Generativity, the big five, and psychosocial adaptation in midlife adults

Keith S. Cox*, Joshua Wilt, Brad Olson, Dan P McAdams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The study examines the extent to which 2 sets of personality variables-(1) dispositional traits (and their facets) within the Big Five taxonomy and (2) the adult developmental construct of generativity-are associated with psychosocial adaptation in midlife adults (N=128), conceived as the combination of individual well-being and positive societal involvements. Generativity is conceived as an adult's concern for and commitment to promoting the well-being of future generations. Multiple regression analyses showed that dispositional traits were more strongly associated with individual well-being than was generativity, but generativity was much more strongly associated with positive societal engagement than were the traits. Correlations between dispositional traits and generativity revealed that highly generative adults were elevated on most of the facets of Extraversion and Openness. For the other 3 traits, generativity was positively related to facets of competence, achievement striving, dutifulness, altruism, and trust and negatively related to vulnerability, anxiety, depressiveness, and modesty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1185-1208
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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