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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: 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.