Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Diana Marta, BSN, RN (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This is an updated version of a book originally published in 1990 that examines the development of personality into adulthood. The authors reiterate their theory that personality remains fairly stable after the age of 30, but then acknowledge some revision to that thinking with the developments of the last decade.
Purpose: While acknowledging that their theories of a decade ago have endured, the authors present the new findings and interpretation that have prompted them to slightly revise their premise. As our population ages, a look at how personality varies over the lifespan is a worthy goal. This book not only updates, but clearly explains the five factor theory of personality and how it illuminates the dimensions of personality.
Audience: This book appeals to those new to personality theory because it gives sufficient background information on the development of theory and the research methods used. However, experienced researchers will also appreciate its concise and well written presentation of research findings over the past decade. The authors are well qualified and have worked together for over 20 years.
Features: This second edition does an effective job of reviewing the development of personality theory over the lifespan. The authors recognize that their theory of stability has to be slightly altered because of the evidence of decline in certain traits in people with disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. They admit their own bias, but do an adequate job of presenting alternate theories. They also give new supporting evidence to reinforce their theory in cross-cultural and genetic studies.
Assessment: As someone who administers the Neo Five Factor Personality Inventory, but had little knowledge of its development or theoretical rationale, I found this book illuminating and very well written. It covers its subject thoroughly and doesn't assume the reader has a strong background in personality theory. Clearly, the past decade has brought much new research, which makes this second edition necessary and valuable.
From the Publisher
"This is an important updating of the first edition. The authors' emphasis on stability in personality through adulthood is now fully buttressed by their Five-Factor Theory and by new evidence, particularly recent cross-cultural and longitudinal findings. Little background in psychology or gerontology is assumed, and research methods and statistics are introduced and explained along the way. Yet the book is not only for beginners. Researchers in adult personality development will find this book to be an invaluable portal to the authors' extensive research program. McCrae and Costa are prolific and creative researchers who have been working together for more than 20 years, and there is no better introduction to and summary of their contributions to personality psychology and adult development."--Daniel J. Ozer, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of California, Riverside
"The first edition of Personality in Adulthood was a landmark in the presentation of the Five-Factor Model. The second edition builds on that contribution and presents the most current formulation of the theory and supportive research. Particularly noteworthy is the attention given to cross-cultural studies. Every personality psychologist will want to give careful attention to this important contribution."--Lawrence A. Pervin, PhD, Department of Psychology, Rutgers/m-/The State University of New Jersey
"This thorough update of the authors' classic work brings personality psychology into the 21st century. It reflects both how the field has stabilized and matured over the past two decades and how it is poised for many important contributions in the years to come. The volume is several books in one: a summary of the authors' Five-Factor Theory of personality, a primer on lifespan psychological development, and a textbook on personality assessment and research methods, especially methods for understanding psychological change. Besides all that, it is full of fascinating insights about the nature of aging. Extraordinarily well written, it unobtrusively provides the instruction and background that a novice would need to understand the material, while also presenting new and challenging ideas for the research professional. This book will serve as an excellent primary text for courses in lifespan development. It will also serve well as a secondary text for upper-level undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in personality and developmental psychology."--David Funder, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of California, Riverside
"McCrae and Costa have done an outstanding job of bringing their book up to date while rethinking and expanding their conclusions. The last dozen years have seen an explosion of relevant research, and McCrae and Costa seem to have incorporated it all. Some of their arguments and conclusions will continue to be controversial, as they themselves fully acknowledge; but even those who disagree with them in one respect or another will be grateful for this clear and full new statement. It will be a highly useful book, especially for those wishing to be informed about the current status of the Five-Factor Model of personality."/m-/David M. Wulff, PhD, Department of Psychology, Wheaton College