Longevity and Aging test – NO PLAGIARISM
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Exam time:All day on August 20,Atlantic Daylight Time1A: TRAIT APPROACHES TO UNDERSTANDING PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT
No one definition of personality, but usually defined in terms of traits.• Refers to a person’s usual way of behaving.• Although a person can show different personality states in specific situations.• Often measured in terms of mean-level change or rank-order consistency, and both involve group-level comparisons.
MEAN-LEVEL CHANGE – comparing mean levels of a personality trait between two or more points in time.
RANK-ORDER CONSISTENCY – stability of a person’s rank order in a certain group over time.
Personality development involves both stability and change over time.
Costa & McCrae – Five-factor Model of Personality
Costa & McCrae’s (1999) research posited the notion that personality is “set like plaster”, with very little change after age 30. Costa and McCrae were part of the tradition of psychologists who have attempted to define personality in terms of traits. This tradition began with Allport, followed by Cattell’s work using factor analysis. Costa and McCrae built further on Cattell’s work to classify personality into three dimensions of neuroticism, extraversion, and openness, but later expanded this to include agreeableness and conscientiousness.Although debate continues, the Five Factor Model continues to be the most widely accepted trait theory in personality psychology. Costa & McCrae (1999) posited that personality was set like plaster by age 30, with very little change thereafter.
Why would personality be set like plaster at age 30? For example, that is the time when young people would have been expected to have met major developmental milestones that impact their personality and values, such as long-term partnership, career choice, and children.
Do you expect that this finding would hold for current cohorts of 30 year olds? For example, young people are achieving these developmental milestones later, as many seek higher education and delay or reject marriage/long-term partnership altogether. In other words, there could be significant cohort differences in the development of personality that might be uncovered by research.
SECTION 1B: TRAIT APPROACHES TO UNDERSTANDING PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT
Change and Stability of Personality Traits across the Lifespan
Mean-level Changes:• Although personality change is not as dramatic as before age 30, it continues to occur even into older adulthood.• Maturity principle – those individuals following the developmental trend of increased agreeableness, emotional stability, conscientiousness, and decreased neuroticism.
Rank-order Stability:• A meta-analysis of 152 studies indicated that rank-order stability tends to linearly increase from childhood to older adulthood (Roberts & Delvecchio, 2000).
In considering personality across the lifespan, must consider not only group-level change, but also individual differences in scope and magnitude of change.
The results of this meta-analysis indicate that, contrary to the work of Costa & McCrae, personality is not “set like plaster” by age 30, but rather dynamic over time.
What Accounts for Personality Change Across the Lifespan?
Costa and McCrae’s original argument was that personality was set like plaster, with personality being relatively stable from age 30 onward.
The meta-analysis, and other studies, seems to suggest that personality remains dynamic in adulthood, with more or less change – and different types of change – in some personality traits as compared to others.
Moreover, in contrast to Erikson’s theory that adolescence is the most important time for personality development, these empirical findings suggest that young adulthood might be the most formative time for personality development.
Why might young adulthood be the most formative time?
1. Young adulthood is a time of exploration, investigation, and forming one’s values and life goals.
2. The change from adolescence to young adulthood may be the later achievement of certain developmental milestones compared to earlier cohorts (e.g., people may get married, start families, etc. in 30s instead of 20s).
SECTION 1C: TRAIT APPROACHES TO UNDERSTANDING PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT
Many studies have examined gender differences in personality across the lifespan. However, some of the findings are mixed, e.g., some studies show an increase in neuroticism in women versus men in later life, whereas other studies show the opposite.
Do you think gender differences in personality, such as those shown above, apply to all cultures and cohorts?
Can we look at gender in isolation of culture and cohort?
How might differing gender norms impact personality changes in different cohorts of adults?
How might culture come into play in terms of gender effects on personality?
SECTION 1D: TRAIT APPROACHES TO UNDERSTANDING PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT
Cultural Differences in Personality Traits
McCrae et al. (2005) found that, across 50 different ethnic groups, all of the Big Five factors were found in most ethnic groups examined, but not all. There could be differences in the traits themselves, as well as issues using self-report measures in different languages.
Other researchers have attempted to study personality in different cultures from the ground-up. For example, Cheung et al. (1996) – Chinese Personality Inventory (CPAI) contains the four factors of dependability, accommodation, interpersonal relatedness, and social potency. The CPAI’s interpersonal relatedness is related to collectivist cultural values and not related to any NEO factors. NEO factor of openness to experience not represented by any of the CPAI factors, suggesting it may be a feature of Western culture vs. Eastern culture.
Health and Personality Traits
“Type A” Personality:• Initial studies showed strong relationships between Type A personality and cardiovascular risk, although more recent, rigorous studies have found less compelling evidence.
Big Five Personality Traits:• Conscientiousness consistently found to be the best predictor of mortality, with lower levels conferring higher risk.• Neuroticism research less straightforward; mixed findings, although many studies suggest higher levels of neuroticism are associated with greater incidence of certain diseases and poor health behaviors (e.g., smoking, substance use).
SECTION 1E: TRAIT APPROACHES TO UNDERSTANDING PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT
Dementia and Personality Traits
Researchers are increasingly interested in the role of personality traits as risk and protective factors for dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease dementia.
The text discusses research by Terracciano and colleagues in 2013, who examined longitudinal data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study on Aging. They wanted to determine the association between the Big Five personality traits and the development of Alzheimer’s dementia (AD). They found that individuals with scores in the top quartile of neuroticism or in the lowest quartile of conscientiousness had a threefold increased risk of incident Alzheimer’s disease.
