Psychosocial Factors In General Psychology Essay

The term psychosocial by word shows a close relationship between psychological and social factors. The role of psychological factors in emotion and cognitive development and social factors in forming relationship plays a vital role in the growth of human development. The influence of psychosocial factors on the mental health of children is in high movements. Studies have been made on the interpersonal relationships of children at home and society. The basement relationships affected the behavior of children, both normal and abnormal.

There are certain psychological stress factors caused by the social and biological surroundings. Stressors such as loss, displacements , natural disasters, events that redefined the family situations, events that required social adaptations , childhood vulnerability in the light of parental and societal deprivation and other causes which impinged the minds of children. The most severe is the absence of the Mother, even if it is for a short span of time. Even though Ruskin Bond (lagged) missed the motherly love at a young age yet took positive adaptations to the stressors.

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Certain factors which influence the mind of children can be classified into two categories; intrinsic factors like rage, temperament, gender, and age, extrinsic factors such as children’s environment, economic setting, quality of family support. Among these factors that appeared to increase the chances of negative consequences were biological, personal, familial and environmental (Loughry, 11) [1] .

Psychosocial Factors in the Short Stories of Ruskin Bond

The characters in the short stories of Ruskin Bond (The Angry River, The Blue Umbrella and The Dust on the Mountain) are plotted with dangerous environment, life threatening circumstances, yet the author makes way for a positive adaptation to the stressors experienced. Sita the little protagonist of “The Angry River” had lost her belongings, her grandmother, their old house, her companion friend Mumta (a doll), the maple treeaˆ¦ yet chose to make a positive adaptation with the transitional objects. In “The Blue Umbrella” Binya’s umbrella, a treasured possession was stolen. Frustrations, rage, quarrel and fights were the consequences of the lost umbrella. After the climax Binya develops a sense of maturity, willing to share her treasured possession. In the last story, “The Dust on the Mountain”, unlike Sita and Binya, Bishnu is shown as a different character, experienced all the toils and sufferings at the tea stall, limestone quarries and scary ride on the old truck avoided to take a positive adaptation to the stressed dangerous environment. Homesickness pervaded him and he sought for the motherly love and the calm place.

The Characters in the three stories mentioned above had their own object relationships either with person, place or a thing. The intense effect of their relationship with the transitional object is studied under the Object relation theorist D.W. Winnicott’s concept of ‘Transitional Object’ and the transitional phenomenon of relating the self with the object.

Object Relations Theory

“Loss Makes Presence Stronger; Presence Makes the Loss Harder To Bear”

Marilyn McCabe

Human beings are made up of different behaviors, feelings, thoughts, variety of expressions and the reason behind these manipulations are evidenced by psychological theories. This varied human nature is analyzed in different ways and within psychology there are different schools of thoughts rationalizing the diverse behavior of the depressed. ( [2]

Psychoanalysis is a branch of psychology dealing with psychological or phenomenological aspects of thoughts, behavior and experience. Psychoanalysis is concerned with a study of the mind or psyche. Freud defined that, “Psychoanalysis is a part of Psychology; not of medical psychology in the old sense, not of the psychology of morbid process i.e., having an unusual interest in death or unpleasant events (Collins English Dictionary) [3] , but simply of psychology. (288)” [4] The best contribution of the psychoanalytic theorists is an experiment not on the qualitative dimension of the object relations either strong or weak. The psychoanalytic theorists have shown the ambivalence in a relationship, the admixture of love and hate, the anxiety in a relationship, the effects caused in a passion because of anxiety. All these show the quality of an attachment behavior created by children towards the desired objects. [5] Object relation theory considers the desire to form relationship between people and their objects either primary or secondary.

The origin of Object relation theory was from great psychoanalysts of England. Men like Klein, Balint, Fairburn, Winnicott and Guntrip took a break from the instinctual drive theory of Freud which stated that infants are with animal instincts such as hunger, thirst and pleasure and forming relationships takes place in later stages. Object relations theory defends this point and states that infants relate to others in the early stages and a basic premise is that forming relationships with others is primary and this drive to attach to an object is considered a major motivating force [6] . A sense of attachment begins with new objects the child finds; the child needs the object to be always close and is a defense against a depressive type of anxiety. This object can either be a small doll, a pet, or relations and these are called as Transitional objects by D.N Winnicott. The mother in an early life plays an important role in the developmental process of nurturing and fostering an understanding of the inner reality and the external world. Parents introduce both the experience of joy and gratification by allowing the child to carry the object along, and a sense of deprivation or frustration by introducing a break from the transitional object of the child.

