The Development of Personality Functioning Between Adjustment and Growth

How should we understand positive personality development across the lifespan?

Two types of positive development of personality functioning have been distinguished: adjustment and growth. The former is linked with mastering the developmental tasks and challenges as they arise across the life span as well as day-to-day hassles and maintaining one’s well-being. The latter is linked with pursuing the advancement of a greater good even if that implies jeopardizing one’s own well-being. For instance, personality dimensions like emotional stability, agreeableness and conscientiousness as well as environmental mastery and self-acceptance fall into the category of adjustment and show on average increases during the adult life span. Whereas, openness to new experience or purpose in life index personality growth and are observed much more rarely. The distinction can also be made for emotion regulation and basic life goals. In the literature, often these two types are not distinguished. Even though both types of development are positive, there is reason to study them separately.

About the lecturer

Ursula M. Staudinger is Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and Professor of Psychology at the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center at Columbia University in New York. She is a lifespan psychologist and aging researcher with a deeply interdisciplinary orientation. Her research focuses on the modifiability or plasticity of the aging process and its implications for population aging. In light of a society of longer lives, Ursula M. Staudinger explores the potentials of demographic aging and studies the interplay between productivity and aging as well as the development of life insight, life management and wisdom over the lifespan.



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Published Aug. 29, 2019 10:38 AM - Last modified Apr. 21, 2022 9:27 AM