Continuity and change in women's dreams for the future

Naomi Makower, Fordham University


This study investigated relationships between current Dreams for the future and recollected Dreams from Childhood, Early Adult Transition (ages 17-22), Age Thirty Transition (ages 28-32), degree of fulfillment of recollected Dreams, and parental Dreams and relevant behaviors. Research participants were 110 middle class women from the New York Metropolitan area, born between 1936 and 1950. A questionnaire was developed to assess the importance of Relational and Individualistic Dream elements on a six-point rating scale. Midlife status variables were also assessed. The results of correlational analysis indicated that fulfillment of prior Relational and Individualistic Dreams was positively and significantly related to the current importance of those Dreams. Results were more salient in the Relational than the Individualistic sphere. Multiple regression analysis revealed that the importance of prior Dreams, especially in Age Thirty Transition, was highly significant in predicting current Dream importance. The recollected importance of parental Dreams was positively and significantly correlated with the importance of personal Dreams, paternal more than maternal, particularly in the Individualistic sphere. The importance of Relational Dreams did not change significantly from Childhood to Midlife. Individualistic Dreams increased in importance from Childhood to Early Adult Transition and from Age Thirty Transition to Midlife, primarily because of increased importance of careers and development of skills and talents respectively. Across the four life stages, love relationships, skill development, friendships, and career were rated the most important Dream elements. Traditional Dreams of marriage and children were lower in rank order of importance. Midlife status variables did not cluster in any one age grouping. While previous research has often found that major shifts are made in Midlife regarding the importance of the Relational and Individualistic domains of life, the women in the present study showed a high level of continuity of interest in both major life spheres, although change in importance of particular elements within each sphere did occur. The findings were discussed in terms of female developmental theory, role modeling, and possible contribution of recent sociocultural trends.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Womens studies

Recommended Citation

Makower, Naomi, "Continuity and change in women's dreams for the future" (1988). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8813578.