Annual Adult Development Symposium
April 5 & 6, 2006
Preconference of the American Educational Research Association
San Francisco, California
Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel, Rubens Hall
April 5, 2006
10:30 to 12:30 Session 1: Supporting Positive Adult Development
Not Just Coping, but Thriving: Growing Wiser
, The Wisdom Institute (email@example.com)
Our health and well-being depend partly on how well we cope with the crises and hardships that we all face at different times throughout our lives. Our growth depends not just on continuing to have life experiences, but rather on evolving them into wisdom. Wiser elders use various strategies that allow them to lead positive engaged lives, despite difficulties, while less wise people have more trouble dealing with past or current life events. The question is, what are some of these coping strategies and how do people become wise(r)? The presenter will discuss her grounded theory research on wisdom, the model that she has developed, and some techniques and practices for encouraging the development of wisdom in all of us. She will also explore stage/development-related questions and probe how and if wisdom can be intentionally taught—or learned.
Minimalist design of collaborative tools and adult learning theory
Gregorio Convertino (firstname.lastname@example.org), Bonnie J.F., Meyer (email@example.com) & John M. Carroll (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Pennsylvania State University
A minimalist approach is outlined for designing collaborative tools for supporting learning and training of older adults in the workplace through intergenerational teams (Carroll, 1990, 1998; Convertino et al., 2005). This approach provides learning contexts desired by middle-aged and older adults (Knowles, 1984, Merriam, 1994; Meyer & Pollard, 2006). Learning opportunities for adults should promote participation, choice, reuse of experience, critical thinking, and modeled instruction with practice (e.g., Knowles, 1984; Marsick, 1987; Brookfield, 1987). The goal is to design technology that supports both performance and self-sustaining processes within the team. For example, technology can support reciprocal coaching between domain-experts technology-novices (older workers) and technology-experts domain-novices (younger workers). Cross-generation learning in heterogeneous teams supported by technology have yielded improved performance, skill development, and increased self-efficacy (Meyer et al., 2002; Rosson & Carroll, 2003).
Professional Development - Education of the unemployed, A Case Study
Donald DePoy, New England School of Communications (email@example.com)
3 under-employed or unemployed working class men from rural Maine. This case study focused on three men from rural Maine. A father and his two adult sons and their ability to gain sustainable employment to meet their basic needs throughout the year. To affect positive outcomes it became apparent that the needs of these men were diverse and not necessarily in alignment with local main stream values or expected cultural norms. Traditional educational intervention has been unsuccessful. The subjects are marginal and exist on government subsidies, odd short-term unskilled employment, and sometimes dealing in various contrabands. This case study follows these individuals for a year and chronicles major events that shape their day-to-day lives. A discussion follows in an attempt to illuminate some of the obstacles present when attempting to provide educational opportunity to the underserved population these men represent.
Relatability and Existential States: A Study in Affect and Psychological Development
Kenneth Isaacs (firstname.lastname@example.org), Christopher Cowan (email@example.com), & Natasha Todorovic (firstname.lastname@example.org)
National Value Center Consulting
We will explore the relationships between affective and cognitive adult development. Over the past year, we have been looking at similarities and differences between two developmental models - Dr. Kenneth Isaacs's Relatability and Dr. Clare W. Graves's Levels of Existence. We will explore five 'theoretical views' advancing treatment and cure of psychological symptom disorders based on Isaacs?s theory of emotion. Relatability is a developmental approach looking at object relations differentiation, subjectivity and affectivity, and the nature and qualities for interpersonal relationships. Levels of Existence examines the hierarchy of worldviews and developmental constructs of maturity. We will challenge conventional wisdom by using both stage development theories, combining them with an innovative approach to emotion, and looking beyond traditional approaches to therapy by understanding the organization of stages of development affecting the sequence and cohesion of elements at each stage, how emotion becomes of use in furthering that understanding, and how this contributes to a clearer picture of adult development and learning.
