The relations of generative concern and generative action to personality traits, satisfaction/happiness with life, and ego development

Ed de St Aubin*, Dan P McAdams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations

Abstract

This research examined the relations that generative concern and generative action have to personality traits, satisfaction/happiness with life, and ego development. Generative concern is a general personality tendency or interest in caring for younger and anticipated individuals, while generative action addresses actual physical behaviors that promote the well-being of future generations. Two samples (79 and 152 adults) were employed. Generative concern scores were significantly related to scores for extraversion, openness, emotional stability (non-neuroticism), and agreeableness as well as to two agentic traits (achievement, dominance) and two communal traits (affiliation, nurturance). Generative action was significantly related to extraversion and openness. Generative concern but not generative action was found, as predicted, to be positively related to one's life satisfaction/happiness. Further, one's level of ego development determined, in part, the relation that generative concern had to satisfaction/happiness with life. Given that a subject scored high in ego development, his or her level of satisfaction/happiness varied as a function of generative concern such that those who scored low on generative concern were significantly less satisfied/happy than those that scored high on generative concern. The results are discussed within the context of the recently proposed theory of generativity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-112
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Adult Development
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 1995

Keywords

  • Generativity
  • adult personality
  • ego development
  • satisfaction with life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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