Management


Date of this Version



Published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 32 (July 2006), pp. 851–865; doi: 10.1177/0146167206287720 Copyright © 2006 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc. Used by permission.


The continuity and change of the needs and evaluations of the college environment and person-environment fit (PE fit) with the college environment were studied in a 4-year longitudinal study of students (N = 191). Perceptions of the environment changed more dramatically than corresponding self-perceived needs. PE fit demonstrated moderate levels of consistency over the 4-year span, but no significant increases in mean levels were found over time. Antecedents to PE fit in the college environment included both intelligence and openness to experience. Outcomes associated with PE fit included changes in personality traits linked to openness to experience and higher academic achievement. The implications of the findings for personality development and the relationship of PE fit to successful outcomes are discussed.