Level of Existence and Leadership Style
Nicole Arleane Roberson, University of Texas at Arlington (email@example.com)
Employment tests have long been used to aid in the search for the most appropriate manager. In the 1980s, Chris Cowan and Natasha Todorovic (2004) developed the Discovery Assessment based on Clare W. Graves’ research used to determine a person’s level of existence. Graves (1970) asserted that people progress through eight levels of existence. The higher levels of existence embody the psychological maturity believed to be needed for today’s managers. In 1964, Robert Blake and Anne Mouton developed the concepts used in the Styles of Leadership Survey. They developed the Managerial Grid and purported that there are five different management styles. From their research they determined that a 9,9 or team leadership approach is the most effective leadership style for many organizations. Used together, the Graves (1970) and the Blake and Mouton (1964) typologies may be an excellent predictor of a person’s success in a managerial position. In this study, the two instruments were administered to undergraduate students to determine if a relationship exists between people’s level of existence and their leadership style. The results verified that the higher levels of existence were more like to possess the team (9,9) leadership style.
1:00-2:00 pm Lunch Break
2:00 – 4:00 pm Session 2: Developmental Theory, Processes and Measurement
Measuring an approximate g
Michael Lamport Commons, Harvard Medical School (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A science of comparative cognition ultimately needs a measurement theory, allowing the comparison of performances of different species of animals and of individual humans. Current theories are often based on human performances and may not easily apply to other species. Starting with the standard tasks within the standard domains, one can construct an analogue of g. There will be four types of measures: 1) the highest stage of performance attained in each domain (HS) including the highest stage in any domain (HHS); 2) A form of g that is somewhat akin to human g; 3) a derived measure of generality of performance , g breadth (gB) across domains, 4) and g breadth within domains. We use existing research to enumerate domains, such as problem solving behavior in pursuit of food, or behaviors in pursuit of mates and/or reproduction. We then illustrate how to construct each of the four forms of g.
Futures thinking and post-conventional development
Peter Hayward, Swinburne University (email@example.com)
This paper/poster is the result of a two year PhD dissertation study into graduate students undertaking a Masters of Strategic Foresight and a recent study of policy analysts in a number of State government departments. The theoretical research of the dissertation suggested that adults learning to develop extended futures thinking could be an emergent property of post-conventional psychological development. For two years students studying strategic foresight were measured by an instrument based upon the theories of Jane Loevinger, Clare Graves and Lawrence Kohlberg. That same instrument was also used to study MBA students as a comparative audience. The data collected suggested that ego development was the most sensitive developmental ‘line’ in the development of futures thinking. In a recent group of policy analysts who were interested in learning futures thinking techniques the same heavily post-conventional aspects were observed. The paper will elaborate on the findings from both studies.
Adolescent and Adult Development: One Process, Many Perspectives
Alice LoCicero, Suffolk University (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Various theories of adolescent and adult development exist side by side, suggesting that the field contains a variety of possible templates, with the "truest" or best theory still to be determined. However, upon closer examination, major theories are simply different expressions of the same developmental progression. In this poster, I will compare various theories of development, showing that they are easily integrated. The field is more mature than it appears to the student who sees these theories as different beliefs about the phenomenon of development. Rather they reflect different angles or foci on one developmental progression. While some theorists assert that they can attach a stage level diagnosis to a person, there is considerable evidence that people function at different stages in different life domains. This makes the endeavor of studying development more complex and more interesting. In the poster I will highlight the theories of Belenky, et al; Kegan, and Commons. Commons' theory, which rates the activity as reflecting a level, illuminates the other two.
Challenging Contemporary Cognitive Theory
Katy Jay, John F. Kennedy University (email@example.com)
It is my contention that by and large the fundamental assumptions of cognitive theory may be flawed. In the instance in which the principle is accurate given the current theoretical assumptions of cognition, the larger context of the application of principles can result in misguided interpretations leading to distorted applications. The intent of this paper is to show that cognitive theory cannot do what it is purported to do because it negates the fundamental causes of "maladaptive" schematic representations. Furthermore, from an integral perspective, cognitive theory does little to integrate the causes and effects of cultural and intersubjective experience as well as societal structures that co-create phenomenological experience into the formulation of the theory and application of therapy.
