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CHAPTER 11 SELF AND PERSONALITY

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Title: CHAPTER 11 SELF AND PERSONALITY


1
CHAPTER 11SELF AND PERSONALITY
2
Learning Objectives
  • How is the personality typically defined, and
    what are the five principles of defining
    personality?
  • How do psychoanalytic, trait, and social-learning
    theories explain personality development?

3
Conceptualizing the Self and Personality
  • Personality
  • An organized combination of attributes, motives,
    values, and behaviors unique to each individual
  • Often described in terms of relatively enduring
    dispositional traits (extraversion or
    introversion, independence or dependence)

4
Conceptualizing the Self and Personality
  • Personality (continued)
  • Characteristic adaptations
  • Situation-specific and changeable ways in which
    people adapt to their roles and environments
  • Motives, plans, goals, schemas, self-conceptions,
    stage-specific concerns, coping mechanisms
  • Narrative identities
  • Unique and integrative life stories that
    construct to give ourselves an identity and
    meaning to our lives

5
Conceptualizing the Self and Personality
  • Our self-perceptions
  • Self-concept
  • Our perceptions positive, negative, realistic,
    unrealistic of our attributes and traits as a
    person
  • Self-esteem
  • Our overall evaluation of our worth as a person
    based upon the positive and negative
    self-perceptions that constitute our self-concept
  • Identity
  • Our overall sense of who we are and how we fit
    into society

6
Conceptualizing the Self and Personality
  • Psychoanalytic theory
  • Psychoanalytic theorists use in-depth interviews,
    dream analysis, etc. to understand personality
  • Trait theory
  • Trait theorists construct personality scales and
    use the statistical technique of factor analysis
    to identify groupings of personality scale items
    that correlate with each other but not with other
    grouping of items

7
Conceptualizing the Self and Personality
  • Currently, there is agreement that personality
    can be described in terms of a five-factor model.
  • Five dimensions of personality known as the Big
    Five
  • Openness to experience
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Neuroticism

8
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9
Conceptualizing the Self and Personality
  • Social-learning theorists reject the notion of
    universal stages of personality development,
    question the existence of enduring personality
    traits, and emphasize that people change if their
    environments change
  • From the social-learning perspective, personality
    is a set of behavioral tendencies shaped by
    interactions with other people in specific social
    situations

10
Learning Objectives
  • How do infants develop a sense of self?
  • What behaviors do researchers accept as evidence
    of infants self-awareness?
  • What is temperament?
  • How do researchers define and describe
    temperament?

11
The Infant The Emerging Self
  • Infants develop an implicit sense of self through
    their perceptions of their bodies and actions
  • In the first 2 or 3 months, infants discover they
    can cause things to happen
  • After 6 months, infants realize they and other
    people are separate beings with different
    perspectives, ones that can be shared
  • Illustrated by joint attention
  • About 9 months, infants and their companions
    share perceptual experiences by looking at the
    same object at the same time
  • When an infant points at an object and looks
    toward her companions to attempt to focus their
    attention on the object, she shows awareness that
    self and other do not always share the same
    perceptions

12
The Infant The Emerging Self
  • Around 18 months, infants recognize themselves
    visually as distinct individuals
  • Lewis and Brooks-Gunn (1979) demonstrated the
    development of self-recognition by putting a dot
    of rouge on a babys nose and placing the infant
    in front of a mirror
  • Infants 18 to 24 months of age touched their
    noses rather than the mirror, which indicated
    they thought they had a strange mark on their
    faces evidence of self-recognition

13
The Infant The Emerging Self
  • Infants develop a categorical self
  • Classify themselves into social categories based
    on age, sex, and other characteristics
  • What is like me and what is not like me
  • By age 2, infants master the task of
    distinguishing between photos of themselves and
    photos of other infants of the same sex

14
The Infant The Emerging Self
  • What contributes to self-awareness in infancy?
  • Cognitive development
  • Ability to recognize the self
  • Social interaction
  • Social relationships that enable secure
    attachments
  • Social feedback positive and negative

