Advertisement

Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 155–163 | Cite as

Men’s and Women’s Change and Individual Differences in Change in Femininity from Age 33 to 85: Results from the Intergenerational Studies

  • Constance J. Jones
  • Harvey Peskin
  • Norm Livson
Article

Abstract

This investigation illustrates men’s and women’s change in femininity, and individual differences in change in femininity from early (age 33 or 35) to late (age 78 or 85) adulthood. Members of three long-term longitudinal samples (total N = 327) provided California Psychological Inventory (CPI) Femininity scale scores, collected a maximum of five times. Application of longitudinal hierarchical linear modeling indicates: (1) both men and women show significant variability in initial level and change in femininity, (2) gender predicts both individuals’ initial level and change in femininity—the average man, initially low in femininity, becomes significantly higher in femininity across the lifespan; the average woman, initially high in femininity, becomes significantly lower in femininity across the lifespan, (3) change in femininity is unconnected to marital or parental status, and (4) change in femininity is connected to psychological health level for women only—more psychologically healthy women show a decline in femininity, while less healthy women increase their femininity level. Overall, results support Jung’s androgyny hypothesis of a cross-over of gender roles in men and women, but do not support Gutmann’s hypothesis that such cross-over is tied to “parental emergency.” Additional exploration of the data indicates Gough and Bradley’s (1996) CPI-derived personality types also predict femininity initial level for women and femininity change for men.

Keywords

Femininity California Psychological Inventory Jung Gutmann Hierarchical linear Modeling 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Thanks to the Institute of Human Development, University of California, Berkeley for access to its archival data and to anonymous reviewers as well as Carolyn Aldwin, Ravenna Helson, Robert Levine, and Lynnette Zelezny for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper. This research was supported by funds given to the first author from National Institute on Aging grant R03 AG17280-01 and College of Science and Mathematics, California State University, Fresno.

