Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 99–112 | Cite as

The relations of generative concern and generative action to personality traits, satisfaction/happiness with life, and ego development

  • Ed de St. Aubin
  • Dan P. McAdams


This research examined the relations that generative concern and generative action have to personality traits, satisfaction/happiness with life, and ego development. Generative concern is a general personality tendency or interest in caring for younger and anticipated individuals, while generative action addresses actual physical behaviors that promote the well-being of future generations. Two samples (79 and 152 adults) were employed. Generative concern scores were significantly related to scores for extraversion, openness, emotional stability (non-neuroticism), and agreeableness as well as to two agentic traits (achievement, dominance) and two communal traits (affiliation, nurturance). Generative action was significantly related to extraversion and openness. Generative concern but not generative action was found, as predicted, to be positively related to one's life satisfaction/happiness. Further, one's level of ego development determined, in part, the relation that generative concern had to satisfaction/happiness with life. Given that a subject scored high in ego development, his or her level of satisfaction/happiness varied as a function of generative concern such that those who scored low on generative concern were significantly less satisfied/happy than those that scored high on generative concern. The results are discussed within the context of the recently proposed theory of generativity.

Key words

Generativity adult personality ego development satisfaction with life 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ed de St. Aubin
    • 2
  • Dan P. McAdams
    • 1
  1. 1.Northwestern UniversityEvanston
  2. 2.Human DevelopmentUniversity of Wisconsin—Green BayGreen Bay

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