n IFE PsychologIA : An International Journal - Analysis of changes in perceived personality dispositions across adult age groups




Human development has often been conceptualized as a life-long process characterized by changes at the different stages of the lifespan. However, the literature has given conflicting reports about personality changes after young adulthood. This study sought to investigate age-related changes in the personality dispositions of identity certainty, generativity, confident power and concern about aging which characterize individuals in adulthood. This cross-sectional study employed a sample of 504 (50.3% males) participants in three adult age groups (age range 30-78 years) selected across Lagos metropolis. In the sample 110 are early adults (39 years and below), 289 were middle adults (40-59 years) and 105 were late adults (60 years and above). Participants responded to a 'Feelings About Life Scale' which covered the four personality dispositions earlier mentioned. Results obtained indicated that individuals reported significantly higher levels of identity certainty, generativity, and concern about aging from early through middle to late adulthood. Although confident power increased steadily through the stages of adulthood, this was not remarkably so. The results were discussed within the context of existing literature on changes in personality dispositions in adulthood. It was concluded that further studies are required to extend these findings especially to explore the areas in which adults perceive themselves as having confident power and those in which they feel powerless as well as the factors that could contribute to these changes and their effects on the aging process.


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