Another key finding from the longitudinal study of Mills College women (Helson Wink, 1992) pertained to self-assessments of competence. Competence was measured with the Adjective Check List (ACL) scale, which contained these items: goal-oriented, or ganized, thorough, ef ficient, practical, clea -thinking, realistic, precise, mature, confident, and contented (Helson & Stewart, 1994). High scorers tend t endorse many of these items as self-descriptive, whereas low scorers endorse few . Figure 5.4 shows the results for the women and their partners when the women were at age 27 and then again at age 52.

The women in this sample showed a sharp increase in self-assessments of competence. Their husbands showed fairly constant scores across the two time periods. Furthermore, the women' s increases in self-described competence did not depend on whether or not they had children. Both those who had and those who did not have children showed comparable increases in competence.

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