References

  1. Alder, A. G., & Scher, S. J. (1994). Using growth curve analyses to assess personality change and stability in adulthood. In T. F. Heatherton & J. L. Weinberger (Eds.), Can personality change? (pp. 149–173). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baltes, P. B., Reese, H. W., & Nesselroade, J. R. (1977). Life-span developmental psychology: Introduction to research methods. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, Inc.Google Scholar
  3. Bateson, M. C. (2001). Composing a life. Jackson, TN: Grove Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bem, S. L. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42, 155–162.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Block, J., & Block, J. H. (2006). Venturing a 30-year longitudinal study. American Psychologist, 61, 315–327.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bryk, A. S., & Raudenbush, S. W. (1992). Hierarchical linear models: Application and data analysis methods. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  7. Clausen, J. (1993). American lives: Looking back at the children of the Great Depression. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  8. Eagly, A. H. (1995). The science and politics of comparing men and women. American Psychologist, 50, 145–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Eichorn, D. H. (1981). Samples and procedures. In D. H. Eichorn, J. A. Clausen, N. Haan, M. P. Honzik, & P. H. Mussen (Eds.), Present and past in middle life (pp. 33–51). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  10. Elder, G. H. (1974). Children of the Great Depression. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  11. Frank, S. J., Towel, P. A., & Huyck, M. (1985). The effects of sex-role traits on three aspects of psychological well-being in a sample of middle-aged women. Sex Roles, 12, 1073–1087.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Friedan, B. (1963). The feminine mystique. New York: Norton Press.Google Scholar
  13. Gough, H. G., & Bradley, P. (1996). CPI manual (3rd ed.). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
  14. Groth-Marnat, G. (1984). Handbook of psychological assessment. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.Google Scholar
  15. Gutmann, D. (1994). Reclaimed powers: Toward a new psychology of men and women in later life. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Helgeson, V. S. (1994). Relation of agency and communion to well-being: Evidence and potential explanations. Psychological Bulletin, 116, 412–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Helson, R., Jones, C., & Kwan, V. (2002). Personality change over 40 years of adulthood: Hierarchical linear modeling analyses of two longitudinal samples. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 752–766.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Helson, R., & Moane, G. (1987). Personality change in women from college to midlife. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 176–186.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Helson, R., & Wink, P. (1992). Personality change in women from the early 40s to the early 50s. Psychology and Aging, 7, 46–55.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Huyck, M. H. (1999). Gender roles and gender identity in midlife. In S. L. Willis & J. D. Reid (Eds.), Life in the middle (pp. 209–232). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Huyck, M. H., & Gutmann, D. (1999). Developmental issues in psychotherapy with older men. In M. Duffy (Ed.), Handbook of counseling and psychotherapy with older adults (pp. 77–90). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  22. Jones, C., Livson, N., & Peskin, H. (2003). Longitudinal hierarchical linear modeling analyses of California Psychological Inventory data from age 33 to 75: An examination of change and stability in adult personality. Journal of Personality Assessment, 80, 294–308.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jung, C. (1933). The stages of life. In C. Jung (Ed.), Modern man in search of a soul. New York: Harcourt, Brace, & World.Google Scholar
  24. Koestner, R., & Aubé, J. (1995). A multi-factorial approach to the study of gender characteristics. Journal of Personality, 63, 681–710.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lieberman, M., & Peskin, H. (1992). Adult life crises. In G. D. Cohen, R. B. Sloane, B. D. Lebowitz, D. E. Deutchman, M. Wykle, N. R. Hooyman, & J. E. Birren (Eds.), Handbook of mental health and aging (pp. 120–143). San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  26. Lippa, R. A. (2002). Gender, nature, and nurture. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  27. Peskin, H. (1998). Uses of the past in adult psychological health: Objective, historical, and narrative realities. In J. Lomranz (Ed.), Handbook of aging and mental health (pp. 297–318). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  28. Roberts, B. W., Helson, R., & Klohnen, E. C. (2002). Personality development and growth in women across 30 years: Three perspectives. Journal of Personality, 70, 79–102.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rogler, L. H. (2002). Historical generations and psychology: The case of the Great Depression and World War II. American Psychologist, 57, 1013–1023.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rutter, M., Maughan, B., Pickles, A., & Simonoff, E. (1998). Retrospective recall recalled. In R. B. Cairns, L. R. Bergman, & J. Kagan (Eds.), Methods and models for studying the individual (pp. 219–242). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  31. Saragovi, C., Koestner, R., Di Dio, L., & Aubé, J. (1997). Agency, communion, and well-being: Extending Helgeson’s (1994) model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 593–609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Spence, J. T. (1993). Gender-related traits and gender ideology: Evidence for a multi-factorial theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 624–635.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Spence, J. T., & Helmreich, R. L. (1978). Masculinity and femininity. Austin University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  34. Stewart, A. J., Ostrove, J. M., & Helson, R. (2001). Middle aging in women: Patterns of personality change from the 30s to the 50s. Journal of Adult Development, 8, 23–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Terman, L. M., & Miles, C. C. (1936). Sex and personality: Studies in masculinity and femininity. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  36. Terracciano, A., McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T., Jr. (2006). Longitudinal trajectories in Guilford-Zimmerman Temperament Survey data: Results from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 61B, P108–P116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Twenge, J. M. (1997). Changes in masculine and feminine traits over time: A meta-analysis. Sex Roles, 36, 305–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Twenge, J. M. (2001). Changes in women’s assertiveness in response to status and roles: A cross-temporal meta-analysis, 1931–1993. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 133–145.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wechsler, D. (1981). WAIS-R administration and scoring manual. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  40. Weiser, N. L., & Myers, L. S. (1993). Validity and reliability of the revised California Psychological Inventory’s Vector 3 scale. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 53, 1045–1054.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wink, P., & Helson, R. (1993). Personality change in women and their partners. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 597–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Constance J. Jones
    • 1
  • Harvey Peskin
    • 2
  • Norm Livson
    • 2
  1. 1.California State University, FresnoFresnoUSA
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

Personalised recommendations