Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Dan P. McAdams  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;


-- Dan P. McAdams on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Mr McAdams is chair of the Psychology Department at Northwestern University.

Biographical and Professional Information

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Redemptive Self: Stories Americans Live By
ISBN: 0195176936

Oxford University Press. 2005

Who are we as Americans? What is our deep identity? How do we make a good life? Renowned psychologist Dan P. McAdams suggests that the key to American identity lies in the stories we live by. And the most powerful life story in America today is the story of redemption. On a broad societal scale and in our own private lives, we want first and foremost to transform our suffering into a positive emotional state, to move from pain and peril to redemption. American identity is the redemptive self.

Based on 10 years of research on the life stories of especially caring and productive American adults, The Redemptive Self explores the psychological and cultural dynamics of the stories Americans tell to make sense of who they are. Among the most eloquent tellers of redemptive stories are those midlife adults who are especially committed to their careers, their families, and making a positive difference in the world. These highly "generative" men and women embrace the negative things that happen to them, for it is by transforming the bad into good that they are able to move forward in life and ultimately leave something positive behind. Unconsciously, they find inspiration and sustenance in the rich store of redemptive tales that American culture offers - from the autobiographies of Massachusetts Puritans, Benjamin Franklin, and escaped African-American slaves to the stories of upward mobility, recovery, fulfillment, and release that come to us today from Hollywood, 12-step programs, self-help experts, religious stories, political speeches, business gurus, and Oprah.

But can all American lives find redemption? Some people seem unable to make their lives into redemptive tales. Instead, their stories show contaminated plots and vicious cycles. Moreover, might there be a dark side to the redemptive stories Americans love? While these stories can sustain a productive and caring approach to life, they can also suggest a peculiarly American kind of arrogance and self-righteousness. For all their strengths, redemptive stories sometimes fail, and sometimes suggest important failings in the way Americans see themselves and the world. The Redemptive Self encourages us to examine our lives and our stories in full, to apprehend both the good and the bad in the stories we live by. By doing so, we may fashion better stories and better lives for the future.

The Stories We Live By: Personal Myths and the Making of the Self
ISBN: 1572301880

The Guilford Press. 1997

"Who am I?" "How do I fit in the world around me?" This revealing and innovative book demonstrates that each of us discovers what is true and meaningful, in our lives and in ourselves, through the creation of personal myths. Challenging the traditional view that our personalities are formed by fixed, unchanging characteristics, or by predictable stages through which every individual travels, The Stories We Live By persuasively argues that we are the stories we tell. Informed by extensive scientific research--yet highly readable, engaging, and accessible--the book explores how understanding and revising our personal stories can open up new possibilities for our lives.

Turns in the Road: Narrative Studies of Lives in Transition
ISBN: 1557987734

Amer Psychological Assn. 2001

An analysis of highly personalized life narratives to try and understand the significant transitions and turning points in the human life course and to answer the simple question: How do people make meaning out of the transitions in their lives? Among the particular transitions examined are adolescent identity struggles, the move from school to work, divorce, setbacks in professional careers, the onset of illness, recovery from addiction, and dramatic conversions from crime. The stories we make and tell about our lives contribute to our identities, help us cope with challenges, and shape how we see the future.

Generativity and Adult Development: How and Why We Care for the Next Generation
ISBN: 1557984700

Amer Psychological Assn. 1998

Generativity is the adult's concern for and commitment to promoting the next generation through parenting, teaching, mentoring and generating products and outcomes that aim to benefit a world that will outlive the self. Almost fifty years ago, Erik Erikson introduced this concept in his famous eight-stage model of human development as the seventh stage of the life cycle, generation vs. stagnation. A new, interdisciplinary wave of scholarship has linked generativity in contemporary life. Thus, a new, interdisciplinary wave of scholarship has linked generativity to such ideas as creativity, leadership, altruism, social responsibility, citizenship and volunteerism. This book brings together a distinguished roster of contributors of adult lives, replete with many clinical illustrations. Among the many intriguing questions that the authors ask are the following: Do highly generative individuals demonstrate higher levels of mental health and well-being? What is the relation between generativity and religious, political and community involvement? How to men and women differ in their experience of generativity? How did it manifest itself in the lives of such artists as Frank Lloyd Wright or Martha Graham? The reader should find here ideas and clinical wisdom about how adults fashion their lives to promote the ensuing generations and leave an enduring legacy.

Power, Intimacy, and the Life Story: Personological Inquiries into Identity
ISBN: 0898625068

The Guilford Press. 1988

Who am I? And how do I fit into the world? These are the questions individuals ask themselves to make sense of their lives. Power, Intimacy and the Life Story addresses the human quest for identity. The author reinterprets some of the classic writings in psychology as he shows how each of us constructs a life story in order to meet the identity challenge and create a sense of unity and purpose in our lives.

The Person: An Integrated Introduction to Personality Psychology
ISBN: 0155080660

Wiley. 2001

Dan McAdams' The Person, Third Edition, offers a bold and integrative vision for the field, bringing together the best from traditional personality theories and contemporary research around a focus on human lives. The Third Edition has been thoroughly revised and is now organized so that the first section provides an expanded treatment of the fundamental contexts for understanding personality: human evolution and culture. In the next three large sections of the text, the three main levels of personality are considered: Dispositional Traits, Characteristic Adaptations and Integrative Life Stories

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