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.
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.
‘Who am I’ questionnaire ( Appendix A)
Audio recording equipment
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...
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