Dan McAdams Wins Psychology Award

Dan McAdams Wins Psychology Award

Dan McAdams

Professor Dan McAdams won the 2012 Jack Block Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), for career contributions to personality psychology.

The Block Award is SPSP's principal award for research accomplishment in personality psychology. Honorees are recognized for their scientifically rigorous career research accomplishments in personality psychology rather than for a specific discovery or article. As part of the award, McAdams will present an address at the SPSP convention in 2013.

The Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) was founded in 1974 and includes more than 7,000 members from around the world who study a wide array of subfields in personality and social psychology. In 1989 McAdams won the Society’s Henry A. Murray Award.

The author of nearly 200 scientific articles and chapters, numerous edited volumes, and six books, McAdams works in the areas of personality and life span developmental psychology. His writings focus on concepts of self and identity in contemporary American society and on themes of power, intimacy, redemption and generativity across the adult life course. McAdams is most well-known for formulating a life-story theory of human identity, which argues that modern adults provide their lives with a sense of unity and purpose by constructing and internalizing self-defining life stories or “personal myths.”

McAdams is a leader in the recent emergence within the social sciences of narrative approaches to studying human lives — approaches that place stories and storytelling at the center of human personality. Over the past two decades, McAdams and his students have conducted many studies on the concept of “generativity” – the adult’s concern for and commitment to the next generation. He has been funded by major grants from the Spencer Foundation and continues to be funded by the Foley Family Foundation to direct the Foley Center for the Study of Lives at Northwestern University. McAdams is also the author of a leading college textbook in personality psychology, The Person.

McAdams is the author of The Redemptive Self: Stories Americans Live By. Integrating research he and his students have conducted over the past 15 years, The Redemptive Self charts a new psychology of American identity as expressed in cultural and historical American texts and images and in the life stories of caring and productive American adults in their midlife years. The book won the 2006 William James Award from the American Psychological Association for best general-interest book in psychology and the 2007 Association of American Publishers Award for excellence in professional and scholarly publishing. His latest book is entitled George W. Bush and the Redemptive Dream: A Psychological Portrait.

McAdams is also 2006 winner of the Theodore Sarbin Award for contributions to theoretical and philosophical psychology. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society and is a founding member of the Association for Research in Personality. He has served on the SPSP executive committee and is currently chair of the organization’s Distinguished Scholar Award committee. His work has been featured in many national publications and media outlets.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 9/11/12