Background: While time trends in personality traits have been suggested in younger cohorts, little is known regarding this issue in older adults. Objective: To test for birth cohort changes in psychogenic needs according to Murray's theory of personality in two birth cohorts of 75-year-olds born 1901-1902 and 1930. Methods: Two population-based birth cohorts were examined at the age of 75 years in 1976-1977 and in 2005-2006. Psychogenic needs according to Murray were measured with the Cesarec-Marke Personality Schedule (CMPS), a Swedish version of the Edwards Personal Preference Schedule. Scores on the CMPS subscales (achievement, affiliation, aggression, defence of status, guilt feelings, dominance, exhibition, autonomy, nurturance, order, succorance, and acquiescence) were compared between cohorts. Results:Achievement, exhibition, dominance, aggression, affiliation, and succorance scores were higher, and order and acquiescence scores lower, in the more recent birth cohort of 75-year-olds. Women scored lower than men on exhibition and dominance, and higher on defence of status, guilt feelings, affiliation, nurturance, and succorance. Interaction effects between cohort and sex were found for achievement (women scored lower than men in 1976-1977 but not in 2005-2006), order (the lower scores in 2005-2006 were more accentuated among men), and acquiescence (increased in men and decreased in women). Conclusion: The later-born birth cohort scored higher on self-centred traits, such as more dominant, competitive, and exhibitive traits as well as the need to be taken care of and have friends around, but it scored lower on the need for order. The gap between men and women regarding achievement decreased, possibly reflecting women's more prominent role in society.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology
- Cesarec-Marke Personality Schedule
- Old age
- Time trends