Intergenerational transmission of generativity and stagnation within families in a society after a macrosocial change : A two-generation study


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Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

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Keywords Generativity; Stagnation; Family; Macrosocial change; Education; Personality traits
Description Intergenerational transmission of generativity is a process through which one generation passes elements of its generative potential, such as values and patterns of behavior, on to another. So far, most research on intergenerational transmission of generativity came from relatively stable societies, where the transmission process might be facilitated by the fact that adjacent generations face relatively similar socioeconomic challenges and can therefore make use of similar solutions. In contrast, our study focused on the relationships between parental and offspring characteristics in the context of a society that had undergone a major macro-social change in the past few decades, involving the downfall of the communist regime and subsequent transformation of major political, cultural, and social structures and norms. Apart from examining whether relationships between parental and offspring generative concern and action would show patterns similar to those observed in previous studies, we looked at intergenerational similarities in stagnation, which was recently redefined as a construct partly separable from generativity (Van Hiel et al. Journal of Personality, 74(2), 543–574, 2006). One hundred and twenty-three predominantly female university students and their parents completed measures of generative concern, generative action, stagnation, and Big Five personality traits. Multiple-group path analysis revealed that the structure of the relationships between generativity, stagnation and personality traits did not differ significantly between the groups of parents and offspring. Further analyses showed that parental generative concern was not related to offspring generative concern, but maternal generative action was significantly related to offspring generative action, and maternal stagnation was significantly related to offspring stagnation. The parental level of education was unrelated to offspring generativity or stagnation. These results indicate a certain degree of intergenerational continuity of generativity and stagnation, especially their behavioral components, even though the two generations in our study were raised in different socio-cultural contexts.

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