Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 173–182 | Cite as

Measuring Prosocial Attitudes for Future Generations: The Social Generativity Scale

  • Davide Morselli
  • Stefano Passini


Erik Erikson’s theory of human development defines generativity as the concern for the continuation of life after an individual’s death. According to the theory, such a concern has a wide spectrum that ranges from the desire to procreate to the willingness to contribute for the sake of generations that have yet to come, and is thus closely related to concepts of social responsibility and agency. Although this is a well-known aspect of the theory it is only marginally measured in the common quantitative measures of generativity—e.g. the Loyola Generativity Scale. In this study we present the Social Generativity Scale (SGS), which is focused on responsibility for future generation. Correlational analysis showed that the SGS is more consistently linked to future orientation than other generativity measures (i.e. measured with consideration of future consequences), inclusiveness, and political engagement, and negatively related to social dominance orientation and prejudice. The results suggest that the SGS better captures the social responsibility dimension of the generativity concept than previous measures, and for this reason it is complementary to those scales that comprehend generativity as the concern for personal continuation after death and desire of parenting.


Generativity Future time orientation Inclusion Social responsibility 



This manuscript has been developed within the framework of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES, which is financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The authors are grateful to the Swiss National Science Foundation for its financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research LIVESUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.University of BolognaBolognaItaly

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