Dependence of need for Self-Development and Psychological Features of Youth Age of University Students Associated with Formation of Their Self-Concept

Dependence of need for Self-Development and Psychological Features of Youth Age of University Students Associated with Formation of Their Self-Concept


A.A. Opletin, associate professor, Ph.D.
Perm national research polytechnic university, Perm

Key words: personality, self-development, self-concept, psychological features, preadult age.

Introduction. In the modern era - in the period of transition from the classic to the neoclassic type of science - educational problems of its past and future have become relevant. The strategy of modernization of the Soviet educational system presupposes creating optimal conditions for human creative self-development. The goal of harmonious development of individual under the present conditions can be achieved only based on the system realization of the pedagogical principle of individual approach.

The purpose of the study was to make a theoretical analysis of the detection of the need for self-development among boys, based on the principle of psychological features of developmental age.

Results and discussion. Addressing to the psychological features of a personality the basic changes in the self-development can be revealed (Krutetsky V.A., Nemov P.S., Petrovsky A.V., Platonov K.K. et al.).

The attitude that postulates the formation of individual self-awareness and a stable self-concept, as primary psychological processes of the preadult age, can be clearly traced in the literature (Vygotsky L.S., Kon I.S., Krutetsky V.A., Leytes N.S., Nemov R.S., et al.). The manifestation of the Ego as a representative of the self-integrity is a complex multi-system and multi-level phenomenon. N.B. Krylova assumes that ‘a personality, his/her individuality and selfness are the interconnected, inter-organized and self-improved open systems that are extremely flexible in accumulatung the experience of self-propulsion and self-accommodation, and to use this experience functionally” [10].

In particular, I.S. Kon states that the consciousness formation is a quintessence and the main output of the coming of youth age [8, p. 59]. Not going deeply into this problem in this interpretation, it should be mentioned here that, among various approaches to the awareness problem, we prefer the idea of K.N. Ventsel’, in whose psychological theory three aspects of self-awareness were distinguished, namely cognitive, emotional, and willed. All these aspects are important prerequisites for considering individual self-development at the preadult age [5].

Exactly at the preadult age, a person begins to distinguish his/her self as an object of self-cognition and self-development. The rise of self-awareness is related to person’s key attributes: will, moral attitude and feelings, and formation of ideals. This is explained by the aged-related features of a person, when the need for self-awareness and the potential upon the incorporation into society appear. At this age the ideas of self uniqueness and exclusivity are the results of further development of a youth’s self-concept, which has commenced in the previous juvenile period and shaped into an integral process in the period of youth. According to I.S. Kon, the concern about selfness ensues from the processes of getting physical puberty and social individual formation. On the one hand, biological processes are proceeding and physiologic puberty is almost achieved; a stable sexual identity is created. On the other hand, the individual self-awareness, connected to the personality character, is formed. Reflexive thinking is developing, that enables immersing in internal world, discovering a wide world of feelings, senses, and relations. The “self” comes out on a qualitatively new level of self-awareness and relations with the external world. According to I.S. Kon, the characteristics of an individual form earlier than those of identity. Psychologists state that in this age period the person’s manner of perception significantly changes, the selectivity level increases, and the reflection comes out on a new stage [9].

There is data in the literature which show that self-development, being a base for the self-awareness appearance and the self-concept formation, in the youth period is based on the personal ideas about the most important things rather than on the adherence to collective norms [3]. This positive phenomenon, in the absence of pedagogical support and help, can lead to an inadequate self-appraisal. However, psychologists consider it to be not always negative for a self-developing identity. In particular, K.A. Al’bukhanova-Slavskaya asserts that a self-developing personality should search for as much projections of the self-perception in various situations as possible, to preserve a critical attitude toward himself, instead of the strict fixation on the adequacy of self-appraisal [1]. The investigations of psychologists show that a “fitting” of different opinions and interests occurs exactly in this period of personality’s development (Vygotsky L.S., Nemov R.S., Smirnov V.E., et al). This does not diverge from the L.S. Vygotsky’s opinion on the formation of the integral self-perception at this age, since this perception is formed out of various attempts of self-“fitting” to other norms, and a concentrated personal self-concept is formed as a result [6].

A.V. Mudrik assumes that most people think about the meaning of life in this age period [13]. According to A.S. Belkin, the meaning of existence is a constant subject of person’s thoughts. The main stimulus for those thoughts is the pursuit for self-developing and cognition of the essence of human relations [2]. The integration of various processes (self-cognition, self-appraisal, and imitation) not only causes certain integrity of the self-concept, but also stimulates the activity in this direction and the pursuit for self-developing and self-determination both in individual and in social aspects. Psychologists characterize this phenomenon as a tendency towards a progressive development of the self-awareness (Andreeva A.D., Gutkina N.I., Dubrovina I.V., Kruglov B.S., Prikhozhan A.M., Snegireva T.V., et al.). For example, I.V. Dubrovina states that this period of transition to adultness is characterized not only by the acquisition of spontaneous information about own personality, but also by the prevailing process of “self-inquiry” through the communication with the external world [15]. I.S. Kon assumes that this leads to such a property as feelings of individual self-identity, continuity and unity [8]. The self-identity development stages distinguished by I.S. Kon represent the integrative self-development activity that, according to L.N. Kulikova, can be used to program the level of personality’s self-development process at this age [11].

