Prosocial behaviour and adolescent generativity: a question of moral orientation and parental example

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Frensch, Karen M.
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University of Guelph

The process of becoming generative may not involve a life-stage specific personality change, but the ability of an individual to respond to a social demand for other-oriented, caring behaviours. Therefore, the goal of the current study was to understand how generativity begins to manifest itself in a sample of individuals in late adolescence. Adolescents' stories of events or accomplishments that made them proud were explored for themes of generativity. Eighteen out of thirty narratives were coded as containing themes of generativity. In addition, a logistic regression was used to explore the effects of moral orientation, prosocial behaviour, gender, and parental example of generativity on predicting the presence of generative themes in adolescents' narratives. The analysis revealed that these variables explain approximately 50.5% of the variance in predicting adolescents' generative themes. The findings were interpreted within McAdams, Hart, and Maruna's (1998) conceptualization of generativity as a multifaceted construct evident in many persons at many different ages. Implications for the way in which individuals can be generative and at what age were discussed.

generativity, late adolescence, adolescents, stories, events, accomplishments, moral orientation, prosocial behaviour, gender, parental example