I chose to write my assignment using this topic because it caught my attention cause think it is relevant to the stage of social development I am in now. Chose this particular article because it seemed very interesting and I was curious to find out how they conducted the research for it. If I had to write a research paper on this topic I would use this article. L believe that this article was a good source of information. L found that much of the information is true in relation to my social development over the time span between the ages of 21 to 43.
I believe that culture, class, gender, and other factors contribute to ones experience of adulthood, and that our personality does change from youth to idle age. I think that one’s social development between late adolescence and midlife does involve the development of skills, confidence, and increased insight into self and others. This research, suggests that the period from ages 21 to 27 was one characterized by taking control of oneself and recognizing the difference between the world as it should be and the way it is .
Also believe that young women are more vulnerable to life’s injustices than older women because the older woman becomes better equipped at coping with life’s challenges. Women develop social maturity from age 27 to age 43, most women of the study creased in femininity and increased in confidence and independence. They felt as did other people that they were more nurturing and easier to get along with when they were younger. As they grow older, women become more organized, committed, and work oriented. They are better able to cope with life.
They continue to increase in their interpersonal and interpersonal perceptiveness. They become more like the person they always wanted to be. They also became less open to change. This supports the hypothesis that sex role orientation decreases and that independence and confidence increase from age 27 to age 43; he findings also show that interpersonal and cognitive skills improve by midlife. When asked about their feelings about themselves and their lives in their early ass and ass women at age 43 thought that their youths were less gratifying than midlife.
When they looked back they believed that in their early ass they were more disorganized, and felt less appreciated. They also believed they were more resentful, constricted, weak, and lonely than they were in midlife. Personality change in women from college to midlife.
By: Hellos R, Moan G, Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 0022-3514, 1987 July, Viol. 53, Issue 1
Database: MEDICINE with Full Text HTML Full Text Personality Change in Women From College to Midlife Contents
- Sample and Design
- Measures of Personality
- Ratings of Feelings at Age 43 and in the Early ass
- Measures of Role Involvements and “Social Clock” Patterns
- Stability Over Three Time Periods
- Change Over Three Time Periods
- Change From Age 21 to 27
- Change From Age 27 to 43
- Subjective Appraisals of Feelings Now and 10 Years Ago Changes From Ages 21-27 and 27-43
- Role Involvements Over Time
- Consistency of Change Across Social Clock Patterns 16. Discussion
- Comparisons With Other Studies
- Relation to Theory
- Cohort Effects, Secular Trends, and Role Patterns
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to: Raven Hellos, Institute of Personality Assessment and Research, 3657 Dolman Hall, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720 The idea that personality changes with age is familiar from Solon and Shakespeare, assumed in every opera that assigns its Taming to a tenor and its Sarasota to a bass, and has been widely accepted by theorists of adult development (for example, Bubbler, 1935 ; Erikson, 1950 ; Jung, 1931/1971 ; Elevations, Toward, Klein, Elevations, ; McKee, 1978 ; Paschal-Leone, 1983). It has been strangely difficult, however, to find evidence from personality inventories that normative changes occur.
Most longitudinal studies that have seed personality inventories have emphasized the stability of personality (Conley, Bibb ; Costa ; McCrae, 1980 ; Kelly, 1955 ; Ziegler, George, ; Skunk, 1979), cohort variability (Newsreader ; Ballets, 1974), the illusoriness of change (Woodruff ; Barren, 1972), or individual differences in change patterns (Block, 1971, 1981). Several excellent discussions help us to understand this state of affairs (for example, Block, 1971 ; Moss ; Susann, 1980 ; Newsreader, 1977 ; Negatron, 1977).
Most personality inventories have been developed to assess dispositions that endure (traits). However, the more searchers endeavor to make measures of personality pictorially pure, reliable, and applicable across adolescence and adulthood, the more insensitive their measures are to normative changes that occur with age. Statistical assumptions are better suited to the demonstration of stability than of change (Cockroach ; Furry, 1970), and problems of design are intimidating (Chase, 1965). Variations in samples or cohorts, times of testing, and types of measures make comparisons between studies confusing.
