Monday, April 22, 2013

Altruism in Society: Child Abuse Prevention

To view power point presentation: Altruism in Society

Altruism in Society
{Collaborated by E. Noori, T. Norton, R. Rinaudo, C. Swarmer, and A. Thompson}

Child abuse is a prevalent issue in the United States. In 2011, the number of child victims was 676,569 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012). Children under the age of one totaled the largest percentage of this number. It is vital to provide new mothers with information to aid in the prevention of child abuse. As a team, we propose implementing a mandatory program for new mothers. This program would educate women on child development, health, and parenting strategies. Altruism is a behavior aimed at helping others without personal gain (Wood, Wood, & Boyd, 2011). The mandatory education program is an example of an altruistic behavior.   

Child abuse constitutes the physical, emotional, or sexual mistreatment or act of a child. “Child abuse and neglect is a widespread problem in American society; child of any age, sex, race, religion and socioeconomic background can fall victim to maltreatment” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1999, p. 1). Child abuse is dated back to biblical and mythological times. “It would suffice to recall the stories of Abraham and Isaac, Moses and Medea, and King Nimrod of Babylon who began the “slaughter of the innocence” that killed 70,000 newborns (Solomon, 1973, p. 773). Killing defective children was a custom that was permitted through a ceremony called Wasser Weihe andinfanticide has been reported as a regular feature of numerous cultures including, Eskimo, Polynesian, Egyptian, African, American Indian, and Australian” (Solomon, 1973, p. 773).

The phenomenon of child abuse began with urbanization, industrialization, and technology. Children were suddenly considered valuable and an asset to society. It was not until the nineteenth century that the concern for child safety is established in the United States through the first Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Children (SPCC). In 1974, The Child Abuse and Prevention and Treatment Act are established (CAPTA). CAPTA was amended to form the Emergency Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Services Program. Grants were provided to fund programs including “comprehensive emergency services, public information and education, improvement of services to substance abuse-affected families, and multi-disciplinary/interdisciplinary training” (Department of Health and Human Services, 1999, p. 1). 

In 1983, the month of April became the first National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The 20th anniversary of child abuse prevention month occurred in 2003. The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act define child abuse and neglect as any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretakers who result in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation. Parents do not have the right to abuse children. Parents should give of themselves unconditionally for their children and will never intentionally make their lives difficult. There are many cases in which after a divorce parents vent their anger out on their children. This is unreasonable and irrational. Abuse is to treat a person cruelly or violently. There are many types of abuse such as physical, mental, emotional and neglect. Child abuse takes place in socioeconomic ranks, across every racial and cultural region, in every religion, and all rank of education. Child abuse leaves painful and permanent emotional or physical scars. In 2010 a predictable 905,000 children were sufferers of mistreatment within the United States. This means that 12 children per 1000 are victimized. 13,950 children in the United States died from abuse or neglect between 2001 and 2009. An estimated 2000 children will die from abuse or neglect this year 2013. Children who have experience with child abuse are 60% likely to be arrested as juveniles, 30% likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30% more likely to commit aggressive misdemeanor. Pimps take advantage of runaways. They control 50% of the children used for prostitution in the United States. Minors are subjugated for financial gain and the sexual satisfaction of the exploiters and of their clients. An abused child of today can be the criminal of tomorrow.

Persuasion is the “process by which a message induces change in beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors” (Myers, 2010, p. 230). The purpose of the mandatory parent education classes is to persuade new mothers to take a different action than abuse a child. The elements of persuasion are each important in campaigns. One element used in the parenting education classes campaign is the message. The message is the information shared. The message can come in different forms. For example, a message can focus on reasoning or emotion. Examples would be statistics (reasoning) and stories (emotion). The message depends on the type of person it is meant for. Well - educated or analytical people respond best to rational appeals (Myers, 2010). Thoughtful and involved audiences respond to reasoned arguments whereas uninterested audiences respond best based on his or her liking of the communicator. Emotions are important in relation to a message of persuasion. A message associated with positive emotions enhances positive thinking and messages associated with negative emotions usually entice fear. These fear – framed messages work best when used to prevent a bad outcome rather than promote a good outcome.

Playing in an individual’s fear is not always the best method. The primacy effect and recency effect are found in the element of message. Primacy effect states that information presented first usually has more influence (Myers, 2010). This is true when two views are presented within a reasonable amount of time from each other. Recency effect states that information presented last usually has more influence (Myers, 2010). This is true when there is a period between the two presentations. These two effects are important when presenting a message. The message used in the child abuse prevention campaign is the consequences of abuse and methods of preventing abuse. This message is best given as statistics and stories, thus stimulating the audience’s reasoning and emotions. 

A second element of persuasion is the method of the message. This explains how the message is delivered to the audience. There are different channels that a message may be delivered. These include face – to - face, signs, documents, and the media. The media is not the major influence on an individual; contact with others is. However, spoken appeals are not necessarily the most persuasive method either (Myers, 2010). There are several channels in which to deliver the child abuse prevention message. Because the primary focus of the campaign is education classes, the best method of delivery is face to face. This would include classroom lectures on topics of interest such as statistics, stories, and general information. Printed documents may supplement the lectures; giving the audience visual information as well. Using a combination of both methods ensures the audience is given different stimulation to receive the message. 

