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Redefining Success in AmericaA New Theory of Happiness and Human Development$
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Michael Kaufman

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226550015

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226550299.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 July 2021

A Paradigm for Understanding Adult Life

A Paradigm for Understanding Adult Life

(p.199) Chapter 10 A Paradigm for Understanding Adult Life
Redefining Success in America

Michael B. Kaufman

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 10 shows that the book’s new qualitative paradigm for understanding well-being and development is supported by published research on general samples and at the same time cinches together many factors in development and well-being into an account that explains patterns observed in published research. This new paradigm diverges not only from conventional happiness research but also from well-established theories on personality and adult development, including those of Erikson, Vaillant, Levinson, and McAdams. These contributions derive from a new approach to the study of happiness across the life course developed in the book, replete with tools and concepts. The approach is person-centered, humanistic, and developmental. It argues that happiness is shaped by a formative worldview interacting with the environment, reinforcing itself directly and through mediating behaviors. These processes can promote stability or can be disrupted and help facilitate change. The chapter explains how the book’s paradigm can be applied to illuminate the lives of women and varied demographic groups facing different conditions in the life course from those of the sample featured in the book.

Keywords:   well-being, worldview, adult development, personality, Erik Erikson, George Vaillant, Daniel Levinson, Dan McAdams, change, stability

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