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The Self Samuel R. Mathews, Ph.D. Department of Psychology The University of West Florida The Self • Development of identity grounded in: – Cognitive development • Emergence of self reflection on emotions and relationships – Experiences with peers & family • Changing roles, expectations & responsibilities – Experiences with culture at large • Changing expectations in autonomy (broad socialization) & interdependence (narrow socialization) The Selves • Ideal Self—the optimal state of the individual • Actual Self—reality • Possible Self—likely outcome • Feared Self—worst possible • False Self—one’s image management Identity and Self • Self Concept: – Generalized view of self • Childhood—more physical • Adolescence—more psychological • Social Comparison – Estimation based on social comparisons – Upward comparison: realistic comparison can lead to improved functioning; unrealistic comparison can lead to frustration – Downward comparison: can lead to lower efforts to improve Identity and Self • Outcome of Social Comparison: – Baseline Self Esteem • Ambient level of evaluation • Stable yet malleable – Barometric Self Esteem— • Moment to moment/day to day sense of self evaluation • Contextually determined Identity and Self • Outcome of Social Comparison: Self Esteem – Harter’s work: Perceived Competence • Eight scales (pg. 152) • Scale with highest impact is physical appearance – Impacts females more than males – Peers & Families tend to relate to which domains are more influential • Issues surrounding self esteem/social comparison tends to be more focused in USA culture Identity and Self • Emotionality and Identity Development: – Neurological Basis: • Amygdala more active than frontal lobes in adolescents • Frontal lobe more active than amygdala in adults – Higher reports of negative emotions (self- conscious; embarrassed; lonely) • Likely based on multiple life changes with onset of adolescence (e.g. school, family, peers) • Feminine girls reported less sense of voice than any other group Identity: Key Constructs • Autonomy – A sense that the individual participates actively and with some degree of control in decision-making: • About self • In interactions with others – Patterns of family interactions inhibit or enhance this decision-making Identity: Key Constructs • Individuation: – As adolescents make decision and experience consequences they begin to define themselves as different from others – Adolescents begin to separate the affective element of an event and the intellectual analysis of that event Identity: Key Constructs • Individuation (cont’d) – Families impact this process • Allowing decision-making within boundaries supports the process of individuation • Openness of emotions within family supports this process • Supporting exploration within boundaries can lead to free but cautious explorations by the adolescent • Positive outcomes follow from a balance of independence and familial closeness Erikson’s Perspective on Identity Dev. • Fifth stage in Erikson’s psychosocial theory of development • Individual has likely acquired major tools of the culture • Emphasis shifts to establishing an identity separate from but related to family of origin Erikson’s Perspective on Identity Dev. • Explorations beyond the family system increase and provide a sampling of alternatives to that family system • Individuals who explore and internalize a set of values, beliefs, expectations, and norms will likely reach an identity achieved Marcia’s Identity Status Model • Major constructs: – Commitment: construction of a relatively stable set of values, beliefs, roles, norms, and expectations – Exploration: behaviorally or vicariously seeking out experiences typically beyond the family or origin Marcia’s Identity Status Model • Identity Diffused – Neither committed nor engaged in exploration; – May have some explorations but more of a “meandering rather than intentional exploration – Seem to be more of a carefree drifting than exploration. Marcia’s Identity Status Model • Identity Foreclosed— – Committed to an identity without significant exploration; – Focused on well defined goals – Behavior conforms to expectations of authority – Lack flexibility and can be defensive – Adopt values, beliefs, etc. of authority figures Marcia’s Identity Status Model • Identity Moratorium – Engaged in exploration of roles, values, etc. – Tend to move between conformity and rebellion – Tend to be more anxious than other statuses Marcia’s Identity Status Model • Identity achieved – Tend to have resolved questions about their own values, norms, etc. – More thoughtful and introspective – Can explain their explorations and choices – Perform well under stress – Tend to resolve moral dilemmas at high levels of moral reasoning Domains of Exploration • Gender Role/Sexual Identity • Ideological/Political/Theological • Career • Interpersonal (may be beyond gender role) Intimacy/Isolation: Emerging Adlthd • Erikson’s 6th Stage: Intimacy vs. Isolation – Forming a close and committed relationship – Beyond sexual intimacy to emotional intimacy – Based on sharing with another without losing one’s own identity – Typically is observed during emerging adulthood Postmodernism and Identity • One’s Achieved identity is – More malleable – Grounded in Situational and Temporal variables – Requires a longer course of time Ethnic Minority Identity Development • Defining Minority Status • Phenny’s Work – Stages of Ethnic Identity Development based on: • Interaction with the dominant culture • Interaction with one’s own culture • Internalization of ethnic and cultural values, beliefs, & traditions Ethnic Minority Identity Development • Cross’s Stages (Vandiver, Cross, Worrell, & Fhagen-Smith, 2002): – Pre-encounter: Assimilation & Self-Hatred – Encounter: Experience of events leading to reexamination of ethnic perspective Ethnic Minority Identity Development: Cross (cont’d) – Immersion-Emersion: deep immersion into one’s own culture and potential hatred of the other – Internalization-Commitment: self acceptance, other acceptance; bi-cultural Evaluating the Self • Perceived Self-Efficacy: The perception that some outcome can be achieved through current knowledge and skills or knowledge and skills that can be obtained Strategies for encouraging perceived self efficacy • Mastery Experiences—opportunities to succeed given challenging but attainable goals • Vicarious Learning—observing others similar to oneself acting and attaining goals Strategies for encouraging perceived self efficacy • Verbal/Social persuasion—encouragement and instructional (not evaluative) feedback • Positive Affective Environment—experiences of attempting challenging tasks with instructional not evaluative feedback; encouragement of attempting tasks, not simply succeeding; Relationship between Self-Efficacy and Identity • mood regulation, and generalized self- efficacy were (as expected) important codeterminants of late-adolescent identity among women, and men’s late adolescent identity (Lopes et al, 1992) Relationship between Self-Efficacy and Identity • It was found that identity exploration and commitment, self-efficacy, control, and responsibility were predictive of future orientation. For younger adolescents, greater perceived control and responsibility was related to a stronger future orientation. (Kerpelman & Mosher, 2004) The Self Alone • Two aspects: – Social Loneliness: number of social contacts – Emotional Loneliness: quality of social contacts • Emotional Loneliness predictive of negative outcomes – Emerging adulthood has higher levels of emotional loneliness than either adolescence or adulthood. Discussion Questions • List 4-5 terms you would use to describe yourself as you remember it during middle school. • List 4-5 terms you would use to describe yourself as you are now • Compare the two lists and describe how they are alike and how they are similar.
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