15
The Infant Temperament
  • The study of infant personality has centered on
    dimensions of temperament early, genetically
    based tendencies to respond in predictable ways
    to events
  • Easiness and difficultness
  • Thomas and Chess (1986, 1999) and colleagues
    studied nine dimensions of infant behavior,
    including
  • Typical mood
  • Regularity or predictability of biological
    functions
  • Tendency to approach or withdraw from new stimuli
  • Intensity of emotional reactions
  • Adaptability to new experiences and changes in
    routine

16
The Infant Temperament
  • Categories of temperament
  • Easy temperament
  • Infants are even tempered, typically content or
    happy, open and adaptable to new experiences,
    have regular feeding and sleeping habits, and are
    tolerant of frustrations and discomforts
  • Difficult temperament
  • Infants are active, irritable, and irregular in
    their habits, often react negatively (and
    vigorously) to changes in routine, are slow to
    adapt to new people or situations, cry frequently
    and loudly, and often have tantrums
  • Slow-to-warm-up temperament
  • Infants are relatively inactive, somewhat moody,
    only moderately regular in their daily schedules,
    slow to adapt to new people and situations, but
    they typically respond in mildly, rather than
    intensely, negative ways.

17
The Infant Temperament
  • Jerome Kagan identified another aspect of early
    temperament behavioral inhibition
  • The tendency to be shy, restrained, and
    distressed in response to unfamiliar people and
    situations
  • Kagan and his colleagues have concluded that
    behavioral inhibition is biologically rooted
  • Individuals with inhibited temperaments display
    strong brain responses and high heart rates in
    reaction to unfamiliar stimuli

18
The Infant Temperament
  • Rothbart and colleagues defined infant
    temperament in terms of emotional reactions and
    the control/regulation of such reactions
  • Identified three dimensions of temperament
  • Surgency/extraversion the tendency to actively
    and energetically approach new experiences in an
    emotionally positive way (rather than to be
    inhibited and withdrawn)
  • Negative affectivity the tendency to be sad,
    fearful, easily frustrated, and irritable (as
    opposed to laid back and adaptable)
  • Effortful control the ability to focus and
    shift attention when desired, control ones
    behavior and plan a course of action, and
    regulate or suppress ones emotions

19
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20
The Infant Temperament
  • Thomas and Chess referred to the goodness of fit
    between a child and her environment
  • The extent to which the childs temperament is
    compatible with the demands and expectations of
    the social world to which she must adapt
  • Infants temperaments and their parents
    parenting behaviors reciprocally influence one
    another and interact over time to steer the
    direction of later personality development

21
Leaning Objectives
  • What changes occur in the development of
    childrens self-esteem?
  • What factors influence self-esteem?
  • How does personality evolve over childhood, and
    what do children understand of their personality?

22
The Child Elaborating on the Sense of Self
  • Toddlers give evidence of their emerging
    self-concepts
  • By age 2, toddlers may use the personal pronouns
    I, me, my, and mine when referring to the self
    and you when addressing another person
  • Toddlers show their emerging categorical selves
    when they describe themselves in terms of age and
    sex

23
The Child Elaborating on the Sense of Self
  • The preschool childs self-concept is concrete
    and physical
  • A preschoolers self-description focuses on
    physical characteristics, possessions, physical
    activities, accomplishments, and preferences
  • Young children typically do not mention their
    psychological traits or inner qualities

24
The Child Elaborating on the Sense of Self
  • Around age 8, psychological and social qualities
    become prominent in self-descriptions
  • Describe their enduring qualities using
    personality trait terms, such as funny or smart
  • Form social identities, define themselves as part
    of social units
  • Im a Kimberly, a second-grader at Brookside
    School, a Brownie Scout.
  • Become more capable of social comparison using
    information about how they compare with other
    children to characterize and evaluate themselves
  • Im the fastest runner in my class

25
The Child Self-Esteem
  • Susan Harter (1999, 2003, 2006) has found that
    self-esteem becomes more differentiated or
    multi-dimensional with age
  • Preschoolers distinguish two aspects of
    self-esteem
  • Their competence (physical and cognitive)
  • Their personal and social adequacy (social
    acceptance).
  • By mid-elementary school, children differentiate
    among five aspects of self-worth
  • Scholastic competence
  • Social acceptance
  • Behavioral conduct
  • Athletic competence
  • Physical appearance.