Longitudinal study of students’ reflective judgment in four degree programs using the Steps to Better Thinking model: preliminary results
Ellen C. Banks (firstname.lastname@example.org), David Forstadt (email@example.com) & Amy Madison (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This study of reflective judgment in college students uses the Steps to Better Thinking (SBT) model developed by Wolcott and Lynch based on the Reflective Judgment Model of King and Kitchener. SBT provides a flexible assessment rubric adaptable to any issue. Students are assessed annually on responses to issues of current interest in society as well as on assignments for their specialized courses in four programs: two clinical programs, Physician Assistant Studies and Physical Therapy, and two liberal arts programs, Psychology and History/Government. Second and Third-year responses from this longitudinal study will be reported, to address two questions: Does reflective judgment show different trajectories among students in different fields of study? Does course work in a student’s major field provide contextual support resulting in a higher level of thinking than a student’s thinking on general issues?
Religious Elements in Moral Decision Making : Story, Structure, and Voice in Empirical Studies of Belgian and English Adolescents and Young Adults
James M. Day, University of Louvain, Belgium (email@example.com)
For some years I have been working at the interface of structuralist and narrative models in the psychology of moral development, at once, e.g., working out translations of standard scoring instruments (SMRF, in collaboration with John Gibbs et al) and developing new instruments (Religious Judgment Questionnaire, Day & Naedts 1994) for use in the French-speaking world, and working with these instruments in large-scale (1000+) sample sizes of adolescents and young adults and at the same time working in "close-range" empirical studies of young people in the process of making or reviewing and reconstructing very recently made moral decisions. This paper presents finding from a recent round of studies which look closely at the use of religious elements in moral decision-making amongst French-speaking Belgian and English adolescents and young adults. The studies began with moral judgment, religious judgment, and semi-structured "real life" dilemma questionnaires and interviews (80 Belgian, 80 English), in which we found marked differences in function of religious affiliation (Christian or Muslim), and gender (justice and care orientations), and in which it was particularly difficult to find explicit uses of religious elements, at all, amongst non-Muslim youth. We then moved to studies (120 Belgian youth, 120 English), in which we considered how and what kinds of religious elements figured in the moral decisions of religiously committed young people, wondering whether when religious commitment would be used as a selection criterion, we would get (and we did) more explicit descriptions of religious elements at play in the resolution of moral dilemmas. The religious elements that emerged were quite different in function of religious affiliation (both between Christian groups and between Christian and Muslim subjects), with stable gender differences across the groups, at both adolescence (age 15) and the transition to young adulthood (age 21). Another feature emerged about which we speak in the paper; style of decision-making and use of religious elements were different within the Muslim sample in function of degree of identification with the majority culture in both Belgium and England. In a final study of which we speak here, we revisited a select subgroup of each country’s sample (16 each), talking three years later with both the adolescents and young adults from Christian and Muslim affiliations, equally divided between young women and men, in an effort to "track" developmental differences, both in terms of "judgment" scores, and styles of decision-making, and uses of religious elements. Gender and religious differences emerging in these studies are consistent with previous findings from our research (Day & Naedts 1995; Day 1997; Day & Naedts 1999; Day 2001 a, b; Day & Youngman 2001; Day 2003).
Developmental Levels of Conceptions of Compassion
Albert Erdynast, Antioch University at Los Angeles (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Direct research on compassion as a supererogatory ethical obligation or duty has not been done. Nor have studies been conducted on the similarities and differences in the kinds of ethical decision-making subjects make when they base their decisions on conceptions of compassion versus decisions based on their conceptions of justice.
This paper presents the results of a study that examines empirical structural-developmental conceptions of compassion, as an ethical supererogatory permission, among adult subjects as they resolve dilemmas. Decisions emanating from duties and obligations can differ from decisions emanating from compassion. Compassion motivation leads subjects at all levels to switch the content of their initial solution, unidirectionally, to the same one as selected by individuals using principled ethical reasoning.
