Theories of Personality Development: An Evaluation

Introduction On Personality Development

The development of personality across individual life can be observed from three different views, such as behaving, striving and present from a person (McAdams and Olson, 2010). In additional, Mc Adams and Olson, 2010, explained the evidence in infancy, a wide differences in social action patterns have predicted in the long term developmental which, clearly explained the transition from early temperament into adult dispositional traits.

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Personality Development is an important factor, as it concerned with the systematic transformation of individual’s and personalities as they move through their lives (Graziano, 2003). hence, psychologist have been interested in studying the way of human developmental process basis of an early stage in the life course, which will influence both long term stability and change.

Freudian Theory On Personality Development

In the founder of personality development theory, is the Freudian psychoanalytic theory (PAT). (Freud, 1940/1969), linked personality with id, ego and superego, he mention that id is an important part of our personality because as newborns, it allows us to get our basic needs, it is also known as our pleasure principle, id instinct demanding immediate gratification rather for a later reward, which the term is also known as “delay gratification”, while ego acts as a balance between id and superego, which is known as the reality principle, ego helps to people to understand their needs and desires, that could also harm them in a long run, and finally superego, the component of personality composed of our internalized ideals that we have acquired from our parents and from society, it provides guidelines for making judgments. Freud psychoanalytic theory was widely debate and enhance further by other theorist. (Magnavita, 2003), address that issue into two categories, the normal type of people and people who are dysfunctional. In Magnavita theory, he presented an integrative relational model that blends psychodynamic, cognitive, and systems theory to analyse and understand the behaviours , feelings and emotions, as well as techniques and modalities, especially for personality dysfunction before any proceeding any further treatment. The reason being is that Freud research, changes people concept of thinking about children’s experiences in early childhood”(Brooks, 2010). Freud believed that the symptoms of anxiety occurs in many adults were establish during their childhood experiences (Brooks, 2010). In other words, a child’s development would directly influence how one behaves as an adult. The way that the adult behaviour, as well as the way they doing things, may directly link to something that happen in their childhood, especially when the feeling of fear and anxiety (Brooks, 2010).

Psychoanalytic theory has also given psychologists a number of helpful concepts, such as the unconscious, the ego, and identity, which have become a part of every language as well as theory (Cramer, 2000).

Apart from knowing how personality is developed through individual needs as a child, and how it will affect them in a prolong period of time. In the next part of the essay, other theorist is going share about their own point of view on personality development, such as Erik Erikson psychosocial, and Alfred Adler, birth order development, as well as, how it can contribute towards personality development.

Erikson And His Theory Of Personality Development

In the late 1920s, Erik Erikson, helped to develop a program to teach art to children of Freud’s entourage. Erikson wife Joan Serson, who study psychoanalysis, convince him to join her in the same path (Cloninger, 2003). Erikson started off as a “lay analyst” because of his non medical training, not long after, he became part of Freud’s inner circle. Due to the fear, increased in anti-Semitism, Erikson and his wife decided to leave Germany for United States to expand his career (Cloninger, 2003).

In Erikson’s model of the stages of human development extends beyond childhood and adolescence to include middle and old age despite the adult years, from roughly 20 through 60, were described by only two ego stages ( Erikson, 1963). Erikson believed the individual progresses through eight psychosocial stages to establish new orientations to self and the social world over time ( Hiller and Barrow, 2010).

(Dunkel and Sefcek, 2009), in the table of Erikson eight stages of psychosocial, it shows the period in life, such as infancy ( Trust vs Mistrust), Toddlerhood (Autonomy vs Shame), Preschool ( Initiative vs Guilt), Childhood ( Industry vs Inferiority), Adolescence ( Identity vs Role confusion), Young adulthood ( Intimacy vs Isolation), “Can I Love?”, Middle adulthood ( Generatively vs Stagnation), and Late adulthood ( Integrity vs Despair).

The sequence of stages in Erikson’s theory is based on the epigenetic principle, which means that each psychosocial strength has its own period of particular importance, and may produce either a positive or a negative resolution of the challenge, and the ego resources that individual’s gain or do not gain on completion of one stage are brought with them to the next stage of development ( Kail and Cavanaugh, 2012).