26
  • Caption The multidimensional and hierarchical
    nature of self-esteem

27
The Child Self-Esteem
  • As children age, they integrate their
    self-perceptions in the five distinct domains to
    form an overall, abstract sense of self-worth
  • Self-esteem becomes multidimensional and
    hierarchical
  • Global self-worth is at the top of the hierarchy
  • The accuracy of childrens self-evaluations
    increases over the elementary school years
  • Children form a sense of what they should be
    like an ideal self
  • With age, the gap between the real self and the
    ideal self increases, which contributes to a
    decrease in average self-esteem from early to
    middle childhood

28
The Child Influences on Self-Esteem
  • Influences on self-esteem
  • Heredity
  • Competence
  • Social feedback
  • Secure attachment to warm, democratic parents
  • Self-esteem remains stable over the elementary
    school years
  • High self-esteem is positively correlated with a
    variety of measures of good adjustment

29
The Child The Developing Personality
  • During childhood, temperament interacts with
    individual social experiences and evolves into
    predictable personality
  • Researchers are finding links between the
    dimensions of temperament and Big Five
    personality trait dimensions
  • Exact relationships are unclear
  • Many aspects of personality do not stabilize
    until the elementary school years, or
    adolescence, or adulthood

30
Learning Objectives
  • How do adolescents conceptualize their selves,
    including self-esteem and personality?
  • What factors influence the development of
    identity during adolescence?
  • How do adolescents make vocational choices?
  • How does work affect adolescents identities?

31
The Adolescent Self-Conceptions
  • Compared to childrens self-descriptions, those
    of adolescents
  • Become less physical and more psychological
  • Become less concrete and more abstract
  • Have a more differentiated self-concept
  • Includes acceptance by a larger peer group, by
    close friends, and by romantic partners
  • Are more integrated and coherent
  • Recognizes and integrates inconsistencies
  • Are more self-aware and reflective

32
The Adolescent Self-Esteem
  • Between childhood and early adolescence
    self-esteem tends to decrease
  • Transition to middle or junior high school
  • Physical changes of puberty
  • Social context and social comparisons
  • Big-fish little-pond effect occurs when the
    social comparisons are changed
  • A good student in a class of good students is a
    small fish in a big pond
  • A good student in a class of not-so-great
    students is a big fish in a little pond

33
The Adolescent Self-Esteem
  • Adolescents who experienced a decrease in
    self-esteem in early adolescence typically emerge
    with higher self-esteem
  • Contributing factors
  • Opportunities to feel competent in areas that are
    important to them
  • Approval and support of parents, peers, and other
    important people
  • As adults, adolescents with low self-esteem tend
    to have poorer physical and mental health, poorer
    career and financial prospects, and higher levels
    of criminal behavior than adolescents with high
    self-esteem

34
The Adolescent Forging a Sense of Identity
  • Eric Erikson proposed that adolescents experience
    the psychosocial conflict of identity versus role
    confusion
  • The search for identity involves important
    questions
  • What kind of career do I want?
  • What religious, moral, and political values can I
    really call my own?
  • Who am I as a man or woman and as a sexual being?
  • Where do I fit into the world?
  • What do I really want out of my life?
  • The many separate perceptions that are part of
    the self-concept must be integrated into a
    coherent sense of self identity

35
The Adolescent Forging a Sense of Identity
  • Erikson believed that an adolescent identity
    crisis can be explained by
  • Changing bodies that call for a revised
    self-concept and adjustment to being sexual
    beings
  • Cognitive growth that permits systematic thinking
    about hypothetical possibilities, including
    possible future selves
  • Social demands to grow up
  • According to Erikson, the moratorium period
    during high school and the college years permits
    adolescents to experiment with different roles to
    find themselves

36
The Adolescent Forging a Sense of Identity
  • James Marcia (1966) expanded on Eriksons theory
    and developed a procedure to assess adolescent
    identity formation
  • Adolescents are classified into one of four
    identity statuses based upon their progress
    toward an identity
  • The key questions are
  • Whether an individual has experienced a crisis
    (or has seriously grappled with identity issues
    and explored alternatives)
  • Whether an individual has achieved a commitment
    (that is, resolved the questions raised)

