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MIDUS

work as a context for adult development

Work is central in the lives of adults. The “Work as a Context for Adult Development” project utilized data from the first wave of Midlife in the United States: A National Study of Health & Well-being (MIDUS) to investigate the relationships among personality, job characteristics, and well-being for employees of different ages. Specifically, this study tested whether personality moderates the relationship between job characteristics and well-being and how that may vary based on employees’ ages. Age was measured as young (25-39), midlife (40-49) and, older (50-74). Personality was found to moderate the relationship between job characteristics and well-being only minimally and that differed by age group.

key research questions

This study addresses three questions:

  • Do personality and job characteristics predict well-being?
  • Does personality moderate the relationship between job characteristics and well-being?
  • Does this relationship vary by age?

selected findings

  • Both personality and job characteristics predict well-being for all age groups.
  • The specific job characteristics that predicted the different factors of well-being varied by age. For example, skill discretion predicted self-acceptance for the young and older age groups but not for the midlife age group.
  • Personality moderated the relationship between job characteristics and well-being only minimally and that varied by age group. For example, agreeableness moderated the relationship between job demands and positive relationship with others for the young age group but not for the midlife and older age groups.

publications

Besen, E., Smyer, M., & Matz-Costa, C. (2008, August). Work as a Context for Adult Development: Insights from the MIDUS. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Boston, MA.

contact

For questions of information regarding MIDUS, or to schedule a conversation with any of the Center’s team, please contact:

617-552-9195 | agework@bc.edu

 

midus team

Elyssa Besen, PhD
Research Scientist
Center for Disability Research, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety
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Christina Matz-Costa, MSW, PhD
Senior Research Associate
Sloan Center on Aging & Work, Boston College
Assistant Professor
Graduate School of Social Work at Boston College
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Michael Smyer, PhD
Research Fellow
Sloan Center on Aging and Work, Boston College
Provost
Bucknell University
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