An Investigation of Self-Descriptions Based on Data Collected From Two Participants of Differing Age
This research paper investigates the self-descriptions of two
participants in the light of the findings of Morris Rosenberg (1979).
Rosenberg suggested that younger children usually describe themselves
in physical conditions, and older children/adults have a tendency to
use character and relationship qualities.
Two participants were interviewed using a semi-structured style and
the information obtained was divided into the four categories
suggested by Rosenberg, either physical, character, relationships or
inner. The information from the two participants was then contrasted
to the findings of Rosenberg. The theory of locus of self-knowledge
was also explored, which Rosenberg claimed changed from outer to inner
relatedness, the older the individual gets.
My findings did not entirely agree with Rosenberg’s conclusions that
with age there is a move away from physical descriptions, but there
did appear a shift from locus of self-knowledge from parents to
oneself, as age increased.
This study explores the self-descriptions of two individuals in the
context of the conclusions reached by Morris Rosenberg (1979) who
originally study the work of Bannister and Agnew (1977). Rosenberg
suggests that young children describe themselves in terms of
physicality, activities and behaviour, while older children/adults use
character and relationships, a more psychological perspective.
Rosenberg’s study involved interviewing a group 8–18 year olds
selected from 25 schools in a random procedure. He then classified
the answers to the question he asked these students “Who am I” into
four groups, these were: Physical – descriptions of features and
activities, Character – descriptions of personal characteristics,
personality, Relationships – descriptions of interpersonal traits and
relationships with others, Inner – descriptions of inner thoughts,
feelings, desires, knowledge of oneself.
Rosenberg’s study revealed that descriptors of younger children
generally were physical in activity and characteristic, while older
children used more character descriptors to identify themselves. He
suggests that the older child refers more to relationships and inner
qualities when describing the self.
Rosenberg also studied another feature of self-development, which he
called “the locus of self-knowledge”. This involved the ability of a
person to develop a self-governing sense of oneself, unconnected from
figures in authority, especially parents. Rosenberg’s questioning
sought to establish who knew the children better, themselves or their
parents. He discovered that younger children were more likely to rely
on another person as a guide...