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An investigation of self description and the locus of self-knowledge: a comparison study based on the findings of Rosenberg (1979)

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An investigation of self -description and the locus of self-knowledge: a comparison study based on the findings of Rosenberg (1979) Abstract This comparison study investigated the self-description and locus of self-knowledge of two children, aged 8 and 16, based on previous research by Rosenberg (1979). Rosenberg's study resulted in findings supporting the idea that younger children describe themselves more in physical attributions and this changes with age to more description of character and inner attributions of the self. A list of 'I' statements written by participants and semi-structured interviews were used to obtain data from participants. Collected data was coded and analysed and compared with findings of Rosenberg. The locus of self-knowledge data gained from the interviews were also analysed and compared with supporting evidence that as children mature their locus of self-knowledge shifts from other people to the self. Results of this study were similar to Rosenberg's and therefore support his study. Introduction Psychologists such as Piaget involved in research of children's development have been studying the processes and influence of forming their identity. Identity is believed to be an ongoing process starting at young age and establishing itself throughout the childhood and adulthood. ...read more.


When finished, the interviewer would then take the sheet and read out every statement and ask additional questions in relation to it. Annie has written 5 statements and was able to answer all additional questions without any problems. Adam has written 9 statements and was able to answer all additional questions without any problems. The interview with Annie took about 20 minutes; the interview with Adam took about 30 minutes. Results The collected data presented in form of 'I' statements were coded and categorized into 4 groups according to Rosenberg's categories of self-description. These categories were Physical, Character, Relationships and Inner (see Appendix 2). A percentage for each category was calculated for each participant. Annie - analysis results: P C R I Participant: Annie Age: 8 Sex: F 3 2 column totals Overall total = 5 60 40 Percentages (column total / overall total x 100) Adam - analysis results: P C R I Participant: Adam Age: 16 Sex: M 3 2 1 3 column totals Overall total = 9 33 23 11 33 Percentages (column total / overall total x 100) ...read more.


Some statements could be placed in more than one category group. There is also the danger of over generalising the descriptions. Very little information was available about the participants, such as their ethnic background and nationality which may influence the results. We must consider the ability to express oneself vocally, especially considering the younger participant where the decreased ability of expression may have played an important role in describing herself. Further research shall try to avoid methodological issues highlighted. It would be interesting to compare studies of children from different ethnic backgrounds and nationalities as well as a longitudinal study with the same participants to see if their self-description and locus of self knowledge changes over time. Conclusion The conclusion of this study is that children mature at different ages and together with that their ability of self description increases. Self description changes from physical attributes in younger children to more character and inner attributes in older children. The locus of self-knowledge changes over time and shifts from other adults to the self. Though this study has shown some important issues in researching the concepts of locus of self-knowledge and self-description, it shows as a good indicator identity development in children. ...read more.

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