Much theory and research on adult development has focused on men, neglecting issues of health and personaLity change in women. The broad objective of this application is to continue and expand the work of the Mills Longitudinal Study on the interrelation of women's personality, health, roles, and social world over 30 years of adulthood. Participants in the Mills Study were first studied as seniors in college in 1938 or 1960, shortly before dramatic changes in women's social roles. They have been followed up intensively at ages 27, 43, and 52, when they provided a wide range of measures of personality, life event data, questionnaires, and open-ended material. Data from partners were obtained in the age-27 and age-32 studies. The proposed research asks whether there is a pattern of adult development distinctive to women (ADDW). To address this question, two aims are (1) to test hypotheses about such a pattern in the Mills Study, and (2) to show how largely neglected factors such as social climate, the women's movement, relationships, career opportunities, and personality characteristics influenced personality change. Data from the women and their partners will be used to test for hypothesized gender differences in adult development.
Other aims are to modernize our 30-year data archives and to obtain sufficient information from the Mills women at age 60 to do prospective studies of health and well.being and to plan a fourth follow.up. The evidence for or against the existence of ADDW in the Mills Study may have been influenced by factors particular to this sample or cohort. In most of the studies to be proposed, the influence of the factor (e.g., women's movement) will be evaluated through analysis of individual differences within the Mills sample. In some studies the influence of the factor (social climate) will be controlled statistically. We will also test the generality of findings (e.g., personality change associated with a demanding, high-status career) through comparisons with other samples and cohorts, for example, by continuing our productive collaboration with Abigail Stewart's Radcliffe Study.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
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Social and Group Processes Review Committee (SGP)
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University of California Berkeley
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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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