37
  • Caption The four identity statuses as they apply
    to religious identity

38
The Adolescent Forging a Sense of Identity
  • James Marcias identity statuses
  • Diffusion
  • No crisis and no commitment
  • Foreclosure
  • Commitment without a crisis
  • Accepted an identity suggested by parents or
    other people
  • Moratorium status
  • Experiencing a crisis or actively exploring
    identity issues
  • Questioning their religious upbringing,
    experimenting with drugs, changing majors or
    relationships
  • Identity achievement status
  • After a period of moratorium, a commitment is made

39
  • Caption Percentage of subjects in each of James
    Marcias four identity statuses as a function of
    age

40
The Adolescent Forging a Sense of Identity
  • The process of identity development includes
    forming an ethnic identity
  • A sense of personal identification with an ethnic
    group and its values and cultural traditions
  • The ingredients of a positive ethnic identity
    include
  • Socialization/teaching by parents regarding
    cultural traditions
  • Preparation to live in a culturally diverse
    society
  • Preparation to deal with prejudice in a manner
    that does not breed anger and mistrust

41
The Adolescent Forging a Sense of Identity
  • Exploring and forging a positive ethnic identity
    can
  • Protect adolescents self-concepts from the
    damaging effects of racial or ethnic
    discrimination
  • Foster high overall self-esteem
  • Help promote academic achievement and good
    adjustment
  • Reduce depression symptoms.

42
The Adolescent Forging a Sense of Identity
  • The main developmental trend evident in
    vocational choice is increasing realism with age
  • Between the ages of 11 and 18, adolescents become
    more realistic and begin to make preliminary
    vocational choices that consider their interests,
    capacities, and values
  • By late adolescence or emerging adulthood,
    considerations include the realities of the job
    market, the physical and intellectual
    requirements for different occupations, the
    availability of job openings in a field, the
    years of education required, and the work
    conditions

43
The Adolescent Forging a Sense of Identity
  • Some adolescents are challenged to form a
    positive vocational identity
  • Adolescents from lower income families,
    especially minority group members living in
    poverty and facing limited opportunities,
    discrimination, and stress, may lower their
    career aspirations and aim toward jobs they are
    likely to get rather than the jobs that interest
    them most
  • The vocational choices of females have been and
    continue to be constrained by traditional gender
    norms

44
The Adolescent Forging a Sense of Identity
  • Young women who have adopted traditional
    gender-role attitudes for marriage and family in
    early adulthood may set their educational and
    vocational sights low, figuring that they cannot
    have it all
  • Many young women do not seriously consider
    traditionally male-dominated jobs, doubt their
    ability to land such jobs, and aim toward
    feminine-stereotyped, and often lower-status and
    lower-paying, occupations
  • Many teens female and male do not explore a
    range of possible occupations before making a
    choice

45
The Adolescent Forging a Sense of Identity
  • Progress toward identity formation in adolescent
    is influenced by five factors
  • Cognitive growth
  • The ability to contemplate possible future
    identities, to think in complex and abstract
    ways, and to seek information
  • Personality
  • Low neuroticism and high levels of openness to
    experience and conscientiousness
  • Relationships with parents
  • Those who are in the moratorium and identity
    achievement statuses have solid relationships
    with parents who encourage autonomy

46
The Adolescent Forging a Sense of Identity
  • Opportunities to explore
  • Exposure to diverse ideas and independent
    thinking, such as occurs during a college
    education
  • The broader cultural context
  • In industrialized Western societies, adolescents
    are expected to forge an identity after exploring
    their options
  • In traditional societies, identity foreclosure
    may be the most adaptive path to adulthood

47
Learning Objectives
  • How does personality change during adulthood?
  • Why do people change or remain the same?
  • How does culture influence personality

48
The Adult Self-Conceptions
  • Self-esteem tends rise gradually through the
    adult years until the mid-60s and then for some
    adults to drop in the 70s and 80s
  • How do most elderly people manage to maintain
    positive self-images for so long, even as they
    experience some of the disabilities and losses
    that come with aging? By
  • Reducing the gap between the ideal self and the
    real self
  • Changing standards of self-evaluation
  • Making social comparisons to other old people
  • Avoiding self-stereotyping