The behavior of children after losing a good object relation causes entry into emotional world of anxiety, mental persecution and disintegration. Marilyn McCabe insists that the “relationship” with the lost love object endures; the pain of loss never goes away entirely [7] . Psychoanalytic theorists have analysed that early days experience will have its later effect when there is a threat for a deprived type of anxiety. (3) [8] The child is allowed through certain phases of subjective experiences relating to the transitional objects, phenomenon like projection, splitting, deprivation takes place and there are some terms to be defined in relation to the transitional object relation.


Object- this can be a person, thing or a place to which a subject relates, exhibiting as a good object satisfying the needs and desires or as a bad object causing a type of anxiety and frustration.

Object relation- the relationship of the subject with the object, primarily the mother is the first object projected to the child.

Transitional object- a sense of attachment begins with the new objects the child finds; the child needs the object to be always close and is a defense against a depressive type of anxiety. This object either a small doll, a pet, or relations are called as Transitional objects.

Individuation- the transition objects helps the child to develop a concept of individualization. A kind of self is created and the child knows that it is separate and something individual.

Attachment – the desire which the child creates towards the object in which the absence of it will cause depression or a type of lost anxiety.

Splitting- the act of separating the object from the subject, the child thinks that mother is the primary object and its absence exhausts a feel of detachment. Splitting occurs when the child is happened to face a kind of longing towards the loved object.

Nostalgia- memory of the lost object and the absence felt in the mind of the child.

The use of transition objects continues throughout as children associate with objects even though they are inanimate and not omnipotent. Children form a binding relationship with the object by conversing with the toys or doll. Transition objects are instilled with meanings and memories which later reveals the degree of effect created. The object to which the child engages has a defining relationship and it defines both the object and the self. The degree of attachment towards the object varies and the ‘treasured possession’ has a great degree of effect on the ego if that object is lost. This interpretation of relationships both consciously and unconsciously lays the basement for later relationship both personal and the society. [9]

Analyzing the life of Ruskin Bond the concept of ‘good-enough mothering’ was not proper. The loss of an object played a crucial role. At the age of ten Bond was filled with incidents which took him to traumatic conditions. Separation caused great pains in his tender age. Death, separation, lack of parental care, though his father cared a lot, the love of the primary object was missing. Incidents which Bond has surpassed are portrayed in the short stories. Psychoanalytically Bond’s childhood experience should have created a great degree of effect, but there is an optimistic living in Bond’s life. Most of the short stories of Ruskin Bond have variety of personal experiences depicted in the role of his young protagonists.


Psychosocial concepts and its related review.

Displaced Children are generally subject to psychosocial factors and mental health problems. The impact of factors affecting the peace of young minds still seeks for a solution. More recently researches have been conducted on the coping behaviour of children. Maryanne Loughry, and Carola Eyber (2003) had presented a review on the effects of psychosocial factors and mental health problems faced by children. A list of features causing stress and a solution to resolve the stressors are explained. There is a collection of research abstract underlying the effect of psychosocial factors on children’s mind. Based on the psychosocial factors prevailing today, abstracts have dealt with the positive adaptations of children during separation, loss, death and deprivation.

Amy Hepburn, Jan William and Tanya Wolfram (2004) in their field guide brought to light the need for recovery from psychosocial factors and its defects resulting in the depressed experiences of the children. Hepburn, researched on the conflicts and dangerous occurrences experienced by the children, making them more vulnerable. The children experience loss, separation and humiliation this leads to a decline in their playing, learning and their relationship with the society. Amy Hepburn has focused on the protection and specific care relationship programs to prevent children from traumatic events.

Ayla Michelle Demir (2012) in her essay “Examine the Nature Creativity, Using Theories of Melanie Klein” had referred to one of the works by Melanie Klein; a British psychoanalyst. In order to understand the creative and destructive behavior of children, Klein had explained her work using a fable, “The Child and Sorcery: A Lyric Phantasy in Two Parts (1917)”. In this story a naughty boy became adamant because the good object; the mother, asked him to do his homework and his disobedience made his mother’s temper rise. The boy became unruly and showed his destructive nature by breaking and damaging the furniture and abuses a pet. The damaged objects haunt him and seek revenge against him. This results in the boy being troubled. Ayla explains through the Kleinian psychoanalytic concept that, the inner mind when projected outwards gives a chance for others to ill-treat the self. The severed relation (between the mother and son) created a mental war and the severed relationship is restored when there is a reconciliation of the mother – son relationship.

