Casual Factors and Influences in the Development of Personality Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Personality and Personality Disorders

Causal Factors and Influences in the Development of Personality

Personality Development

Personality refers to the characteristic pattern or behavioral style of a person as manifested by his external and internal properties (IGNOU, 2012). These properties are distinct and unique to every person. His external properties are directly and outwardly observed, such as his dress, speech, actions, postures, habits and gestures. His internal properties are overt, such as motives, beliefs, intentions and feelings that can only inferred by others. An individual's personality can, therefore, be perceived and shaped by the observations and inferences made from the outside according to his response patterns to outside stimuli (IGNOU).

Concept and Criteria, Nature of Personality

The concept of personality is derived from the person's characteristic responses (IGNOU, 2012). It is derived in three ways. The first is by subjective impressions made in outsiders by the person's response pattern. The second is by the objective description of his overt responses, open to empirical research. And the third is by the organismic view whereby his personality is seen as the inner pattern of his characteristics. This means that personality resides in the person; the psycho-social systems of adaptation are organized; personality is dynamic, not static; the organizational pattern within determines how far and in what way he can adjust to his environment; and that adjustment is unique to him alone (IGNOU).

The organismic view establishes the four fundamental qualities of personality, which comprise its nature (IGNOU, 2012). These are consistency, the development of personality structure, potential for change, and integration. Consistency or stability means that a person's style of action can easily be identified in most every situation because of his consistent characteristics or traits. The development of his personality structure means that from birth, his interactions with the environment builds or alters his mental structure progressively. The parts of his mental structure also becomes differentiated until they become an integrated whole. Contrary to earlier concepts about the rigidity of the human personality, humanistic theories contend and have shown that it is not only capable of organization but also of change. And integration or organization is part of the natural and normal process of personality development. As a matter of fact, disorganization of functions of parts constitutes a diseased condition (IGNOU).

Causal Factors that Influence Personality Development

Personality grows from the moment of conception through its genetic inputs and the provision of the cultural environment (IGNOU, 2012). But individual personalities differ because of the inherent differences within each and the different resources and conditions of stimulation presented by the environment. The major factors, which influence the development of personality, are heredity and environment. By heredity, personality experts say a person inherits certain tendencies towards a particular structure and to function in a certain manner. The tendency towards a particular structure can be in acquiring a certain body weight; a general body type; sex; appearance; and some internal organic structure. There may also be a tendency to behave in certain ways as a natural response from a predisposition; by sensory efficiency; by operation of the "vegetative system;" by the functioning of the endocrine system; the rate of physical growth; and through a predisposition to certain traits or characteristics (IGNOU).

The environment begins asserting its influence from the womb (IGNOU, 2012). Some of the environmental factors are rearing parents, regularity, parent-child interaction, sibling relations, neighborhood, peer group, school, and mass media. Rearing parents are a factor in that interactions between the infant and the parents, especially the mother, symbolize care and affection that help develop a sense of security in the person as an infant. Regularity in feeding builds basic trust in the world as represented by the tending parent. Irregular feeding or drinking builds mistrust. Rigid toilet training also leads the child to develop doubts and shame, while easy training develops autonomy. Parent-child interaction turns social in that the child begins to develop his individual and social self. At this point, he develops any of the many types of relationship according to the interaction. These home types are rejecting, over-protective, with dominating or submissive parents, harmonious or well-adjusted, accepting, with parents playing with the child, and logical or scientific in approach. Sibling relations are either supportive or frustrating. An only-child family is often over-protective and self-centered. There are issues concerning birth order as well. The neighborhood is the first larger environment the child or person gets exposed to. He normally mixes with those who are most similar to him. This experience introduces him to new or different family styles. The neighbors are often less demanding and more objective of him. He forms or becomes part of a peer group, consisting of those who share his characteristics or preferences. Through this group, he learns to cooperate, take turns, and delay his wishes. He adjusts his behavior according to the norms of the group in order to be accepted. The importance of this group remains as a factor throughout the life of the person, changing only with time and his levels of maturity. At any time, he tries to live up to the reputation he builds in this group. School is the first formal social institution of which he becomes part. In it, he learns punctuality, regularity of tasks, and attention to schedule of work and play. Part of his classroom education is learning authority, respect for rules and regulations. This is also when he begins to compare what is taught in school and what is practiced at home. And mass media communicate to him the styles and demands of many sub-cultures within the total culture. The diversity of cultures often creates tension in him and his ego must resolve the tension (IGNOU).

Types of Personality

Psychological researchers Carl Jung, Katherine C. Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myer formulated four main personality type indicators (Steele & Young, 2011; Murie, 2010; Zardus et al., 2011). These four are extrovert or introvert, sensing or intuitive, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving. These types are used to determine career suitability, employee management and relationships. Being extroverted or introverted depends on how one's energy source is used. An extrovert loves the crowd, large gatherings and people in general. He tends to seek social situations. An introvert, on the other hand, is happy enough being alone. He often finds company draining and wants to be alone to ponder and recharge lost energy. Sensing or intuitive refers to plans of action. A sensing person wants to think logically, using concrete evidence and inputs. He is focused on what is currently happening. In contrast, an intuitive person prefers not to be burdened with too many details and makes decisions, based on gut feelings. The thinking or feeling person proceeds similarly. A thinking person analyzes everything logically, making sure there are no uncertainties and no errors. A thinking person avoids confrontations and arguments and refuses to discuss his feelings. A feeling person, on the other hand, openly expresses his feeling, devotion and passion, sometimes to an extreme point. He tends to please people and is viewed as an emotional person. And judging or perceiving persons relate with rules differently. A judging person is comfortable with rules and regulations. He easily sticks to them. He plans ahead and finishes what he has started. On the other hand, a perceiving person is more spirited and easy-going. He makes impulsive decisions sometimes without careful thought. He follows his mood in accomplishing his tasks (Steele & Young, Zardous et al., and Murie).

Personality Disorders

A personality disorder consists of psychiatric conditions wherein the person's long-standing behaviors, emotions and thoughts greatly deviate from the expectations of his culture (PubMed Health, 2010). This deviation incurs him serious problems at work and in relationships. The general types of personality disorders are grouped into three according to their clinical similarities. These are Cluster A, Cluster B, and Cluster C A group follows for personality disorders not otherwise specified, mixed and of unusual patter or Personality NOS. Cluster A includes paranoid, schizoid, and schizotypal personality disorders, described as odd and eccentric. Cluster B includes histrionic, narcissistic, antisocial and borderline personality disorders, described as dramatic, emotional or erratic. Cluster C includes avoidant, dependent, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders, described as anxious, apprehensive and fearful (PubMed Health).

The Fourth Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders lists the 10 specific personality disorders as paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal, histrionic, narcissistic, antisocial, borderline, avoidant, dependent and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders (PubMed Health, 2010). The paranoid personality is typically suspicious, rigid and argumentative and constantly on his guard. His condition is not psychotic. The schizoid personality is unable to form healthy social relationships and is indifferent towards such relationships. He shows little need for love and a sense of belonging. This is considered the precursor to schizophrenia. The schizotypal personality is reclusive, oversensitive, and eccentric. He has odd thoughts, perceptions and speech. His condition may be genetically similar to schizophrenia. The histrionic personality is immature, emotionally unstable and dramatic. He seeks attention and has poor sexual adjustment. The narcissistic personality…

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