Changes in Culture, Changes in Personality: The Influence of Individualism in a Longitudinal Study of Women

Brent W. Roberts, Ravenna Helson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The influence of increasing individualism in U.S. culture on personality development was investigated with an index recently developed by H. Gough (1991) that traces changes in individualism from 1950 to 1985. Seventy-seven women followed from 1958 to 1989 (assessed at ages 21, 27, 43, and 52) showed increases on the index of individualism that paralleled changes in large cross-sectional samples over the same period. Increases on the individualism index were associated with increases in self-focus (narcissism) and decreases in norm adherence. Increases over the long middle period (1963-1964 to 1981), when the largest change occurred, were predicted by college-age measures of ego strength and adjustment and showed a positive relation to psychosocial and physical health at age 43. Increases in individualism may have helped women respond to radical changes in women's roles during the late 1960s and 1970s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-651
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume72
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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