4:00 to 5:00 pm Business Meeting: Interactions about the program, planning,
and the field of Adult Development
6:00-9:00 Workshop/ Working Dinner
Hierarchical Complexity Scoring System (HCSS) Applied to the Issues of Your Choice
Michael Lamport Commons, Harvard Medical School (email@example.com)
The Model of Hierarchical Complexity presents a framework for scoring reasoning stages in any domain as well as in any cross cultural setting. The scoring is based not upon the content or the subject material, but instead on the mathematical complexity of hierarchical organization of information. The subject's performance on a task of a given complexity represents the stage of developmental complexity. Those attending the workshop will learn about 1) the model, 2) the concepts underlying the model, 3) the description of the stages and their relationship to Kegan (1982), Kohlberg (1984) stages as well as "Womens’ ways of knowing," 4) steps involved in universal stage transition, 5) and examples of scoring samples from interviewing illustrating adult development applied to preventing and dealing with issues the participants bring using the Hierarchical Complexity Scoring Scheme (HCSS) as a scoring aid.
April 6, 2006
9:00 – 11:00 am Session 3: Education & Learning
Educational Reform and Relationships in Schools: The case of Omani Schools
Said Aldhafri, Sultan Qaboos University(firstname.lastname@example.org)
Recently, the Omani schools have gone through an educational reform that was implemented to increase the effectiveness of schools. This reform has not been examined in how it influences relationships among school’s people. The current study examined differences between teachers in the schools that have implemented the recent reform (i.e., Basic-Education Schools) and those in the schools which have not yet (General-Education Schools). The study compared teachers from these two types of schools in terms of two relational variables: teachers’ relationships with their colleagues and their relationships with principals. Twenty four schools from each type participated in the current investigation. The participants completed two adapted measures of collegial leadership and teacher professionalism (Tschannen-Moran, Parish, & DiPaola, in press). Differences were only found for the variable of teacher/teacher relationships. Implications are discussed in the context of the development of relationships in school setting. Cultural implications and future research suggestions are provided.
Danita Bailey–Perry (bailey_DM@TSU.edu), Tyrone Tanner (tannert@TSU.EDU), Emiel Owens (email@example.com), & Kimberly McLeod (mcleodkr@TSU.edu)
Texas Southern University
It is the responsibility of educators to avoid the assumption that the home environment or any other negative identifying factor associated with a student is solely responsible for poor academic achievement. Trueba (1994) found that a student’s lack of academic achievement is often the result of alienating circumstances of teaching within the school. This research identifies school conditions and teacher practices that increase mathematics and reading achievement of African American students and other minority students attending urban schools. A survey was administered to over 33 urban schools, with high minority populations, and performance ratings of exemplary, recognized, or acceptable throughout the state of Texas. This research reveals a number of research variables that increase the mathematical and reading scores of learners in an urban environment. This study will be of significant value to those individuals that are associated with increasing knowledge of pedagogical practice that contributes to the academic success in mathematics and reading for urban learners.
Ecological factors predicting undergraduate success in African Americans:
Parental and institutional influences
Sandra Brooks (firstname.lastname@example.org), Kelly Morton, & Hector Betancourt
Loma Linda University
The purpose of this study was to test a resiliency model of academic achievement among African American college students by employing Bronfenbrenner’s (1986) ecological model as a guiding framework. It was hypothesized that microsystem environmental factors (parental racial socialization and campus climate perceptions) would predict the development of a strong racial identity (see Cross, 1971 Nigrescence model), attributional processes and achievement motivation. Participants were 289 African American undergraduates attending Historically Black and Predominantly White institutions. There were no differences between students attending each type of institution, thus, the entire sample was employed in the development of structural equation models resulting from the integration of hypotheses. Findings suggest that racial identity attitudes based in parental socialization impact students’ perceptions of the campus climate which in turn influence success-related attributions and subsequent academic achievement. Results are discussed in terms of factors promoting both adjustment and achievement for African Americans across institution types.