Compare Freud’s Theory with Erikson’s Theory

Sigmund Freud’s psychosexual theory and Erik Erikson’s psychosocial theory are two well known theories of development. Erikson was influenced by Freud’s ideas, but his theory are differed in a number of important ways. Like Freud, Erikson believed that personality development in a series of predetermined stages (Smith, 2000/2007/2010). Unlike Freud’s theory of psychosexual stages, who proposed that if the child experienced sexual frustration in any of the five stages of psychosexual developmental stage, he or she would experience anxiety that would persist into adulthood as a neurosis, a functional mental disorder while Erikson’s explained further from what Freud have left with the impact of social experience across the whole lifespan which is also known as “psychosocial personality development”, (Smith, 2000/2007/2010),.

The first 5 stages of Erikson is similar to Freud psychosexual development ( Dunkel and Sefcek, 2009). Erikson’s last three stages deal with early, middle and later adulthood.

According to Dunkel and Sefeck, 2009 studies, they undermine the importance on the last three stages of Erikson Personality development, in the early adulthood the main issue of growth and development of identity is intimacy, which involves relationships in friendship, sex, competition and cooperation that are emphasized, and in middle adulthood, is the ability to support others and in doing so to create a legacy is the primary developmental task, during this stage generatively involves a concern for the welfare of society rather than contemned with self absorption ( the ability to create, care for, and to share are the positive outcomes of balance in middle adulthood ), the later adulthood, which is the integrity versus despair ( the sense of fulfilment throughout their life or a sense of regret and despair over a life misspent).

Alfred Alder Personality Development

Alfred Alder, an Austrian psychiatry, who joined Freud’s discussing groups in 1907. He wrote papers on organic inferiority, ( when, individual’s tries to compensate for their own defect or weakness, if the effort of compensate fails, it could lead to an inferiority complexity ) and children’s feelings of inferiority, which he claim that the child development of inferiority is due to the basic helplessness of the human infant ( Adler, 1917).

Alder examine personality development around the same time as Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, as they work hand in hand with some theories until the day when Alder reject Freud’s keep on linking personality solely on sex factors, and maintained that personality difficulties are rooted in a feeling of inferiority deriving from restrictions on the individual’s need for self assertion ( Fisher, 2001).

(Adler, 1927) emphasised the other factor that contribute factor to personality development would be the birth order, calming that it contributed significantly to the development of an individual’s style of life. where each children is treated uniquely within the family, depending on their order of birth, such the ( first child, the elder child, the second child, the middle and youngest child, etc).

Adler expanding many of his studies toward application in educational models ( Palencik, 2011). His theories on birth order was later further study other theorists.

From the perspective of the media, it explained that if the child is first born, he or she is orderly and likely to become a leader ( Lampi and Nordblom, 2008 ). In addition Lampi and Nordblom, 2008 say that individual who think that the only child, who childhood was always never going to surpassed by any of their brothers or sisters, would be more eager to achieve successful than others as they grow up, while the last born, who go through his or her entire upbringing and could not achieve as much as his or her older siblings, would not have the same equal concerned with the relative position.

(Sulloway, 1996) claims that the first borns are more conscientious than later borns at the same time as, later borns are more agreeable and extraverted, while Freese, Powell and Carr Steelman (1999), find that small differences in social attitudes between first borns and later borns. However Saroglou and Fiasse (2003) argue that it is important to recognize between middle- borns and the youngest and not simply treating both groups as later borns. Moreover, Beck, Burnet and Vosper (2006) find it a within family study that first borns score higher on dominance and later borns are more towards sociability.

Comparing Alfred Alder Personality Development Theories With Freud

( Fisher et al 2012) The similarity of Alder and Freud is, Alder believed that humans are motivated by a unconscious forces and that these forces create conflict; this conflict provides the motivation for personality formation and change. In contrast to Freud, Adler did not believe that people are primarily driven by sexual and aggressive instincts. In addition, Fisher and the other theorist says that Adler’s theory of individual psychology focus on the role of each individual person in their attempts to seek success in relation to their individual experiences in the world.

In retrospection, the specific personality qualities of an individual, which lead to individual differences between people, are not fully based on evolution, however, there are many products on the developmental factors. The developmental study of individual differences in personality provides a variety source of data for the researcher and practitioner alike to use in understanding and predicting behavior. Without the study of individual differences, there would be no clear explanation on an analysis or explanation of why people often behave or develop very differently under seemingly equivalent environmental conditions.

This essay had show that, different theorist have their own way of explaining on how personality is being developed, such as Freud’s psychoanalytic theory, the stage of development, Erikson psychosocial and the 8 stages of personality development and so on. Till recent years, personality development is widely interested by many theorist, which still lead to an endless debate.

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