It has been difficult to relate theories of adult development, which tend to be broad and recently salient, tit the measures and times of testing of longitudinal studies. The present study cannot escape the difficulties of the research topic. It has the limitation of being a single cohort study. However, our hypotheses are based on theories of adult development. We have used a variety of instruments but have avoided pictorially derived measures. Moreover, the lives we studied were those of women, who have been underrepresented in studies of adult development.
Our subjects were born between 1936 and 1 939 and were first studied when they were seniors at a private women’s college in 1958 or 1 960 (at the age of 21). The women were next studied when they were 26-28 years old, and again in early middle age (42-45 years). For women of this cohort, young adulthood had coincided with the tumultuous era of the sixties and thus with the women’s movement and the social changes affecting marital stability, family size, and women’s participation in the work force.
In other research, we have illustrated that women in the sample who followed different life paths had different personality characteristics as seniors and that distinctive life experiences were associated with different patterns of change (Hellos, Mitchell, & Moan, 984). However, the primary objective of this article is to examine whether changes in personality are demonstrable across different life paths, and if so, whether changes that were identified in this study support hypotheses derived from concepts of adult development. We begin our discussion by reviewing briefly some ideas about personality change that our study has addressed.
There is considerable agreement that college students are in transition between their dependence on parents and the assumption of a status and identity separate from parents (Erikson, 1959 ; Gould, 1972 ; Elevations et al. 1978 ; Sanford, 1956 ; Waterman, 1982). College students tend to be more idealistic and less bound by commitments than are older people, but they are not expected to have the independence, confidence, integration, and impulse control that are called upon in later life. The years of the ass have been considered to present the life task of intimacy versus isolation (Erikson, 1950).
The late ass and ass have not received as much attention as the college years and those of middle age, but the age of 27 would represent the peak of what Elevations et al. (1978) called the first life structure. In Stamen’s (1975) view, the late ass and early ass are the years of maximum sex role specialization related to parenting, leading men to suppress self-indulgence and to channel aggression into purposive activity to support the family and leading women to develop nurtured, responsibility, and obedience and to suppress aggression (Stuntman, up. 78-80). Elevations et al. (1978) distinguished three periods between the late ass and midlife: the age 30 transition, often a time of turmoil; the early ass, a period of settling down in one’s second life structure; and the late ass, characterized by striving to become one’s own person and to achieve a recognized place in the world. These ideas were developed in a study of men, and it has been unclear how well they apply to women (Barnett ; Branch, 1978 ; Nelson, Mitchell, ; Hart, 1985 ; Rossi, 1980).
Researchers have considered the conceptualization of middle age as a period of power occupancy (for example, Heavyweight, 1948 ; Negatron, 1968 ; Ortega y Asset, 1958 ; Chase, 1977). Middle-aged people have, or are perceived as having, the confidence, social competence, intellectual capability, and organizational skills that would be demanded in positions of integration and accessibility (Cameron, 1973 ; Negatron, 1968 ; Raff, 1984). These findings are not restricted to elite groups or to men only, although some studies do report sex differences (Acrophobia ; Thurber, 1975 ; Raff, 1982).
Most theorists emphasize the complexity of one’s outlook at midlife; the middle-aged are close to the height of their powers, yet also aware of an approaching decline. They are the bridge between the generations, feeling responsible for the young and able to identify with the old. They have excellent coping strategies but are also introspective, interested in roots and meanings, and concerned with reevaluating heir lives. This description comes primarily from Negatron (1968) . Stuntman (1975) and Jung (193111971) emphasized the tendency for men to become more feminine and for women to become more masculine.
In Erosion’s (1950) terms, the middle-aged individual deals with the issue of generatively versus stagnation. Lovingness (1976) theory of ego development is not age linked, but some change in ego level is thought to be associated with the experiences of adult life. If most college students are at the self-aware stage (Holt, 1980), then changes in adulthood toward higher ego levels would lead one to expect impulse intro to become increasingly based on internal motives, cognitive style to become increasingly complex, and interpersonal relations to become increasingly differentiated.
