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Effects of parenting on adult development and generativity

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2007
Karacan, Eda
This study examined Erikson’s proposition that “generativity” plays an important role in adult lives and caring for one's children is the ultimate expression of this particular developmental task. Thus, the general goal of the current study is to explore the connection between parental experiences and individual development especially generativity development in mid-adulthood within both qualitative and quantitative studies. Qualitative examination attempted to record the midlife parent experiences in order to verify the existence of parental generativity themes. This study conducted within a retrospective semi-structured interview schedule with 13 mothers and 10 fathers aged 37 to 61. All parents had at least one child at 17 or older. Overall, the results revealed that the most important theme of life for most of the midlife adults was parenthood. However, mothers’ role identities with respect to maternal role were much more stronger than fathers’. The qualitative part of the present study contributes further to understanding of the connections between the perception of parental role, parents’ active involvement in childrearing, and adult development. In the quantitative study, the importance of parental behaviors in adult development and generativity both for females and males were tested within a proposed model. In the proposed model, both direct and indirect relationships between general well-being, marital satisfaction, self perception of the parental role, parental belief, parental involvement and societal generativity in gender-differentiated groups of mid adulthood were examined. 274 females and 207 males who were in a work settings participated in this study. The results with Lisrel analyses revealed that perceived parental role and more strongly parental involvement which were determined by parents’ marital satisfaction, categoric belief, perspectivistic belief (but not for male sample) and general psychological well-being (but not for female sample) predicted the societal generativity and played some important mediating roles in the model. Both mothers’ and fathers’ parenting were related to societal generativity. Therefore, the direct influences of parental experiences on generativity indicate that parenting contributes to one’s sense of caring for the next generation or generativity development.