Many stereotypes are rejected during the transitional period which is characterized by a painful revision of values. The reflection features should be attributed to the main innovations of the youth period; during this period of personality development the reflection noticeably activates. In the reflection process, a deeper self-cognition is achieved and self-regulating system is activated, that gives to a young man the feelings of autonomy and selfness. In this age period the need for self-actualization in love has a strong effect on the personality self-composition and self-concept formation. This is explained by complicated inner experiences, and cultivates the pursuit for self-developing. I.S. Kon indicates: ‘Each individual has certain natural sexual potentials, however the “scenario” of his sexual behavior, as well as the objects and ways of his love, are determined by the entire complex of conditions under which his personality has formed’ [8]. A.S. Belkin in his book "Developmental pedagogics" [2, p.166-168] gives a typology of young men that are reckoning on love issues. This classification, estimated by the author as a relative one, reveals the inhomogeneity of youth orientations in the complex and multifactorial field of human relations. This is also directly related to the problem of personality self-development as a search for a self-attitude in this unsolved problem of life.

Nevertheless, the endeavor for becoming a subject of own transformation in a certain direction, considering the increased independence at this age, should be motivated, otherwise the self-development can proceed in a spontaneous and unfocused way. L.I. Bozhovich states that a demand for a real purposeful self-development is most persistent when such an endeavor is included in the person’s value system, i.e. it is indirectly determined by the highest forms of self-motivation. The pursuit for self-development should have its own motivational power, and it should be expressed in a stable hierarchy of the person’s motivation concept [4, p.171-179].

In the recent literature, the psychological-pedagogic theory of self-concept development has been actively developed from the viewpoint of personality’s self-development concept. The problem is considered by scientists in various aspects, depending on aims and tasks of investigation. First of all, attention is paid to the study on separate factors that form the self-concept in the field of communication and activity (Anan’ev B.G., Bozhovich, L.I., Vygotsky L.S., Petrovsky A.V., et al.). Attention to a person’s self-concept is increasing along with the comprehension of a personality and its role in the world (Al’bukhanova-Slavskaya K.A., Andreev V.I., Gazman O.S., Mudrik A.V., Mukhina V.S, et al.). Serious attention is being paid to such an important component of the self-concept as self-appraisal (Kon I.S., Orlov Yu.M., Savon’ko Ye.V., Stepanov V.G., et al.). The features of personality’s self-concept development are being revealed (Kon I.S., Orlov Yu.M., Spirkina A.G., Stepanov V.G., Chesnokova I.I., Shorokhova Ye.V., Yadov Ya., et al.). The problem of self-concept development is studied in the foreign literature as well (Burns R., Gordon S., Maslow A., Rogers C., et al.). According to the I.S. Kon’s definition, the self-concept is based on the self-perception that appears as a person’s attitude to himself [9]. In the literature the self-concept is determined as a more or less stable system of person’s ideas about himself; about the respective relations with other persons and the environment. This is a product of self-awareness, appearing as an independent actor (Al’bukhanova-Slavskaya K.A., Andreev A.I., Kon I.S., Krylov A.N., Cooley C., Prikhozhan A.M., Selevko G.K., et al.). According to V.Ya. Pilipovsky, the self-concept is a dynamic system of the personal self-perception. It includes the person’s awareness of his physical, intellectual, moral, and esthetic aspects, self-appraisal and personal perception of external factors. The self-concept determines the sense of well-being and the life position of a person [14]. This approach assumes the potential involvement of a person in self-developing not only via awareness and self-perception in a new status by means of persuasion, but also via the experience of the states transition to this status formed through self-persuasion, self-awareness and self-feeling [3].

Three integral characteristics, need, endeavor and the self-concept, are the basis for the inner self-regulating mechanism [16, p.10]. The self-concept at the early youth age is actually just forming. ‘Incompleteness, openness, and future aspirations’ (Krylov A.N.) are inherent to it. This concept is a self-generating pattern that predetermines the prospects of personality’s self-development. The main self-concept components determined by the age psychological features are unstable. The cognitive component of conviction is not justified thoroughly. The emotional component is characterized largely by the affectivity to self-conviction, leading to the formation of according self-appraisal. The behavioural component, as a rule, is determined by the self-perception and the self-appraisal. In this relation, the psychologists consider self-appraisal to be an important integral component for ‘a person to determine the place in life and the life position’ (Al’bukhanova-Slavskaya K.A.). According to I.S. Kon, the life position issue at this age is closely related to the problems of social self-identification [9], that makes the self-concept of a young person to be a basis for a personality formation.

The self-concept is a complicated phenomenon. According to N.B. Krylova, it comprises the pairs “self-ideal”- “self-real”, and “self-normative”-“self-secondary dominant”. The first pair is realized in the socialization processes, the second one – in the personalization, that is important for the formation of a personal individualization. In the imaginary intersection of those pairs the self-determination mechanism acts as a starting point for the consciousness and unconsciousness relations of all self-identities to each other [10].

The pursuit for an individual construction of the self-concept is based on the manifestation of the reformative activity at this age. N.S. Leytes notes that at this age a hidden, but a huge inner work proceeds, transforming the personal activity [12]. The need for a real participation in the process of a purposeful self-development becomes more stable when the endeavor for this development will be incorporated into the personal value system, i.e. when it will be determined by the highest forms of personal motivation.

Conclusions. The literature analysis on the quoted problem has revealed sensitivity of this period for personality development with the displayed self-awareness as an active force for direct personal participation in the process. Psychologists indicate actualized self-motive power at this age with a big potential for self-awareness, self-appraisal, social self-determination as a sociomoral, independent, free personality, capable of forming the self-concept without assistance. As marked by the scientists, the basis for the student's self-developing activity - self-motive force - expressed in the activity with small social experience of youth can be spontaneous, taking away the personality from the realities of social life. With its big value, activity in self-formation as a personality can be negative for development of the personality self-concept. So the early preadult age requires various types of activity and psychological-pedagogical support.



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