Villain’s theory (1977) that adult development consists in the increasing effectiveness of ego processes would lead to somewhat similar predictions: From the college years to those of midlife, people learn to rely less on primitive defenses and more on effective, sophisticated defenses. In Hands language (1977), this would mean a decrease in defending and an increase in coping. These ideas provided the bases for expectations about personality hangs in adulthood that could be tested by using the measures obtained in this study.
One can reasonably hypothesize that from the college years to midlife, the women of our sample would be found to have increased in self-discipline and commitment to duties, in independence and confidence, and in coping skills and ego development. On the basis of Stamen’s theory (1975), we would expect femininity to increase from the college years to age 27 and to decrease from ages 27 to 43. Because femininity and the feminine role tend to be negatively correlated with independence and confidence, we would expect the increase n the latter traits to be less evident in the period from ages 21 to 27 than in the period between ages 27 and 43.
It was not clear when we were to expect the occurrence of changes in ego development and coping techniques, but by age 43 we did expect evidence in our sample of increased cognitive complexity, acuity of interpersonal perception, and other indexes of skillful coping and ego development. We also expected to find aspects of midlife consciousness: concern for young and old, introspectiveness, interest in roots, and awareness of limitation and death. A disproportionate number of longitudinal studies of adult placement have included male subjects only (Costa, McCrae, ; Arranger, 1980 ; Heath, 1977 ; Elevations et al. 1978 ; Villain, 1977). However, a few studies have included women, and we will review the most relevant of these in the Discussion section of this article (Block, 1971 ; Freedman ; Breezier, 1963 ; Nana, 1981 ; Kelly, 1955). Method Sample and Design In 1958 and again in 1960, a representative two thirds of the senior class ( N = 140) at Mills College, a private women’s college, participated in a study of personality characteristics and plans for the future among college women.
Further information was obtained by mail from 99 women about 5 years after their graduation (Hellos, 1967). In 1 981 the women who had participated in the study were contacted again. They were then between 42 and 45 years of age. Information about the timing of life events since graduation was obtained from 132 (94%) of these women. Additional inventory or questionnaire material was obtained from 78 to 110 women. The three times of testing were labeled age 21, age 27, and age 43.
The core sample consisted of 81 women from the combined classes who completed the California Psychological Inventory at all three time roods. Personality differences between this group and women who completed the inventory only one or two times are negligible. To obtain the widest possible base, however, data from all available subjects have been used in analyses that use instruments other than the California Psychological Inventory and in certain supplemental analyses with the inventory.
Measures of Personality Measures available at three times of testing: California Psychological Inventory The California Psychological Inventory (ICP; Cough, 1987) is commonly used to study individuals from mid-adolescence to old age. In the present study, actor analyses of the ICP for the core sample gave virtually identical results for all three times of testing and are quite similar to those reported in the ICP literature (Manager, 1972). Designed to assess effectiveness in interpersonal functioning with folk concepts of broad social relevance, the ICP includes many scales appropriate for the hypotheses to be tested.
Among these are scales for dominance (confidence and initiative in proboscis undertakings), independence (sense of competence and self-reliance), responsibility (ability to take responsibility and follow through with obligations), colonization (responsively o and acceptance of what others do and think), self-control (control of affective states, especially anger), tolerance (value placed on being tolerant of others’ beliefs and attitudes), psychological mindedness (complexity and lack of sentimentality in evaluation of self and others), flexibility (liking for change and variety, avoidance of the routine), and femininity (attitudes of sympathy and altruism, but with feelings of vulnerability and inadequacy).
Scales of the ICP that do not seem likely to show normative personality change over the period of study include several measures of social energy and vivacity, such as sociability ND social presence and the measure of intellectual ability and effectiveness, or intellectual efficiency. Still other scales might have shown changes over certain periods of the study or for certain subgroups of the sample, but their relation to the hypotheses did not seem clear-cut. Some of these scales are well-being (satisfaction with self and one’s life situation), communality (fitting in easily; seeing oneself as like other people), and measures of achievement motivation (achievement via conformance and achievement via independence).
