Understanding Personality

Understanding Personality


Phase1: Focus on Change: The Kansas City Studies of AdultLife&nbspDisengagementTheory&nbsp

Accordingto this theory, the basis is on the loss of roles and energy amongthe old and this is because of age (Henry, 2013). The aging ofindividuals makes individuals want to be leveraged from their socialexpectations to be productive and competitive in the society. Inapplying the theory in the set-up of “The Kansas City Studies ofAdult Life” it emerges that as individuals grow old they remainlonely. While doing the study that had 159 respondents to begin with,at the end only 88 were present and this was because some preferredto move or quit the study. According to the model advanced by Cummingand Henry there is a major shift in interaction that occurs asindividuals age. However, the theory has new benefits as well as itgives individuals new roles. In working set up especiallyindustrialized nations, disengagement ensures that individuals whoseskills have been outdated due to aging leave workplace. Ultimately,full disengagement frees an individual to die.


Thistheory attempted to explain the manner in which the older adultsadjust to various age-related changes like retirement, poor health,and even loss of roles. As Henry (2013) puts it, the study was basedmainly on the analyses by Robert Havighurst of the Kansas CityStudies of Life. According to this theory, the more activityindividuals get in, the greater is the satisfaction that they derivefrom life. There is aspect of self-concept that emerges which isrelated to roles and individuals have to be in a position to replacethe older roles with new ones to remain active. Criticismsand Current Issues

Manyhave criticized the disengagement theory. First, disengagements occurthough among the oldest segment of society, persons above 85 years.Additionally, the has been critics on the sample studied which in theview of other authors was driven from urban areas and this would notappropriately inform the results as it was function of urban setting(Henry, 2013).

Critiqueson the activity theory suggest that this theory just like thedisengagement theory is just prescriptive in nature. Just offerspiece of advice on the activities to do and not how well to age.Additionally, the levels of activity significant for positive agingare under question. Phase2: Focus on Stability: Costa and McCrae’s Big Five Traits&nbspBigFive Traits&nbsp

Accordingto this aspect in psychology, there exist five basic dimensions ofpersonality and these are often referred to as “Big 5”personality traits. The five broad personality traits includeopenness, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, andextraversion (Vachon et al., 2013). This model is responsible fordifferent personality traits without overlapping and they haveportrayed consistency in the different researches. Further, thestructure is found in different range of participants of differentages and cultures (Vachon et al., 2013). Criticismsand Current Issues

Someof the criticisms of the theory is that there is limited scope giventhat it is explanatory theory. The Big Five does not explicitlyexplain all of human personality. The methodology for identificationof the dimensional structure of personality trait and factor analysishas been a subject of debate (Vachon et al., 2013). Also, it isargued that Big Five is merely data driven and not theory driven.

Phase3: Focus on Change: Exploring Life Stories, Goals, Priorities, andHopes&nbspMcAdamsand Generativist&nbsp

Accordingto the McAdams generativity is known to be complicated psychologicalconstruct which is expressed through the demand of the society,beliefs of individuals, commitments, the conscious concerns ofpersons and behaviors (Singer et al., 2013)Markusand Self-Schemas

Accordingto Markus and his theory on self-schema, the manner in whichindividuals organized information about themselves, thegeneralizations that people made based on their experiences mainlyorganizes and guides the manner in which individuals selectinformation concerning them (Singer et al., 2013. Further, theseconstructs reflect on what individuals think about, care about andtheir time and energy on.

Carstensen’sSocio-emotional Selectivity Theory

Accordingto the theory as individuals get older, their friends and familymember become friendly (Hicks et al., 2012). Thus, time is criticalfor individuals in accordance to this theory as time determines thepursuant of social goals. When time is seen to be open-ended, theknowledge related goals are prioritized however, when time islimited, then emotional goals take primacy (Hicks et al., 2012).However, the social goals of persons changes with age and differsfrom young and old even when time is malleable.


Henry,W. E. (2013). Toward a theory of adult development.&nbspContributionsto the Psychobiology of Aging,19.

Hicks,J. A., Trent, J., Davis, W. E., &amp King, L. A. (2012). Positiveaffect, meaning in life, and future time perspective: an applicationof socioemotional selectivity theory.&nbspPsychologyand aging,&nbsp27(1),181.

Singer,J. A., Blagov, P., Berry, M., &amp Oost, K. M. (2013). Self‐DefiningMemories, Scripts, and the Life Story: Narrative Identity inPersonality and Psychotherapy.&nbspJournalof personality,&nbsp81(6),569-582.

Vachon,D. D., Lynam, D. R., Widiger, T. A., Miller, J. D., McCrae, R. R., &ampCosta, P. T. (2013). Basic Traits Predict the Prevalence ofPersonality Disorder Across the Life Span The Example ofPsychopathy.&nbspPsychologicalscience,24(5),698-705.