The Intergenerational Classroom
Dorothea Bye (email@example.com), Dolores Pushkar, Michael Conway, & June Chaikelson
This study explores the relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to learn, and positive and negative affect, in both traditional and nontraditional university undergraduates ranging in age from 18 to 60 years (n = 169). Traditional students are defined as those aged 21 and under, who are most likely to have followed an unbroken linear path through the education system, while nontraditional students are defined as those aged 28 and over, who have returned to school after time spent in non-academic pursuits. Results of a multiple regression analysis show a significantly higher level of reported intrinsic motivation to learn in the nontraditional student group. In addition, nontraditional students demonstrate a significantly higher correlation between intrinsic motivation to learn and positive affect than do traditional students. This distinct profile of the older student implies a potential need for an age-differentiated pedagogical approach in post-secondary educational settings.
Using Repeated Measures to examine secondary school environment issues and their influence on urban student’s college graduate rates
Emiel Owens, Tyrone Tanner (firstname.lastname@example.org), Danita Bailey–Perry (bailey_DM@TSU.edu), & Kimberly McLeod (mcleodkr@TSU.edu)
Texas Southern University
The standards most colleges and universities have used over the years for predicting college completion have been standardized tests. In recent years however, these exams have been determined to be unreliable in predicting college success. Critics have argued that these tests do not reflect the true ability of certain student populations. Considerable research has been devoted to examining the influence on noncognitive variables such as school environment community demographics and family conditions and their effects on educational success. However, these demographics and family conditions can not be changed by educators. In addition, the purpose of this study is to expand the current body of research on predicting college success by examining the effect of urban student’s secondary school experience on predicting college completion.
The results revealed that the school effect is more powerful than the family effect, teacher effect and the cultural environment. Students that reported feeling unsafe at school during their secondary experience were 50 times less likely to attend college. Students that experience disruptive classrooms were 40 times less likely to graduate from college. In addition, teachers that show interest in their student’s education are more likely to produce college graduates.
Translating "Academese" With Rubrics
Dannelle D. Stevens (email@example.com) & Antonia J. Levi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Portland State University
When students, especially non-native speakers of English or first generation students, enter the Academy, they enter a new culture that is often as alien to them as any overseas program. Indeed, it is often far more alien, since overseas programs provide training that includes an explanation of the assumptions, and mores of the new culture, and also language training if needed. Academe, on the other hand, assumes that its terminology, assumptions, and mores are fully understood by all students without explanation. That is seldom the case, especially for non-traditional students. This poster session itemizes some of the most common problems that result when students fail to understand what is expected of them, simply because no one thinks to tell them, and how rubrics can help by spelling out the unspoken assumptions and terminology of Academe. Actual rubrics and case studies will be included.
Developing the sustained competitive advantage in a culture of learning
Kathleen M. Ronsyn, OISE, University of Toronto (email@example.com)
This paper argues that organization structure is the precursor to determining an organization where dimensions of learning are a focal point in achieving the competitive advantage. Results from an action research project (Marshall, 2004) give evidence that the organizational structure in place at the school supported a culture of learning for both individual and learning as an organization. Learning was seen to support the development of the competitive advantage at the school. It is argued in this paper that unless the structure of the organization is aligned with learning processes that promotes the development of the competitive advantage, the learning will be fragmented. Learning here means that both individual learning and organizational learning happen (Senge,1994). The strategic planning framework is used to develop the process of a competitive advantage.
11:15 – 1::00 pm Session 4: Young Adulthood & Identity
The Bumpy Path toward Self-regulation: Transitions from College to Career, Partner, and Life Project.
