The Personality of Young Adult Couples and Wives' Work Patterns

Ravenna Helson, Brent Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


ABSTRACT The influence of personality in 63 couples at the time of family formation on wives' work patterns 15 years later was examined in variable‐centered and person/couple‐centered ways. Four factor dimensions on the Adjective Check List assessed personality. Work patterns were assessed with measures of type, amount, and status of work and with schematic work narratives describing characters and plots abstracted from wives' mid‐life data. Hierarchical regression analyses showed individuality of husbands to affect work outcomes after wives' college‐age goals, their young adult personality, and the duration of marriages were taken into account. Conjoint high‐low patterns of individuality in 34 couples were associated with different schematic work stories. These stories show distinctive personality and relational correlates at age 27. They flesh out and qualify hypotheses that individualistic partners would be open to women's careers and would show revealing strategies of combining self‐ and other interests in the transition to parenthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-597
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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