A research paper by Brian Taggart (2007), targets the ascendancy of technology in architecture and designing. Traditional designing is no more followed with the emergence of technology. Dominance in technology aided designing and the fading away of the conventional mode is compared with Winnicott’s concept of Transitional Objects and the Transitional Phenomenon by Brian. According to Brian, the intermediate space i.e. (between inner and outer reality) is said to be the space where the idea for creation of a transitional object arises. Brian concludes that the ascendancy of technology should in the same way, enhance conceptual designing in architecture and not substitute conventional methodology.

Karen Zelen in her review of McCabe’s “The Paradox of Loss: Toward a Relational Theory of Grief”; speaks of the death of McCabe’s husband and expounds the pain caused by the lost object and its endurance till death. Karen criticized that, there is lack of psychoanalytic qualities in the book, though McCabe had used the theory of loss. The death of her husband that had caused annihilation and distress should be perceived as universal rather than subjective. Karen reveals to us the childhood days of McCabe were not harsh and traumatic, therefore the one traumatic event is magnified and put on a pedestal. The pain and distress may last for a longer time, but will not be as immense until death.

Sherry (2012) Turkle an Internet culture Researcher was richly influenced by George Goethals’ lecture on Object Relation Theory especially with relation to Winnicott’s Transitional Objects of Childhood concept. Turkle explained the impact of earlier experiences on later days and the development of a joyful, creative and artistic attitude is made possible based primarily on prior relationships. Winnicott stated that, throughout life, the human mind moves from one object to another and its absence is felt greater, depending on the depth of the relation. Turkle researched the concept of relationship with the object with reference to the influence of computers on human beings. The relationship between man and computers is so innate that there is oneness felt. Turkle’s finding shows the strong influence of and relationship with computers reflects on man’s relationship with one’s self and the world.

Children’s literature and related review

Gamble and Yates (2002) appeal to the readers in specific. It explores some of the key aspects related to Children’s Literature and teaching and learning with the child. The text renders a wide scope to explore the content in Children’s Literature. Better exposures of narratology and textual analysis for the teachers are available. Gamble and Yates have focused on developing the major genres of Children’s Fiction. Each sub-genre and book related to it is listed, this helps the reader expand and develop knowledge in the given field. The significance of child characters and their role in portraying the real world in different scenarios facilitate to explore more on Children’s Literature. The last chapters deal with the background of traditional, realistic and fantasy stories: its use and relevance in the classroom perspectives.

Carol Lynch-Brown and Carl M. Tomlinson (1999) have designed the book, explaining the requirements of a reader in selecting, reading and evaluating Children’s literature. The elements, aspects, definitions, concepts and other divisions are extensively dealt with. Explanation of genre in Children’s Literature is given in detail and a long list of books related to the specific genre is provided. Significance of Children’s literature in curriculum and the necessity for developing teaching strategies in schools is emphasized.

Bibliography for review

Lynch-Brown, Carol, and Carl M. Tomlinson. Essentials of Children’s Literature.3rd ed. n.p: Allyn & Bacon, 1999. Print.

Demir, Ayla Michelle. “Kleinian Psychoanalytic Object Relations theories on the Nature of Creativity.” N.p.,2012. Web. 14 Sep 2012.

Hepburn, Amy,Jan Williamson,Tanya Wolfram. Separated Children Care & Protection of Children in Emergencies A Field Guide. Save the Children Federation, Inc, 2004. Print.

Gamble, Nikki, and Sally Yates. Exploring Children’s Literature: Teaching the Language and Reading of

Fiction. London: Paul Chapman Pub., 2002. Print.

Loughry, Maryanne, and Carola Eyber. Psychosocial Concepts in Humanitarian Work with Children: A

Review of the Concepts and Related Literature. Washington, DC: National Academies, 2003.Print.

Taggart, Brian. “Transitional Objects .” International Association of Society of Design Research (2007).


Turkle, Sherry. “Transitional Objects.” Weblog post. Http:// N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Aug. 2012.

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