Jackson Kytle, The New School (firstname.lastname@example.org) & Roben Torosyan, Fairfield University (email@example.com)
Increasing attention by scholars, self-help authors, and public observers is being given to life adjustments after college for emerging adults ages 20 to 32. Some studies of this pivotal period in life speak of emotional turbulence whereas others focus on the positive identity explorations where emerging adults in their 20s experiment with different roles and relationships. Ours is a progress report from an ongoing study of 20 young adults using semi-structured, face-to-face interviews. We explore how self-regulation develops with regard to three developmental tasks: choice of work and career, choice of partner, and choice of life project, or the ethical purposes that guide one’s life. We also study the special psychological experience of critical incidents when young people take control of their lives. The session will be organized around a literature review and emerging trends from our interviews and data analysis.
Homesick for Abroad: Third Culture Identity
Liliana Meneses, The George Washington University (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Children’s behavioral and psychological development suffers if they do not achieve a firm sense of identity, and this is in turn connected to psychological problems in adulthood (Morrison & Bordere, 2001). Achieved identity has been related to well being and generativity, and identity diffusion to low self esteem, poor peer relations, poor academic performance and substance abuse (Adelson, 1980; Downie, 1976; Erikson, 1980; Huff, 2001; Kornakov, 2001; Marcia.J.E., 1980; Morrison & Bordere, 2001). A growing interdisciplinary field is studying individuals raised in multicultural environments (Pollock & Van Reken, 2001), and how these individuals develop a sense of identity among different, sometimes conflicting, cultures, values and norms. This identity is being called "third culture identity" and initial research appears to corroborate, as Erikson’s epigenetic chart suggests, that third culture adults are "reexperiencing those tensions that were inadequately integrated when they were focal" (Erikson, Erikson, & Kivnick, 1986).
Perceived Racism and Ethnic Identity Development in Urban African Male Adolescents
Shane M. Smith (email@example.com) & Ayman-Nolley (S-Ayman-Nolley@neiu.edu)
Northeastern Illinois University
This study seeks to analyze the relationship between perceived racism, ethnic identity, and educational achievement in a sample (N=40) of African American adolescent males (age 18-22). Elements of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems model and Erickson’s stages of psychosocial development will be utilized to provide a theoretical framework for understanding their unique experience. The educational achievement variable is used to examine ethnic identity and perceived racism scores among college and non-college educated individuals. The frequency of Perceived racism is obtained using the Perceived Racism Scale: A multidimensional assessment of the experience over the lifetime of White Racism among African Americans (PRS), and Ethnic Identity is assessed utilizing the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM). Results will be compared to those found by Phinney and aforementioned theories. This study seeks to provide those working with African American young men to assist them in enhancing their desire for academic achievement in spite of institutionalized racism.
Comparing Academic and Social Pluralism as Factors in the Epistemological Development of Young Adults
Michael Weinstock (firstname.lastname@example.org) & Hila Zviling (email@example.com)
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Epistemological development literature suggests that educational level, and not age, is a primary developmental factor. However, age and educational level are difficult to disentangle. Whereas most Israeli students start university after mandatory army service, a small group of select students start their studies before active service. A comparison of students in special versus regular status in the same major at a top science institution allows a comparison of the epistemological level of academically comparable students of similar ages at different educational levels, and of different-aged students at the same educational level. The unexpected findings, that student status and not educational level was found associated with epistemological level, emphasize that a pluralistic environment and not simply schooling is critical to epistemological development. The discussion concerns aspects of the American college, Israeli army, and Israeli university experiences that might explain the findings of typical past studies and the current study.
The Role of Chinese-American and African-American Parents in the Academic Achievement of their Children
Tyrone Tanner (firstname.lastname@example.org), Danita Bailey–Perry (bailey_DM@TSU.edu), Emiel Owens (email@example.com) & Kimberly McLeod (mcleodkr@TSU.edu)
Texas Southern University
Over the past decade, numerous studies suggest that Chinese-American parents significantly influence their children’s academic success. In juxtaposition to the Chinese-American academic achievement rate is the academic plight of many African-American children. African-American children suffer substantially higher academic failure rates and school dropout percentages. This research examines the parents of both academically successful Chinese-American and African-American students, exploring the influence of culture on the respective groups’ academic achievement. In addition, the research addresses the historical, social, and political underpinnings of both groups and their respective confidence in America’s educational institution. The findings from this research will be instrumental to parents, school officials, and government agencies as they continue to seek new strategies to successfully educate our youth. Ten findings emerged from this research relevant to the motivational influence of Chinese-American and African-American parents on the academic achievement of their children.
