ERIC Number: ED215256
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Pictorial Representations of the Life Course.
Whitbourne, Susan Krauss; Dannefer, W. Dale
Temporal orientation may be defined as a central aspect of identity that pertains to the individual's unique interpretation of the life course. As a component of identity, temporal orientation should be affected by social contextual variables. Temporal orientation was assessed in a random sample of 94 men and women aged 24-61 years. Respondents were requested to "draw your life" as part of a 3-hour identity-life history interview. Markers were not pre-defined for age, nor was there a vertical axis specified, permitting respondents freedom to construct their own time referents and evaluative criteria. Four dimensions of temporal orientation were defined: time concept as linear or spatial; temporal perspective; content of most significant life event; and cognitive-affective evaluation of the life course as a global entity. Age alone had no significant effects when social contextual variables were evaluated. Women tended to be more present- and past-oriented than men, who exhibited greater future orientation. These effects were mediated by occupational prestige among men and homemaker versus employed working status among women. Affective descriptions of life course events also varied by sex and social status. The findings suggest that age is not related to the dimensions of temporal orientation. (Author/NRB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Joint Annual Meeting of the Scientific Gerontological Society (34th) and the Scientific & Educational Canadian Association on Gerontology (10th), (Toronto, Ontario, Canada, November 8-12, 1981).