Personality in the life course.
Using elements borrowed from psychology, sociology, and history, this article outlines a conceptual framework for the analysis of personality in the life course. It is proposed that the interactional framework toward which personality psychology aspires may be conceived of as a sequence of interactions of personality with age-graded roles and social transitions in historically changing environments. To the extent that one can (a) identify the age-graded role paths in the social structure, (b) select the age-relevant situations in which these roles are enacted, and (c) identify measures relevant to the culture pattern across these age-relevant situations, it should be possible to uncover the coherence of personality--ways of approaching and responding to the world--across time and in diverse situations. Each of these steps is delineated and then illustrated with a longitudinal study of explosive, undercontrolled children. This is not an effort to articulate a theory of personality development but to outline the parameters of social life--temporal and situational--to which personality research should attend.
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