PEDES - Personality Development of Sojourners

Project by Julia Zimmermann & Franz J. Neyer

The Project

The research project PEDES - Personality Development of Sojourners was set up to thoroughly investigate the effects of international mobility experiences on personality development in young adulthood.

Overall, more than 3000 young adults participated in the PEDES study. Data collection was carried out during two research periods throughout the academic year 2009/10 (PEDES) and during the winter term 2014/15 (PEDES follow-up).

Results from the first study period in 2009/10 suggested that young adults benefitted from international sojourns in terms of personal maturation. In particular, in comparison to the control group, sojourners revealed more positive developmental trends for Openness, an accentuated increase of Agreeableness, and a steeper decline of Neuroticism. These effects were partly mediated by new international contact experiences.

In order to investigate the long-term effects of international mobility experiences on personality development and young adults' international orientation, a follow-up study in cooperation with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) was carried out about five years later. Further scientific publications on the described follow-up questions are currently in preparation.


Zimmermann, J., Hutteman, R., Nestler, S., Neyer, F. J., & Back, M. (2015). Und wenn Sie zurückkommen, sind Sie plötzlich erwachsen? Auslandserfahrungen als Kontext der Persönlichkeitsentwicklung. In Fachstelle für Internationale Jugendarbeit der Bundesrepublik Deutschland e.V. (Ed.), Forum Jugendarbeit International 2013-2015. Bonn: DCM.

Zimmermann, J., & Neyer, F. J. (2015). Projektbericht PEDES follow-upBonn: Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD).

Zimmermann, J. & Neyer, F. J. (2014). Places and traces of personality. Psychologia, 57, 115-132.

Zimmermann, J. & Neyer, F. J. (2013). Do we become a different person when hitting the road? Personality development of sojourners. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105, 515-530. doi: 10.1037/a0033019External link

Zimmermann, J. & Neyer, F.J. (2013). Reisen bildet…und verändert? Persönlichkeitsentwicklung und internationale Mobilität. Forschung & Lehre, 20, 552-553.