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Chapter 8

Adult Development Chapter 8 textbook notes

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PSY 402
Tara M Burke

Personality Chapter 8 Psychodynamic Perspective • Sigmund Freud … • Credited with discovering the “unconscious” mind • Played an important role drawing attention to unobservable parts of personality • Many theories of adult development and personality are based on psychodynamic perspective According to Freud… • Personality does not change after early childhood • By the time the individual reaches adolescence, there are few substantive changes • As a result, therapy would not be beneficial after the age of 50 Psychodynamic Perspective • Id: the deepest part of the unconscious mind, and seeks fulfillment of desires • The Id is kept in check by the EGO. • EGO – the structure in personality most accessible to conscious awareness (rational) • To protect the individual from knowledge of the Id’s unacceptable impulses, the ego uses defense mechanisms Defense Mechanisms • According to Freud – defense mechanisms were necessary to allow individual to function with a minimum of anxiety • For many current psychologists who operate from a psychodynamic position, the most important component of personality is the ego • Ego equivalent to the conscious mind Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory • Theory proposes there are eight crisis stages in the maturation of the ego. • Epigenetic Principle: each psychosocial strength has its own special time of ascendancy (period of particular importance) • Present and future behaviours have roots in the past (e.g., healthy personality is a sense of trust toward oneself and others – trust vs. mistrust) Rochester Adult Longitudinal Study 1  Two cohorts:  1946 first tested in 1966–67, n = 349  1957 first tested in 1977–78, n = 299  Four follow-ups 11 years apart, latest follow-up, 2000–02, (n’s = 182 and 136)  Inventory of Psychosocial Development (IPD): 80-item questionnaire measuring each of the eight Eriksonian issues  Family–work history questionnaire administered at each follow-up RALS results • Results showed consistency of age changes (e.g., most in college and early adults were in the identity vs. identity diffusion stage • Oldest group continued to show gains in such areas of identity and intimacy – but gains occurred at a slower rate • Personality development was evident at all stages Five pathways through adulthood Authentic road: Achieved solid identity commitments through exploration and change Triumphant trail: Overcomes challenges - Is resilient Straight and narrow: Maintains consistent life pattern - Is defensive about change Meandering way: Fails to settle on a course in life - Constantly searches for identity Downward slope: Shows self-defeating behavior - Makes poor decisions Loevinger’s Ego Development Theory • Loevinger defined the ego as the structure within personality that attempts to synthesize, master, and interpret experiences • Ego involves the ability to regulate impulses, relate to others, achieve self-understanding, and think about experiences Loevinger’s Ego Development Theory • The development of the ego proceeds in a series of stages that move from lower to higher levels in these characteristics • An important aspect of her theory is that most people never go through all of them. Research suggests that these stages are age related Sentence Completion Test, provides a measure of ego development . The measure consists of sentence fragments 2 Stages in Loevinger’s (1976) theory Stage Description 1. Conformist Very basic understanding of self, others, and reasons for following society’s rules • Obedience to external social rules 2. Conscientious- People start to have an internalized sense of right and wrong (aware of Conformist own motives) • Separation from norms; realization that acts affects others 3. Conscientious People develop a true conscience • Beginning of self-evaluation 4. Individualistic An appreciation and respect for individuality emerges • Process of acting is more important than the outcome 5. Autonomous Recognize and appreciate the complexities of their own behavior and that of others • Respect for individuality, tolerance for ambiguity 6 Integrated Clear sense of self • Resolution of inner conflicts (reached by few) Vaillant’s Theory of Defense Mechanisms • Vaillant emphasizes the development of defense mechanisms over the course of adulthood • These are intended to help protect the conscious mind from knowing about unconscious desires • Strategies that people use as protection against morally unacceptable urges and desires For categories of defense mechanisms and examples see Table 8.2 in your textbook Vaillant 1993 Study ofAdult Development Examined the defense mechanisms in 3 samples: • Harvard Grant Study (Harvard undergraduates; began in 1938) • Core City Sample (socioeconomically and racially different) • Women from a study originally focused on gifted children) • Positive relationship between maturity of defense mechanisms and various various outcome measures (e.g., stable marriages, antisocial behavior) • Core City men who used immature defenses (i.e., acting out) were more likely to experience alcohol problems, unstable marriages, and antisocial behavior. • Use of immature defense mechanisms becomes rarer with age 3 • Women more likely to exhibit self blame, and men more likely to externalize Adult Attachment Theory • Attachment style: term to describe the way that people relate to their primary attachment figure. In adulthood, this figure shifts from mothers (or other caregivers) to romantic partners • Secure attachment: not angry by mother’s temporary departure, seeks contact when mother returns • Avoidant attachment: resist contact with mother upon her return • Anxious attachment (anxious-ambivalent): appears to want to make contact with mother but rejects he Attachment Style Theory Internal working model: • Attachment has its effect on a person’s sense of self • The child has a mental representation of relations with the mother and this sets the stage for how the child will later come to view relations with others, including romantic partners. • Insecurely attached people may continue to experience relationship difficulties in adulthood Attachment Style and Older Adults • The few studies on attachment in older adults suggest older adults are better able to manage situations involving close relationships with others • Older adults are also less likely to experience anxious types of attachment in comparison to younger adults • Why? Personality: Five Factor Model Costa & McCrae proposed five major dimensions of personality called the “Five Factor Model” or “Big Five” Factors: Openness to Experience Conscientiousness Extraversion Agreeableness Neurotism Personality: Five Factor Model – see Figure 8.5 4 • Openness to experience: (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious). • Appreciation for art, curious, and preference for novelty (debate – does this reflect intellect rather than openness to experience • Conscientiousness: (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless). • Tendency to show self-discipline, planned rather than spontaneous, and dependable • Extraversion: (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved). • Energy, positive emotions, sociable, talkative • Agreeableness: (friendly/compassionate vs. cold/unkind). • tendency to be compassionate and cooperative vs. suspicious. • Neuroticism: (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident). • Tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily (i.e., anger, anxiety, depression). Degree of emotional stability and impulse control Is Neuroticism Good for You? Neuroticism is usually thought to be dangerous (e.g., worrier, on the edge) • According to the FFM our personalities can best be profiled along the dimensions
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