Scales developed by Coffee and Unhitch (1977) to assess Hands concepts of coping and fending (1977) have also been scored from ICP items. They include measures of 20 specific coping and defending mechanisms and six summary measures of ego processing that have received some, but not extensive, validation. Scores on defending mechanisms were expected to decrease and scores on coping mechanisms to increase over the period of the study. Other personality scales obtained at ages 21 and 27 The scales used in the Vassar study of personality development in women (Webster, Sanford, & Freedman, 1957) were available at both ages 21 and 27 for 91 women.
These include seven scales that were used in retests f Vassar alumnae 3 to 4 years after graduation (Freedman & Breezier, 1963): repression and suppression, social integration, social maturity, impulse expression, developmental status, dominance and confidence, and masculine role. Other personality scales obtained at ages 27 and 43 The Adjective Check List (CAL; Cough & Hellfire, 1980) is used to provide scores on need scales, transactional analysis ego-state scales, and several measures of confidence and self-esteem. CAL self-descriptions were available for 78 women from our sample at both ages 27 and 43. Ratings of Feelings at Age 43 and in the Early ass At age 43, the women in our study rated a set of 40 items on a 3-point scale to indicate how well each item described their lives at present and in their early ass.
Items were derived from the literature on adult development. Most of them were intended to reflect the contrast between the years of the early ass and the later period of becoming one’s own person (Elevations et al. , 1 978) or to reflect the various aspects of midlife consciousness. Measures of Role Involvements and “Social Clock” Patterns Measures of role involvements were included on the assumption that people who choose different roles differ in personality ND that people tend to change in personality as their activities change. If there is a personality change that is general or normative, however, it should be demonstrable across a variety of life paths.
Thus, seven life paths or “social clock” patterns were distinguished. Role involvements At age 43, the women graphed their level of involvement in one to four roles that were most important in their life since college. Level of involvement scores ranged from 1 to 5. These data show the sample’s view of their major commitments over the period of the study. “Social clock” patterns Several social clock patterns, which were described by Hellos, Mitchell, & Moan (1984), are extended here. The concept of social clock calls attention to cohort-specific expectations about the timing and phasing of major undertakings of young and middle adulthood.
The basic distinctions are between women who have sought their place in society primarily through the family, those who have sought their place through an upwardly mobile career, and those who have not undertaken either of the major social clock projects. Within each of the first two groups, three patterns of initiating and sustaining are distinguished. Among family women who have never had high-level careers, the feminine social clock intact (FCC-I) group consists of women who married and had a child by age 28 and had not divorced by age 43; the late adherents (Lass) are those who had a child after age 28 and had not divorced; and the feminine social clock disrupted (FCC-D) group consists of adherents to the feminine social clock project whose marriages were disrupted by death of partner or by divorce.
Three groups of women who all began or sustained high-level careers are as follows: Masculine occupational clock at age 28 (MOCK-28) consisted of women who had begun an upwardly mobile career by age 28 but were not rated above average in status level of work at age 43; masculine occupational clock at age 43 (MOCK-43) included women who had not begun high-level careers by age 28 but were rated above average in status level of work at age 43; and the masculine occupational clock intact (MOCK-I) group consists of women who had begun an upwardly mobile career by age 28 and who were rated above average in status level of work at age 43. The seventh group consists of women who had neither children nor a high-level career and are classified as having undertaken neither social clock reject (NCSC).
These classifications do not seem to take into account many of the important variations in life paths. For example, women in the NCSC and MOCK groups may be single, married, or divorced, and women in the MOCK groups may or may not have children. In fact, most of the NCSC women in our study were married (and without children), most of the women in the MOCK-28 group were single, and all but one of the women in the MOCK-43 group had children. Thus the groups can be used to identify and contrast patterns of SUccess, delay, avoidance, or failure along the two paths of family and work. Analyses Stability Correlations between scores at different time periods were obtained for scales of the ICP, the coping and defending scales, and the CAL.
