The proposed research has two main aims: first, to continue the work of the Mills Longitudinal Study on the interrelationships of women's personality and roles over 30 years of adulthood; and second, to generalize, extend, and qualify its findings through comparisons with the Radcliffe Longitudinal Study. The Mills Study has followed its original sample of 141 members from the senior class of college through intensive follow-up at ages 27, 43, and 52, using a wide range of measures of personality, life, event data, questionnaires, and open-ended material. Data from partners are available at ages 27 and 52. The continuation studies will use several new tools to address practical and newly-emerging issues in the study of mental health and personality change. For example, we will examine whether the """"""""Big Five"""""""" personality dimensions are too abstract to assess change adequately, and whether contextualized measures and designs that take into account role-related differentiation of personality or features of particular periods in the life course help to reveal change patterns (such as the timing of improvement of women who were maladjusted in college). The Mills Classes of 1958 and 1960 entered the adult world shortly before the Women's Movement began; the Radcliffe Class of 1964 after it was underway. The two longitudinal samples have been studied at three similar ages and both studies have obtained common measures of role-patterns and personality, especially for the women in their early 40s. Each study has comparative data from older and younger alumnae. Using the data from the two studies in a longitudinal replication design, we will study the similarity of personality patterns (such as traditional, conflicted, and individuated """"""""types"""""""") and their correlates among role and mental and physical health measures. Other topics include the impact of the Women's Movement on women's ideals and choices as a function of life stage and commitments, and a modernized conceptualization of women's middle-age.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
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Mental Health Behavioral Sciences Research Review Committee (BSR)
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University of California Berkeley
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United States
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Newton, Nicky J; Stewart, Abigail J (2013) The road not taken: Women's life paths and gender-linked personality traits. J Res Pers 47:306-316
Lilgendahl, Jennifer Pals; Helson, Ravenna; John, Oliver P (2013) Does ego development increase during midlife? The effects of openness and accommodative processing of difficult events. J Pers 81:403-16
Edelstein, Robin S; Newton, Nicola J; Stewart, Abigail J (2012) Narcissism in midlife: longitudinal changes in and correlates of women's narcissistic personality traits. J Pers 80:1179-204
George, Linda G; Helson, Ravenna; John, Oliver P (2011) The ""CEO"" of women's work lives: how Big Five Conscientiousness, Extraversion, and Openness predict 50 years of work experiences in a changing sociocultural context. J Pers Soc Psychol 101:812-30
Soto, Christopher J; John, Oliver P; Gosling, Samuel D et al. (2008) The developmental psychometrics of big five self-reports: acquiescence, factor structure, coherence, and differentiation from ages 10 to 20. J Pers Soc Psychol 94:718-37
Jay, Meg (2007) Individual differences in melancholy gender among women: does ambivalence matter? J Am Psychoanal Assoc 55:1279-320
Cate, Rebecca A; John, Oliver P (2007) Testing models of the structure and development of future time perspective: maintaining a focus on opportunities in middle age. Psychol Aging 22:186-201
Pals, Jennifer L (2006) Narrative identity processing of difficult life experiences: pathways of personality development and positive self-transformation in adulthood. J Pers 74:1079-109
Helson, Ravenna; Soto, Christopher J (2005) Up and down in middle age: monotonic and nonmonotonic changes in roles, status, and personality. J Pers Soc Psychol 89:194-204
Jay, Meg; John, Oliver P (2004) A depressive symptom scale for the California Psychological Inventory: construct validation of the CPI-D. Psychol Assess 16:299-309

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