49
The Adult Self-Conceptions
  • Reducing the gap between the ideal self and the
    real self
  • According to Ryffs (1991) research, older adults
    scaled down their visions of what they could
    ideally be and what they likely will be, possibly
    because they recognized that aging brings with it
    a loss of capacities
  • They also judged more positively what they had
    been
  • As a result, their ideal, future, present, and
    past selves converged

50
The Adult Self-Conceptions
  • Adjusting goals and standards of self-evaluation
  • Peoples goals and standards change with age so
    that what seem like losses or failures to a
    younger person may not be perceived as such by
    the older adult
  • As our goals and standards change over the
    lifespan, we apply different measuring sticks in
    evaluating ourselves and do not mind failing to
    achieve goals that are no longer important

51
The Adult Self-Conceptions
  • Comparing the self to other older adults
  • Older adults are able to maintain self-esteem by
    making social comparisons primarily to other
    older adults
  • With people who have the same kinds of chronic
    diseases and impairments they have, or even worse

52
The Adult Self-Conceptions
  • Not internalizing ageist stereotypes
  • Negative stereotypes we learn and that are
    reinforced over the years may be applied to the
    self once we being to think of ourselves as old
  • Research shows that negative stereotypes of aging
    can affect gait (in walking) and memory
    performance
  • Research suggests that ageist stereotypes are
    harmful to behavior, health, and self-esteem,
    especially among people who have come to identify
    themselves as old and apply ageist stereotypes
    to themselves

53
The Adult Self-Conceptions
  • Self-conceptions also reflect broad cultural
    influences
  • In an individualistic culture, individuals define
    themselves primarily as individuals and put their
    own goals ahead of their social groups goals
  • North American and Western European societies
  • In a collectivist culture, people define
    themselves in terms of group memberships and give
    group goals higher priority than personal goals
  • Latin America, Africa, and East Asia societies

54
The Adult Self-Conceptions
  • Self-conceptions in an individualistic society
    such as the United States mean
  • Being your own person independent and different
    from others
  • Describing ones unique personal qualities and
    the personality traits believed to be apparent in
    most situations and relationships
  • Maintaining high self-esteem

55
The Adult Self-Conceptions
  • Self-conceptions in a collectivist society such
    as Japan mean
  • Being interdependent with others, embedded in
    society
  • Believing that the self is different as the
    social context or situation is different
  • Being more modest and self-critical, noting
    inadequacies

56
The Adult Continuity and Discontinuity in
Personality
  • McCrae and Costas (2003, 2008) studies of
    personality change and continuity revealed
    consistency in rankings within a group
  • The person who tends to be extraverted as a young
    adult is likely to be extraverted as an elderly
    adult, and the introvert is likely to remain
    introverted over the years
  • The adult who shows high or low levels of
    neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, or
    openness to new experiences is likely to retain
    that ranking compared with that of peers years
    later

57
The Adult Continuity and Discontinuity in
Personality
  • Studies of personality change over time find both
    continuity and discontinuity in personality
    during adulthood
  • There is a good deal of cross-age consistency in
    personality
  • Example the person who tends to be extraverted
    as a young adult is likely to be extraverted as
    an elderly adult, and the introvert is likely to
    remain introverted over the years
  • Cohort effects demonstrate that the historical
    context in which people grow up affects their
    personality development

58
The Adult Continuity and Discontinuity in
Personality
  • Personality growth from adolescence to middle
    adulthood is highlighted by less excitement
    seeking and openness to experience but more
    maturity (emotional stability, conscientiousness,
    and agreeableness)
  • There is little personality change from middle
    adulthood to later adulthood except for decreased
    activity level and openness to experience and
    increased agreeableness

59
The Adult Continuity and Discontinuity in
Personality
  • What makes a personality stable over the
    lifespan?
  • Heredity
  • Genes contribute to individual differences in all
    five of the Big Five personality factors
  • Lasting effects of childhood experiences
  • Stable environments
  • Gene-environment correlations
  • Our genetic endowment may influence the kinds of
    experiences we have, and those experiences, in
    turn, may strengthen our genetically based
    predispositions

60
The Adult Continuity and Discontinuity in
Personality
  • What causes changes in personality over the
    lifespan?
  • Biological factors
  • Diseases that cause nervous system deterioration
    can cause moodiness, irritability, and
    irresponsibility
  • Changes in the environment
  • Poor fit between person and environment

61
Learning Objectives
  • What is the focus of each of Eriksons
    psychosocial stages?
  • What factors can influence how each crisis is
    resolved?