Changes over three times of testing The ICP data for the three times of testing (ages) were subjected to an analysis of variance ( NOVA ) for repeated measures. The NOVA with repeated measures assumes that the data are normally distributed and have equal variances and covariance’s over time. To test for this, we subjected the ICP data taken from the core sample at three times of testing to a one-way NOVA with repeated measures, which tests for symmetry of variances and covariance’s using a puerility test (Anderson, 1958, p. 259) and adjusts the significance of the F values accordingly. Scales for self-control, achievement via conformance, and femininity did not show symmetry ( p < . 05), but consequent adjustments were negligible.
All scales met the assumption of normal distribution at the three times of testing. Change between two times of testing For ICP scales and other measures, change between two time periods was evaluated by t test or NOVA . For ICP scales on which t tests show significant differences ( p < . 05) in the core sample of women, the sign test was used o demonstrate whether the direction of change was consistent among all individuals who took the test at the two times ( N = 92 for ages 21 and 27; N = 83 for ages 27 and 43; N = 104 for ages 21 and 43). Scales that show change by both t test and sign test are referred to as measures of normative change.
Consistency of normative change across social clock patterns We tested consistency across social clock patterns by comparing the seven subgroups on ICP scales that show normative change (that is, using both t test and sign test). An index of the amount of change was provided by the difference between means for each bugaboo divided by its mean standard deviation ( SD ). Because some of the groups were small, especially at age 27, means and SD s were based on all women for whom scores were available at a given time of testing. Change was evaluated for the period from ages 21-43 except on scales showing curvilinear change, where it was evaluated for ages 27-43.
Results Stability Over Three Time Periods
Of 60 correlations for the 20 ICP scales from one time period to another, 53 are significant at the . 001 level, r = . 36 or above ( Table 1 1 Correlations of . 50 or above are found for 15 of 20 scales between ages 21 and 27 and on 16 scales twine ages 27 and 43, even though the latter correlations span a period about three times as long. However, only 5 of the 20 correlations between ages 21 and 43 reach . 50. Age 27 seems to have been at or near a watershed. Change Over Time on ICP Scales Of the coping and defending scales, 65 of the 78 correlations for the 26 scales over three time periods are significant beyond the . 001 level. They range from . 38 to . 9, with 32 correlations falling above . 50 and only one failing to reach the . 05 level of significance. Although we are focusing on change in this article, the endings show ample evidence of rank-order stability. Change Over Three Time Periods The NOVAS show a significant influence attributable to age/time of testing ( p < . 05) on 10 ICP scales ( Table 1 ). Because t tests show that most of the changes were specific in nature or direction to the period from ages 21-27 or 27- 43, we will discuss the changes in separate sections. Change From Age 21 to 27 Here we report findings from the ICP, coping and defending scales, and Vassar scales.
ICP From the college years to age 27, the core sample increased in self-control, tolerance, psychological mindedness, and femininity and decreased in colonization (see t tests in Table 1 The sign test, conducted for 92 women who completed the ICP at these two periods, shows that a significant number of individuals changed in the expected direction on all of these scales ( p < . 05). Five scales thus passed both t -test and sign-test criteria as scales indicating general personality change. That most of the sample increased in self-control and decreased in colonization reveals a complex pattern of change (see summary of this section). Both of these measures have high loadings on the first factor of the ICP, adjustment by acceptance of social values. Factor scores, often preferred for their stability and economy, could not have registered this subtle pattern.
Ego coping and defense Only two coping and defending scales show significant change between women aged 21 and 27. The core sample declined on the coping mechanism of sublimation, which emphasizes the channeling of impulse in culturally valued ways, t (79) = 2. 34, p < . 02 , and also dropped on the defending scale of regression, which involves wishful thinking and dependency, t (79) = 2. 15, p < . 03 . Vassar scales By age 27, the sample scored higher on social maturity, t (90) = 2. 50, p < . 01 ; oppression and suppression, t (90) = 2. 45, p < . 02 ; and social integration, t (90) = 1. 67, p < . 10 . Scores decreased on masculine role, t (90) = 2. 72, p < . 01 , and impulse expression, t (90) = 2. 36, p < . 02 .
