A small scale investigation into the development of ‘self concept’ in children, based on the findings of Rosenberg (1979), using 2 participants of different age ranges.
This investigation looks at the self descriptions of two child participants and how they develop with age using the findings of Rosenberg (1979) as a reference. Rosenberg found that the self descriptions of younger children, physical qualities were more prevalent, whereas older children focused on their inner beliefs and character attributes. An open ended style of interview was used to question the two participants.
The answers given were then categorised into the attributes found by Rosenberg; Physical (P), Character(C), Relationship(R), and Inner (I). Rosenberg’s theory of ‘Locus of Self’ in which the extent to which a child relies on others when judging themselves, was also investigated, with Rosenberg’s findings that as a child ages the more self aware they become as a resource. My findings agreed with Rosenberg’s, in that with age , self concept develops however my findings did not coincide with Rosenberg’s beliefs that self locus shifts from others to self with age, with the investigation showing no change .
The study investigates the self-descriptions of two children of differing ages, and looks at them in relation to the findings of Rosenberg (1979). Rosenberg believed that younger children used physical activities and characteristics to describe themselves whereas older children used their relationship and parts of their inner feelings to describe themselves. In Rosenberg’s study he interviewed a selection of 8 -18 year olds, randomly chosen from 25 schools in Baltimore, USA.
He asked the participants to describe themselves using a “who am I” lay out. The answers were then explored further to include feelings of pride/shame, their similarities/differences to others, etc. He then categorised the answers into Physical (P), character (C), Relationships (R), and Inner attributes (I). Using these categories he looked for common patterns across the age ranges. Method Design The study is intended to replicate that of Rosenberg (1979), using a questionnaire (Appendix A), designed by the Open University, similar to that of Rosenberg.
The questionnaire will produce answers to the statement ‘Who am I’? , producing a list of self descriptors about each child. The answers gathered would ultimately be used and characteristics into one of the four groups found by Rosenberg. (Appendix B) Following this, using the completed questionnaire, a series of open ended questions based on the answers provided were pursued to further explain the self perceptions. This provided information regarding self concept, and its development and social determination.
This would help elaborate and hoped to find reasoning to Rosenberg’s ‘locus of self knowledge’ Participants Two children took part. One female, one male. The female is age 8 years old, and attends primary school. The male is a 16 year old secondary school student. First names were used throughout the investigation. The researchers were unknown to the participants. Materials ‘Who am I’ questionnaire ( Appendix A) Pen Audio recording equipment Procedure The participants were aware of the nature of the study and its purposes.
They were informed that there were no right or wrong answers. The interviews were carried out within the school locale and within the normal schooling hours. The 8 year old was interviewed in a building adjacent to her school, in which she took part in P. E regularly there. The 16 year old was interviewed in a small interview room opposite the secretary’s office. During the interviews a sound recordist and a producer were present as well as a classroom assistant in the young girl’s interview.
The participants were asked to compete a list of self descriptors headed ‘Who am I’, to which an open ended series of questions structured around the ‘who am I’ answers, followed to help elaborate. The participants were thanked for their help with the study. Results The results of the questions ‘Who am I’ were categorised into one of the four of Rosenberg’s categories. (Appendix B) and then the totals were added for each category. These totals were in turn, worked into percentages. These percentages are shown in a chart. (Appendix C). The percentage scores for the category physical decreases from 100% to 45% across the 8 year difference. Participant A, Annie scored 100% in physical attributes. None of the participants’ answers were interpreted as scoring in the characteristic or relationships categories, but participant B, Adam scored the majority, 55% of his answers in the ‘inner ‘section. These results collated would concur with Rosenberg’s findings that with age, ones self descriptors move away from physical attributes to more personal beliefs.
However the findings failed to produce evidence to correspond with Rosenberg’s locus of self knowledge. The younger participant believed that her mother and teachers were the source of information when asked about her schooling etc, as too did the older participant, which is not in keeping with Rosenberg’ original findings that with age we are able to rely on our own idea of self rather than another authoritative person, like parents or teachers.
This small scale investigation has not wholly produced the results hoped for. The conclusions from the self descriptors were that physical traits were prominent in both ages but more so in that of the younger participant. They showed with age a child switches to more personal inner believes and desires, which to an extent would assume that Rosenberg’s findings were correct, although our sample only looks at two participants. The results of the locus of self knowledge questions did not however concur with that of Rosenberg as he put forward the notion that with age we switch from getting knowledge of one selves from authoritative figures to believing that we ourselves are the key.
The results showed that both participants had yet to sway away from gaining that information from parents etc. The questions regarding ‘who knows you better’, were centred round appropriate situations like at school, a teacher. Participant one showed a slight understanding, in that she answered, it depends what they said (16. 28), showing, perhaps that she thought she would know better. But this was not exclusive to all the questions. Difficulties in reproducing the study were apparent, as such a small sample was analysed, the results could not be over generalised.
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A Small Scale with Children. (2018, Oct 30). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/a-small-scale-with-children-essay