62
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63
The Adult Eriksonian Psychosocial Growth
  • According to Erikson, both maturational forces
    and social demands push humans through eight
    psychosocial crises
  • Later conflicts may be difficult to resolve if
    early conflicts were not resolved successfully
  • Optimal development results in the gain of a
    virtue or psychosocial strength

64
The Adult Eriksonian Psychosocial Growth
  • The path to adulthood
  • Trust vs. mistrust
  • Autonomy vs. shame and doubt
  • Initiative vs. guilt
  • Industry vs. inferiority
  • Identity vs. role confusion
  • Intimacy vs. isolation
  • Generativity vs. stagnation
  • Integrity vs. despair

65
The Adult Eriksonian Psychosocial Growth
  • Trust vs. mistrust
  • Infants learn to trust others if their caregivers
    are responsive to their needs
  • Autonomy vs. shame and doubt
  • Toddlers acquire a sense of themselves as
    individuals
  • Initiative vs. guilt
  • Preschoolers develop a sense of purpose and take
    pride in accomplishments

66
The Adult Eriksonian Psychosocial Growth
  • Industry vs. inferiority
  • Elementary school children focus on mastering
    important skills and on evaluating their
    competencies
  • Identity vs. role confusion
  • The adolescent integrates separate aspects of the
    self-concept into a coherent sense of self.

67
The Adult Eriksonian Psychosocial Growth
  • Intimacy vs. isolation
  • Commitment to a shared identity with another
    person
  • Generativity vs. stagnation
  • The capacity to produce something that outlives
    you and to care about the welfare of future
    generations

68
The Adult Eriksonian Psychosocial Growth
  • Integrity vs. despair
  • Finding a sense of meaning in life that will
    enable facing the inevitability of death
  • A sense of integrity is related to a high sense
    of psychological well-being and low levels of
    depression or despair

69
The Adult Eriksonian Psychosocial Growth
  • Butler (1963) proposed that older adults engage
    in a process called life review
  • A reflection on unresolved conflicts of the past
    in order to come to terms with themselves, find
    new meaning and coherence in life, and prepare
    for death
  • Researchers find that elders who engage in life
    review display a stronger sense of integrity and
    better overall adjustment and well-being than
    those who do not reminisce much and those who
    mainly stew about unresolved regrets

70
The Adult Midlife Crisis?
  • Daniel Levinson (1986, 1996) proposed a stage
    theory of adulthood
  • Based on interviews with 40 men
  • Suggested that adults build a life structure, or
    pattern of living, that is altered during
    transition periods approximately every 7 years
  • The transition period from age 40 to age 45 is a
    time of midlife crisis
  • A person questions his life structure and
    questions where he has been and where he is going
  • Researchers find little support for Levinsons
    claim that most adults experience a genuine
    crisis in their early 40s

71
Learning Objectives
  • How do career paths change during adulthood?
  • How do adults cope with age-related changes that
    affect their working selves?
  • How are older adults influenced by retirement?
  • How can we characterize successful aging?

72
The Adult Vocational Development and Adjustment
  • According to Phillips research (1982), from age
    21 to age 36, young adults progressed from
    wide-open exploration of different career
    possibilities to tentative or trial commitments
    to a stabilization of their choices
  • Adults often reach the peaks of their careers in
    their 40s
  • Job performance is consistently correlated with
    the Big Five dimensions of conscientiousness,
    extraversion, and emotional stability

73
The Adult Vocational Development and Adjustment
  • Personenvironment fit is critical to work
    performance
  • People tend to perform poorly and become open to
    changing jobs when there is poor fit between
    their personality and aptitudes and the demands
    of their job or workplace

