Jen uses sophisticated qualitative and quantitative methodologies to examine personality changes during different periods of the human lifespan and how those changes relate to important outcomes over time. Simply put, Jen’s research is framed by the following broad questions about differences between individuals:
- How do two people differ in terms of their personality characteristics, motivations, and identity?
- How did those differences come to be (e.g., are there possible effects due to social environments and cultural contexts)?
- What do those differences predict in terms of well-being, resilience, moral identity, and decision-making?
Currently, Jen is interested in the developmental construct of generativity, the primary psychosocial concern during adulthood focused on the creation and building of a legacy which benefit future generations (Erikson, 1950/1963). Jen’s dissertation seeks to understand what generativity looks like in mid-life American adults, what reinforces their generative strivings, and the psychosocial benefits of being generative. To do this, Jen takes on the framework of narrative identity – an individual’s subjective reconstruction of their lived past, present, and future – to study the motivational themes (agency and communion; strivings for self-mastery and positive relationships with other, respectively) that exist in the autobiographical life stories of highly generative adults.
Below are other samples of Jen’s work which have been peer-reviewed for publication and presented at conferences.