Age, personality, and the spontaneous self-concept

R. R. McCrae, P. T. Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Kuhn and McPartland's (1954) Twenty Statements Test (TST) was examined as a measure of the spontaneous self-concept. In the first study, using 60 men and 60 women aged 32 to 84, responses were scored to indicate the salience of different aspects of self-concept content; global ratings of five personality dimensions and self-esteem were also made and compared to scores on the NEO Personality Inventory. Although age itself was infrequently mentioned there were some age differences in the salience of different elements of the self-concept, and older individuals scored somewhat lower on TST-rated Neuroticism. In the second study, age identification and self-esteem were considered in the responses of 245 men and women. As in Study 1, self-esteem was related to low Neuroticism and high Extraversion, but was unrelated to age. Social structural variables like age are reflected in the content of the spontaneous self-concept, but personality traits appear to be more important in explaining self-esteem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S177-S185
JournalJournals of Gerontology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging


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