Personality and Family Development: An Intergenerational Longitudinal Comparison

Personality and Family Development: An Intergenerational Longitudinal Comparison

Personality and Family Development: An Intergenerational Longitudinal Comparison

Personality and Family Development: An Intergenerational Longitudinal Comparison

Synopsis

This unique volume presents the results of a study of 200 German families over a period of 16 years from 1976 to 1992. This study--the findings of which yield a host of new insights into the dynamics of cross-generational personality and family development--is based on an ecopsychological framework comprising four levels of developmental analyses:

individual level--personality development, critical life events, and corresponding coping strategies;

dyadic relationships level--changes in parent-child relationships across time and development of marital relationships;

family relationship level--development of family climate and its impact on current dyadic relationships; and

contextual/ecological level--perceived changes in societal conditions, corresponding patterns of personality and coping strategies.

The authors focus on the important ideas and keep methodological details to a minimum in the text. Technical issues having to do with data analysis, etc., are discussed in an appendix.

Excerpt

The early 1970s-a time marked by, among other things, student unrest in Germany-was also a period of crisis and criticism for the model of the "bourgeois family." It came to be viewed as a stronghold of repression and a contributory factor in the stabilization of undesirable societal attitudes. However, most such claims were based more on subjective beliefs than on the findings of solid empirical research. In this respect, Klaus Schneewind's project on "Parent-Child Relations" represented an important scientific contribution to the discussion, particularly through its focus on the role of societal conditions in family life and their impact on individual development. The GfK Nuremberg (Association for Consumer and Market Research) was able to help make this project possible.

In line with the commitment to basic research laid down in our constitution, in 1991 we asked Klaus Schneewind whether he would be prepared to follow up this study. This seemed to be a good idea because we still had addresses for the 570 West German families surveyed in 1976. To our great delight, Dr. Schneewind and his colleague Stefan Ruppert accepted. We supported the project with funding, personnel, and translation costs, and we are pleased to see it culminate in this book.

We hope that the results of this study, which is probably the only research project of its kind in the world, will be positively received, not just in the scientific forum, but also among the general public.

Robert Radler GfK Nuremberg Association for Consumer and Market Research . . .

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