1:00 - 2:00 pm Lunch
2:00 - 4:00 pm Session 5: Family, Adult Relationships & Happiness
The Relationship of Culture versus Socio-economic Background
to Characteristics of Mothers
Patrice Marie Miller, Salem State College (firstname.lastname@example.org), Sandra Waddell, North Shore Head Start, & Rosemarie DiBiase, Suffolk University, (RDibiase@clas.suffolk.edu)
In studies of cultural differences, cultural background is often confounded with socioeconomic status. In this study, characteristics of mothers in low-income Head-Start families, half Hispanic and half Caucasian, were compared with higher-income Caucasian mothers (attending a nursery school in a privileged community). Few cultural differences were found within the low income group. Hispanic mothers held significantly more traditional beliefs about child rearing (M = 82.53, SD = 8.71) than did Caucasian mothers (M = 60.76, SD = 13.85, F(1, 34) = 32.58, p < .0001). There were no significant differences between the Hispanic mothers and the Caucasian mothers in terms of personality, although there was a trend in the personality variable "openness to experience" with non-Hispanics being more open than Hispanics. Mothers from both groups also showed similar levels of stress. It is expected that the privileged sample will show a much larger contrast on these measures than the cultural differences found in the Head Start sample. The importance of cultural influences versus those of socioeconomic influences for adult development will be discussed.
Postconventional thought in an unconventional relationship
Suzie Benack (email@example.com) & Thomas B. Swan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
There are claims that higher stage reasoning is necessary to successfully negotiate life tasks of love and work in a post-modern world. We examined ways conventional and post-conventional reasoning affected individuals’ ability to deal with a decidedly post- modern relationship dilemma: the "mixed orientation marriage" (MOM), in which one partner identifies as heterosexual and the other identifies as homosexual or bisexual. From messages posted between 1995 and 2005 on four listservs for people in MOMs, we examined the ways that both partners’ understanding of the nature of sexual orientation constrains or facilitates their ability to negotiate a new positive relationship. We then examined how these conceptions functioned in their decision-making about the marriage. Our results support the notion that more complex conceptions of sexual orientation helped people maintain their marriages by creating a new marriage contract and facilitated the creation of more positive post-divorce relationships.
Avoidant Romantic Attachment and Female Orgasm: Testing An Emotion-Regulation Hypothesis
Danielle Cohen (email@example.com) & Jay Belsky (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Institute for the Study of Children, Families & Social Issues
Birkbeck University of London
Recent research indicating that roughly a third of the variation in female orgasmic frequency is heritable leaves a substantial amount of non-heritable variation to be explained. Given that emotion regulation is central to attachment theory and that attachment insecurity in infancy and avoidance in adulthood are not heritable, it was predicted that (higher levels of) avoidance would predict (lower levels of) female orgasmic frequency. Results of an internet survey of 323 females (mean age = 24.39) proved consistent with this hypothesis. Results will be discussed in terms of developmental influence on adult reproductive behavior, evolution, and the characteristics of the sample.
Feuds and Flashpoints: Avoiding Family Conflict about Inheritance
Gerald Le Van, The Le Van Company (email@example.com)
Ellen, a wealthy widow worries that her adult children will squabble over their inheritance. In a late life act of tough love, Ellen coaxes her children to organize a family council. After a shaky start, their family council becomes a forum for healthy discussion of family wealth, family concerns and family heritage. Wealthy family members and their advisors will readily identify with Ellen’s dilemma and the seeds of dispute among her children. Their story provides hope and practical how-to guidance to families who want to avoid conflict over family wealth.
6:00-9:00: Informal Dinner & Discussion: Restaurant TBA