Missed events are defined as the nonoccurrence of expected major life events within a specified time frame. We examined whether missed events should be studied in research on growth by exploring the role of missed events for changes in subjective well‐being (SWB) and the Big Five personality traits.
The samples were selected from two nationally representative panel studies, the German Socioeconomic Panel Innovation Sample (SOEP‐IS, total N = 6,638) and the Dutch Longitudinal Internet Studies for the Social Sciences panel (LISS, Ns between 4,262 and 5,749). Rank‐order stability and mean‐level change were analyzed using regression and mixed models. Type I error probability was reduced by using conservative thresholds for level of significance and minimal effect size.
Expected but missed events were more frequent than actually experienced events. For SWB, rank‐order stability tended to be lower among those who experienced a missed event than among those who did not. For the Big Five personality traits, significant differences between those who did and those who did not experience a missed event were rare and unsystematic.
Missed events merit more attention in future research on growth and personality change, but the effects are probably weak.