Summary These findings from three instruments suggest that for these women, the period from ages 21 to 27 was one characterized by taking control of oneself (up on suppression and self-control, down on regression); acknowledging the difference between the world as it “ought” to be and the way it was (down on colonization); trying to understand the persons who have most affected one’s fife (up on psychological mindedness); and enlarging or making a success of one’s first life structure with understanding and sympathy (up on tolerance, social maturity, and femininity). The drop on the coping scale of sublimation may reflect increased experience of the body in sexual activity, pregnancy, childbirth, and the early years of nurturing. The increase on the femininity scale indicates introspectiveness and a sense of vulnerability.
The results support the hypothesis that sex role orientation would increase between the ages of 21 and 27 and are consistent with Stamen’s idea (1975) that self-discipline, concern or others, and control of aggression accompany women’s specialization for parenting, whether or not they actually become parents. Change From Age 27 to 43 This section reports findings from the ICP, coping and defending scales, and the AC. ICP At age 43, members of the core sample scored higher than they had at age 27 on dominance, independence, communality, and psychological mindedness, and they scored lower on responsibility, flexibility, and femininity ( Table 1 ).
Changes for individuals on the responsibility scale, however, failed to meet the criterion of consistency by sign test. Coping and defending The core sample increased between ages 27 and 43 on four of the coping scales: objectivity ( p < . 001), intellectuality ( p < . 001), concentration ( p < . 01), and expressive coping ( p < . 001). The sample decreased on four of the defense scales: denial ( p < . 01 ), structured defense ( p < . 03), primitive defense ( p < . 001), and summed defense ( p < . 001). Along with these strong findings supporting the hypothesis that coping increases and defending decreases by age 43, there were increases on the defending scales in intellectualized ( p < . ) and reaction formation ( p < . 05). In other studies, intellectualized has covered with the coping measure of intellectuality (Han, 1977), but the increase of reaction formation runs counter to our hypothesis. The changes indicate an emphasis on cognitive functions, especially the ability to separate thoughts from feelings, to be detached from affect-laden situations, and to focus attention. CAL Table 2 shows the CAL measures of self-regarding attitudes, needs, and ego states on which age shows an influence significant at the . 001 level. There is an increase (on scales with positive implications) of approximately five standard score points between age 27 and age 43.
Taken as a whole, these changes indicate a shift toward a more favorable self-concept, with gains in perseverance, achievement orientation, organization, self-esteem, repetitiveness, autonomy, and the ability to engage pleasantly, considerately, and constructively with others. Change in Self-Description on the Adjective Check List From Age 27 to Age 43 Changes on CAL scales were large, yet stability coefficients ( Table 2 ) were high. To the extent that describing oneself on the CAL is viewed as reflecting self- guarding attitudes, these attitudes WOUld seem both to have high rank-order stability and to change over time. Summary From age 27 to age 43, most women of the sample decreased in femininity (ICP) and increased in confidence and independence.
They felt increasingly as did other people (ICP communality) and were more nurturing and affable (determined from several CAL scales). As they grew older, they became more organized, committed, and work oriented. They increased the effectiveness of their coping. They continued to increase in the complexity of their interpersonal and interpersonal perceptiveness. They became increasingly the people they wanted to become. They also became less open to change. These findings support the hypothesis that sex role orientation decreases and that independence and confidence increase from age 27 to age 43; our findings also demonstrate that increases in interpersonal and cognitive skills and effectiveness occur by midlife.
Subjective Appraisals of Feelings Now and 10 Years Ago
Ratings of feelings about themselves and their lives in their early ass and early ass show that these women at age 43 perceived the earlier period as less gratifying than the later ( Table 3 ). They looked back on themselves in their early ass as having been more disorganized, insufficiently rewarded for their efforts, resentful, constricted, weak, and lonely than they were at age 43. Statements Rated Higher in Describing Feelings About Life In The Early ass and Early ass The women may have had a more difficult time in their early ass than they did at age 27: Responsibilities of the mothering role increased ( Figure 1 ); women in the work force had seldom attained much status; and 20 women had divorced between ages 27 and 35, most of them with young children to care for.
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