Identify factors that could affect the individuals self concept, and explain how these might affect them (P3) and (M3)

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Unit 6 – Human Lifespan Development                                                          

Identify factors that could affect the individuals self – concept, and explain how these might affect them (P3) and (M3)

Self-concept means our knowledge of who we are. Our self-concept includes:

  • Self-esteem – how highly we value our skills and abilities
  • Self-image- how we see ourselves given the reactions of other people

Self-concept is important for the following reasons:

  • Our view of ourselves can motivate us to do things, or stop us from doing things, e.g. doing well at school or at sport.
  • Our view of ourselves can create a feeling of social confidence or cause us to feel anxious with other people.
  • Our view of ourselves can mean that we experience happiness or unhappiness from life experiences.
  • Our view of ourselves can help us lead a successful and enjoyable life, or it can lead us into trouble and difficulties in coping with life.

There are many factors that could affect an individual’s self-concept. These are;

  • Age – age makes a very big difference to the way children can describe themselves and the way adults think about their lives, because self-concept develops due to social influences. Your self-concept will grow and change as you grow older.
  • Appearance – somewhere between 10 and 12 years of age, children start to work out how they fit in with others: do they look good or not, are they popular with others or not? Children will also start to analyse the ways in which they are like or not like others.

The physical shape of our body, height, weight, hair, eye and skin colour all have an influence on self-image. If we think we look good, then we have a positive self-image. If we think that we do not look attractive, we may have a negative self-image. A negative self-image may make us feel bad or cause us to have low self esteem.

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The role of culture and the media in influencing our ideas about appearance

What we think ‘looks good’ depends on the culture and the beliefs of people around us, for example, body shape. One hundred years ago, being a bit fat was considered attractive in European culture. A thin woman was seen as poor and unhealthy: a fat man was considered to be someone who was successful. This began to change in the 1950s and 1960s when looking young and thin became the goal to aim for. By the 1980s, the ‘Barbie doll look’ became a model for ...

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This is a good essay that describes a wide range of factors that can affect self-concept. However, the writer fails to actually discuss and explain how they impact and effect self-concept - which the essay title suggests. The work could be enhanced by developing these explanations and also looking at some theoretical ideas to back up what they have written. ***