Wednesday, June 06, 2018

(Kotre, 1984; McAdams, Hart, & Maruna, 1998) connected generative motivation within the increasing awareness of one’s own mortality that comes with age.

Kotre, J. (1984). Outliving the self: Generativity and the interpretation of lives.
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press

McAdams, D. P., Hart, H. M., & Maruna, S. (1998). The anatomy of generativity. In D.
P. McAdams & E. de St.Aubin (Eds.), Generativity and adult development: How and
why we care for the next generation (pp. 7–43). Washington, DC: American
Psychological Association.

Cultural norms affect the timing of generativity (McAdams & de
St. Aubin, 1992) and ‘‘cultural demand’’ in the United States ‘‘urges
adults to assume generative roles as they move into their 30s and
40s’’ (McAdams et al., 1998, p. 17). Erikson (1963) did not state
exactly when the generative stage was supposed to end, but
cross-sectional surveys have found that people in their sixties
and early seventies score lower on measures of generative concern
than people in their late thirties, forties, and fifties (Keyes & Ryff,
1998; McAdams, de St. Aubin, & Logan, 1993).

McAdams, D. P., & de St. Aubin, E. (1992). A theory of generativity and its
assessment through self-report, behavioral acts, and narrative themes in
autobiography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62, 1003–1015.

Keyes, C. L. M., & Ryff, C. D. (1998). Generativity in adult lives: Social structural
contours and quality of life consequences. In D. P. McAdams & E. de. St.Aubin
(Eds.), Generativity and adult development: How and why we care for the next
generation (pp. 227–263). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association

McAdams, D. P., de St. Aubin, E., & Logan, R. L. (1993). Generativity among young,
midlife, and older adults. Psychology and Aging, 8, 221–230.

Stewart and Vandewater (1998) further elaborated the theory of
the life course development of generativity by dividing the concept
into generative motivation, generative capacity, and generative
achievement. They argue that generative motivation develops
completely in early adulthood and then declines; felt capacity for
generative action begins to occur in early adulthood, peaks in
mid-adulthood, and then decreases; and generative achievement
increases through adulthood and peaks late in life. They supported
this theory with quantitative coding of narrative data taken from
two longitudinal studies of female college graduates.

Stewart, A. J., & Vandewater, E. A. (1998). The course of generativity. In D. P.
McAdams & E. de St. Aubin (Eds.), Generativity and adult development: How and
why we care for the next generation (pp. 75–100). Washington, DC: American
Psychological Association.

(Dillon & Wink, 2004; Wink & Dillon,
2003).

Dillon, M., & Wink, P. (2004). Is spirituality detrimental to generativity? Journal for
the Scientific Study of Religion, 42, 427–442

Wink, P., & Dillon, M. (2003). Religiousness, spirituality, and psychosocial
functioning in late adulthood: Findings from a longitudinal study. Psychology
and Aging, 19, 916–924.

Two cross-sectional studies have examined whether generative
concern scores vary by age. McAdams et al. (1993) tested the timing
of generativity among a sample of 152 adults, randomly
selected from the population of Evanston, Illinois. They found that
people in mid-adulthood (aged 37–42) scored higher on the LGS
than young adults (age 22–27) and older adults (age 67–72). Using
cross-sectional data from the 1995 wave of the Midlife in the United
States study, Keyes and Ryff (1998) also found statistically significant
differences in generative concern by age, with 40–59 year
olds scoring higher than those aged 24–39 or those aged 60 and
older. As both of these studies were cross-sectional, cohort differences
instead of life course development may explain the differences
found.

McAdams, D. P., de St. Aubin, E., & Logan, R. L. (1993). Generativity among young,
midlife, and older adults. Psychology and Aging, 8, 221–230.

two longitudinal studies using the LGS.
One found no significant changes in the LGS among young adults
measured first at age 19 and then at age 23 (Lawford, Pratt,
Hunsberger, & Pancer, 2005). Another used longitudinal data from
MIDUS to find correlations among family of origin factors, education,
generative concern, religiosity, and volunteering, but did not
test whether generative concern peaked in midlife (Son &
Wilson, 2011).

Lawford, H., Pratt, M. W., Hunsberger, B., & Pancer, S. M. (2005). Adolescent
generativity: A longitudinal study of two possible contexts for learning concern
for future generations. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 15, 261–273.

Son, J., & Wilson, J. (2011). Generativity and volunteering. Sociological Forum, 26,
644–667.

McAdams, D. P., Hart, H. M., & Maruna, S. (1998). The anatomy of generativity. In D.
P. McAdams & E. de St.Aubin (Eds.), Generativity and adult development: How and
why we care for the next generation (pp. 7–43). Washington, DC: American
Psychological Association

Hypothesizing
that generative concern will follow the same pattern as the
big five personality traits (Specht et al., 2011), one would expect
rank-order stability in generative concern to increase until ages
40 through 60, and then decrease afterward. Alternatively, rank
order stability may peak at age 30 (Costa & McCrae, 1988;
Srivastava et al., 2003) or age 50 (Roberts & DelVecchio, 2000;
Srivastava et al., 2003) and remain high afterward

Specht, J., Egloff, B., & Schmukle, S. C. (2011). Stability and change of personality
across the life course: The impact of age and major life course events on meanlevel
and rank-order stability of the big five. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 101, 862–882.

Costa, P. T., Jr., & McCrae, R. R. (1988). Personality in adulthood: A six-year
longitudinal study of self-reports and spouse ratings on the NEO Personality
Inventory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 853–863.

Srivastava, S., John, O. P., Gosling, S. D., & Potter, J. (2003). Development of
personality in early and middle adulthood: Set like plaster or persistent
change? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 1041–1053.

Roberts, B. W., & DelVecchio, W. F. (2000). The rank-order consistency of personality
traits from childhood to old age: A quantitative review of longitudinal studies.
Psychological Bulletin, 126, 3–25.


Erikson’s (1963) theory, as elaborated by later authors
(McAdams et al., 1998), also predicts that individuals are most
focused on generativity in mid-adulthood, and this implies that
generative concern scores would peak in mid-life. Measuring
mid-life by age, one expects the mean generativity score of an
age cohort to rise as individuals reach their 30s, 40s, and 50s, when
cultural norms in the United States expect generativity to be at its
highest (McAdams et al., 1998), and then decline as people age into
their 60s and 70s


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