74
The Adult Vocational Development and Adjustment
  • Why do U.S. women earn about 80 cents for every
    dollar men earn?
  • Traditional gender-role norms have prompted many
    women to subordinate career goals to family goals
  • Earnings are affected by interruptions for
    childbearing, reduced hours, relocations, or
    deferred promotions
  • Workplace discrimination against women
  • Traditionally female jobs pay less than male
    jobs, even when the intellectual demands of the
    work are equal
  • Women who enter jobs with the same management
    degrees and salaries as men, and receive equal
    performance ratings, still do not rise as far in
    the organization or earn as much as their male
    peers
  • Women earn about 20 less than men, even
    controlling for the tendency of women to work
    less, step out of the workforce more, and enter
    lower-paying occupations

75
The Adult Vocational Development and Adjustment
  • According to studies on aging workers
  • The job performance of workers in their 50s and
    60s is largely similar overall to that of younger
    workers
  • Age was largely unrelated to quality of task
    performance and creativity on the job
  • Older workers outperformed younger workers in
    areas such as good citizenship and safety and had
    fewer problems with counterproductive behavior,
    aggression, substance use on the job, tardiness,
    and absenteeism
  • Older workers did not perform as well in training
    programs, possibly because many of them involved
    computer technology

76
The Adult Vocational Development and Adjustment
  • Aging workers may be able to maintain job
    performance because they use selective
    optimization with compensation to cope with aging
  • Selection focus on a limited set of goals and
    the skills most needed to achieve them
  • Optimization practice those skills to keep them
    sharp
  • Compensation develop ways around the need for
    other skills

77
The Adult Vocational Development and Adjustment
  • In the U.S., roughly half of adults are out of
    the labor force by age 62-64, two thirds are out
    by age 65-69, and about 90 are out by age 70 or
    older
  • Since the 1960s, the average age of retirement
    has dropped from over 67 to 62
  • Appears to be increasing as retiring baby boomers
    find that they need to continue working for
    financial reasons and as the age of eligibility
    for full Social Security benefits increases

78
The Adult Vocational Development and Adjustment
  • Some workers retire all at once
  • For others, retirement is a process that plays
    out over a number of years
  • May retire gradually, cutting back work hours,
    taking part-time bridge jobs, cycling in and
    out of retirement several times
  • Retiring workers face two challenges
  • Adjusting to the loss of their work role
  • Developing a satisfying, meaningful lifestyle in
    retirement

79
The Adult Vocational Development and Adjustment
  • Atchley (1976) proposed that adults transition
    from worker to retiree in phases
  • Preretirement phase gather information, talk
    about retirement, plan for the future
  • Honeymoon phase enjoy the newfound freedom
  • Disenchantment phase feel aimless, possibly
    unhappy as the novelty wears off
  • Reorientation phase begin to put together a
    realistic and satisfying lifestyle

80
The Adult Vocational Development and Adjustment
  • Favorable adjustment to retirement is associated
    with
  • Voluntary rather than involuntary retirement
  • Good physical and mental health
  • Financial resources to live comfortably
  • Marriage or strong social support

81
The Adult Vocational Development and Adjustment
  • Women face challenges in their adjustment to
    retirement
  • May feel pressured to retire if their husbands
    retire or develop health problems
  • Have moved in and out of the workforce more and
    have not earned as much as men and therefore
    often find themselves with no pension and an
    inadequate income in retirement
  • Are likely to outlive their husbands and end up
    living alone

82
The Adult Personality and Successful Aging
  • Theories of successful aging offer insight to
    successful retirement and happy, fulfilling old
    age
  • Activity theory suggests that aging adults will
    find their lives satisfying to the extent that
    they can maintain their previous lifestyles and
    activity levels, either by continuing old
    activities or by finding substitutes (for
    example, by replacing work with hobbies,
    volunteer work, or other stimulating pursuits)
  • According to this view, psychological needs do
    not really change as people enter old age most
    aging individuals continue to want an active
    lifestyle

83
The Adult Personality and Successful Aging
  • Disengagement theory suggests that successful
    aging involves a withdrawal of the aging
    individual from society that is satisfying to
    both parties the individual and society
  • Because the aging individual has needs that are
    different from those she once had, she seeks to
    leave old roles behind and to reduce activity
  • Meanwhile, society both encourages and benefits
    from the older persons disengagement, which
    makes room for the younger generation
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