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ABSTRACT

How does personality type moderate personality change in middle age? Answers to this question were sought with three observer-based measures of self-directedness (autonomy, hypersensitivity, and willfulness) scored from the California Q-set when the participants in the Mills longitudinal study were age 43. From their early 40s to early 50s, high scorers on autonomy (healthy self-directedness) increased on California Psychological Inventory measures of impulse control and agency, and continued their involvement in high-status occupational careers. Despite increases in impulse control, the hypersensitive women had not increased in agency and expressed boredom in major social roles. In their early 50s, high scorers on willfulness increased in agency but not impulse control. In social roles, they perceived themselves as stimulating and creative.