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date: 17 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses the development of generativity, Erikson’s conception of the midlife strength in his eight-stage model of personality development. Following Erikson, the authors define generativity as care for next generations and set it in the context of both personality theory and life span development. Specifically, the authors draw on the framework of McAdams that characterizes personality as composed of three sequentially developing levels: actions, goals/motives, and the narrative life story (a mature form of narrative that provides the self with a sense of meaning and identity). The authors then review research on generativity as expressed from adolescence to later adulthood, which indicates that it is a relevant construct across this entire period in a variety of life domains. They also consider factors influencing generativity levels, including family background and cultural variations. Throughout the chapter, the authors consider the connections of generativity to morality across different facets of personality and stages of the adult life span.

Keywords: personality stages, personality levels, generative actions, generative concern, life span development, the life story, prosocial morality

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