They also conducted a subsequent meta-analysis confirming the findings shown in this slide, indicating that high levels of neuroticism and low levels of conscientiousness are independently related to elevated risk for AD. Many other studies have been conducted examining the role of personality, particularly neuroticism and conscientiousness, in the development of dementia.
Why might these traits in particular elevate risk for dementia?For example, neuroticism associated with many negative health behaviors (e.g., smoking), as well as depression. Conscientiousness is associated with greater likelihood to seek medical care and also take care of one’s health.
SECTION 1F: TRAIT APPROACHES TO UNDERSTANDING PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT
Can Personality Traits Be Changed Through Direct Intervention?
Evidence suggests that personality is malleable through intervention.
• Jackson et al. (2012) – 16 weeks of cognitive training increased openness to experience in older adults.• Krasner et al. (2009) – mindfulness training increased agreeableness, empathy, conscientiousness, and emotional stability in medical students.
Could there be other interpretations to the study findings mentioned?
The samples are self-selected – e.g., people who are willing to participate in cognitive training might be more open to begin with; medical students are (hopefully) already somewhat empathetic, agreeable, etc. and the intervention might simply have accentuated what was already there.
Could be interesting to examine personality interventions younger in life when personality is most malleable (i.e., as it is developing).
There may be limits to the malleability of personality, as seen in treatment for personality disorders, which can often be quite challenging and take significant periods of time to produce changes in maladaptive traits.
SECTION 2: PSYCHODYNAMIC APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT
Sigmund Freud• Theory of the id, ego, and superego.• Our personality and behavior arise from conflicts between these three aspects of the unconscious mind.• Defense mechanisms help us manage the anxiety from underlying sexual and/or aggressive impulses.
Carl Jung• Broke from Freud in 1912 with his publication of The Psychology of the Unconscious.• Developed the concepts of extroversion and introversion and the feminine and masculine aspects of personality.• The first theorist to posit that personality can change into adulthood.
SECTION 3A: LIFE NARRATIVE APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT
For each developmental stage, Erikson theorized that the individual has a “crisis” they must navigate to successfully master that stage.
Three stages that focus on adult development:
INTIMACY vs. ISOLATION – The focus is on developing close and intimate relationships with friends and partners; if this does not happen, isolation will occur
GENERATIVITY vs. STAGNATION – There is more of an outward focus as opposed to the previous stage, with a need to give back to one’s community, mentor future generations, and pass along the knowledge and experience one has acquired
INTEGRITY vs. DESPAIR – Reviewing one’s life and trying to make meaning of the good and the bad. Those older adults who can reflect upon their life in a positive way and who can identify accomplishments, accept that there have been mistakes made, and not only recognize but accept that life is drawing to a close will achieve ego integrity. The outcome of this stage is wisdom.Although Erikson’s theory makes sense descriptively, it has been criticized for being difficult to empirically test. Of the research that has been done, it suggests that a given stage is never really fully “mastered”, but that certain issues (e.g., trust) may re-occur through the life when precipitated by different life events.
Generativity vs. Stagnation: Can We Become More Selfless with Age?
• Research suggests that higher levels of generativity are associated with more meaningful and satisfactory social relationships andgreater psychological well-being.
• Generativity is positively associated with all Big Five traits except neuroticism.
• Programs such as Elder Service Corps provide structured opportunities to foster generativity.
SECTION 3B: LIFE NARRATIVE APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT
An older adult’s willingness to remember and review the past most influences his/her success or failure in achieving ego integrity.
More than just generic reminiscing – needs to be an active process of remembering, known as life review, developed by Butler (1974).
Butler – “a critical cognitive process that occurs during late adulthood, which not only involves remembering and reviewing past events (as would occur with reminiscing), but also involves dealing with the emotional side effects of these events”.
Torges et al. (2008) – Resolving regret in mid-life predicted higher levels of ego integrity in later life – emphasizes the point that we do not want to wait until later life to resolve our issues, but do it now. Also interesting because ego integrity vs. despair is a late-life developmental period, but to master it, we actually have to start earlier.
Table 9.2 – elements of the Self-Examination Interview (SEI), a measure of integrity vs. despair developed by Hearn et al. (2012).
SECTION 4: MID-LIFE CRISIS – FACT OR FICTION?
Mid-Life Crisis: Research and Findings
What is mid-life crisis?
• Elliott Jacques (1965) initially coined the term, with a developmental framework proposed by Levinson (1978) suggesting that it occurs at 40–45 years, primarily to men.
State of the Science on the Mid-life Crisis
• The available research has been criticized on methodological grounds, such as sample type, sample size, and data collection methods.
• Longitudinal data suggests it may only happen for 10–20% of individuals, those who tend to be higher in neuroticism.
• Some research suggests that older adults report mid-life as their most preferred phase of life.
SECTION 5: PERSONALITY DISORDERS IN OLDER ADULTS
Definition of a Personality Disorder (DSM-5)A personality disorder is “an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of a person’s culture”.
Prevalence of Personality Disorders in Older AdulthoodBased on the little research available, the prevalence and severity of PDs tends to decrease in older adulthood.
Measurement/Classification of Personality DisordersSystems such as the DSM-5 may lack validity for older adults. DSM-5 criteria were not developed with older adults in their samples; items that may be indicative of PD in younger samples may lack validity in older adult samples, as they may engage (or not engage) in certain behaviors that are actually developmentally appropriate for older persons.
The Relationship between Personality Disorders and HealthPD is associated with negative health outcomes such as obesity, sleep disturbance, pain, and substance use.
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