Linda G George

University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States

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Publications (3)12.15 Total impact

  • Linda G George · Ravenna Helson · Oliver P John
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    ABSTRACT: Few long-term longitudinal studies have examined how dimensions of personality are related to work lives, especially in women. We propose a life-course framework for studying work over time, from preparatory activities (in the 20s) to descending work involvement (after age 60), using 50 years of life data from the women in the Mills Longitudinal Study. We hypothesized differential work effects for Extraversion (work as pursuit of rewards), Openness (work as self-actualization), and Conscientiousness (work as duty) and measured these 3 traits as predictor variables when the women were still in college. In a prospective longitudinal design, we then studied how these traits predicted the women's subsequent work lives from young adulthood to age 70 and how these effects depended on the changing sociocultural context. Specifically, the young adulthood of the Mills women in the mid-1960s was rigidly gender typed and family oriented; neither work nor education variables at that time were predicted from earlier personality traits. However, as women's roles changed, later work variables became related to all 3 traits, as expected from current Big Five theory and research. For example, early personality traits predicted the timing of involvement in work, the kinds of jobs chosen, and the status and satisfaction achieved, as well as continued work participation and financial security in late adulthood. Early traits were also linked to specific cultural influences, such as the traditional feminine role, the women's movement, and graduate education for careers.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2011 · Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
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    ABSTRACT: Four experiments explored whether 2 uniquely human characteristics-counterfactual thinking (imagining alternatives to the past) and the fundamental drive to create meaning in life-are causally related. Rather than implying a random quality to life, the authors hypothesized and found that counterfactual thinking heightens the meaningfulness of key life experiences. Reflecting on alternative pathways to pivotal turning points even produced greater meaning than directly reflecting on the meaning of the event itself. Fate perceptions ("it was meant to be") and benefit-finding (recognition of positive consequences) were identified as independent causal links between counterfactual thinking and the construction of meaning. Through counterfactual reflection, the upsides to reality are identified, a belief in fate emerges, and ultimately more meaning is derived from important life events.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2010 · Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
  • Ravenna M. Helson · Linda G. George · Oliver P. John
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    ABSTRACT: We studied subjective well-being (SWB) as a dynamic system, focusing on change processes in women who faced mid-life challenges of poor health. To examine both general and age-specific effects, we focused on two groups of ill women and compared each of them to healthy controls: the early-onset ill experienced their health challenge at 52 (i.e., normatively early) and the late-onset ill later at 61. Our 20-year longitudinal design combined quantitative and idiographic life data, testing hypotheses about frequent handicaps of ill people, how SWB can be recovered, and how the nature of stresses and recovery processes varies with period of life. Results suggest that processes of aging and development helped the early-onset ill to overcome handicaps through emphasis on generativity and the late-onset ill to regain involvement in life.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2009 · Journal of Research in Personality