The third element used in this campaign is the audience. This element explains who is receiving the message. The self esteem of the audience plays an important role in the receipt of the message. Individuals with low self esteem are hard to persuade. This is because these individuals are slower to comprehend messages. Individuals with high self esteem comprehend messages. However, these individuals usually remain confident of his or her opinions. Individuals with moderate self esteem are the easiest audience to persuade. Attitudes are easily changeable during certain years of development. These years are the teens and early twenties. Attitudes formed during this period continue through middle adulthood. This does not mean that older generations cannot be persuaded. However, it is harder to persuade these generations. It is important to understand the audience targeted. Most new mothers are teens and young adults. Although these mothers may be easy to persuade with the campaign, methods to target older women need to be considered as well.

The use of bringing awareness to mothers by providing education is highly justified with the use of altruistic behavior. Altruistic behavior is to have complete selflessness about one another and as a mother feels that her child is abused she also wants to help others mothers she may never meet have the education she overlooked (Myers, 2010). When one mother shares her story of child abuse, she tends to share with others with the use of social exchange theory. Social exchange theory helps to motivate one to share with another with the use of separating cost with reward (Myers, 2010). Because the cost a child suffers from child abuse is so huge, one mother does what she needs to do to spread the message. According to the social exchange theory the cost of not spreading the message leads to punishment and in this case the punishment involves a child getting abused. One mother does not want another to feel the pain of witnessing abuse on her own child, but with the use of empathy one mother has the opportunity to reap the rewards of helping other mothers and children from experiencing the same pain. Another motivation for altruistic behavior is to feels socially accepted by others. When a person feels socially accepted for courageous acts of awareness, he or she feels that he or she has achieved what others expect from him or her. Not always do people feel that they are doing the right thing by discussing or bringing awareness to others, and this could be that the cost overrides the benefits. If a person does not feel that he or she could feel rewarded internally or externally from speaking up against child abuse the odds of him or her helping in spreading awareness comes to a halt. Social exchange and altruistic behavior go together and the motives for the education need to have greater rewards rather than consequences. Therefore, providing the correct information could increase the chances of minimizing child abuse.

Intervention of child abuse is the primary prevention method of stopping abuse before it can occur (Bethea, 1999). There are many aspects of intervention that can be implemented on many levels beginning with increasing the worth of the child.  Other aspects include increasing economic assistance, discouraging corporal punishment,  access to affordable health care, proper coordination of social services, accurate psychological care, alcohol and drug treatment, childcare cost within means, and avoidance of unwanted children (Bethea, 1999). 

A child’s worth is vital in the avoidance of child abuse. Programs are available to guide a family toward a positive and fulfilling parent and child relationship (DePanfilis, 2006). If parents can learn strategies while their children are young they can understand behavioral norms, concerns, and how to deal with them instead of acting out in an abusive manner.

            Increasing economic self-sufficiency produces a comfortable family life, and the eases ability to use resources that are available for support will create an environment for a sense of worth for a family. Encouragement to avoid corporal punishment may produce the desire to seek social services and counseling to find effective parenting ideas. Affordable health care can assist in the ability to have accurate psychological diagnosis, along with the treatment of alcohol and drug treatment, and ability to obtain birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancies. These intervention methods are only a portion of the recommendations to intervene before child abuse occurs.

Child abuse is a prevalent issue in the United States. It is vital to work to prevent child abuse to protect the children. Child abuse can be damaging to the child by lowering his or her self esteem and leading him or her to behaviors such as fighting, consuming drugs or alcohol, prostitution, or suicide. Therefore, child abuse should be prevented before it has a chance to occur. Implementing mandatory parenting education classes for new mothers is a good start. Careful planning should be taken when implementing these programs. One must consider the message, method, and audience. These elements are vital concerning the success of the campaign.


Bethea, L. (1999). Primary prevention of child abuse. American Family Physician, 59(6), 1577-1585. Retrieved from

DePanfilis, D. (2006). Child Neglect: A Guide for Prevention, Assessment, and Intervention. Retrieved from

Myers, D. (2010). Social psychology (10th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw - Hill.

Solomon, T. (1973). History and Demography of Child Abuse. Pediatrics, 51(4), 773-776.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (1999). Blending Perspectives and Building Common Ground: A Report to Congress on Substance Abuse and Child Protection. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2012). National and State Child Abuse and Neglect Statistics. Retrieved from

Wood, S. E., Wood, E. G., & Boyd, D. (2011). The world of psychology (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.

Using someone else's work without giving proper credit, is plagiarism. If you use our work, please reference it.

Conflict Resolution and Peacemaking

Conflict Resolution and Peacemaking

Individual’s face conflicts regularly through life. Conflict is defined as a “perceived incompatibility of actions or goals” (Myers, 2010, p. 484). Conflict could be resolved by following basic steps to reach a solution. Many adults cannot resolve conflicts in a positive and effective manner. This is a result of not being taught the process of conflict resolution and peacemaking as children. A teacher in California attempts to change that with her students.

Tiffany Hunter made the decision to teach her students in an environment that will develop them into a society instilled with peace (Hunter, 2008). Her mission is to teach values such as compassion and peace to her first graders. The class made a commitment to avoid violence as a solution to conflict. Instead the students sit at the peace table, a place to discuss and resolve conflicts. Students may use a mediator during conflict resolution. Mediators help by facilitating communication in a constructive manner (Myers, 2010). Ms. Hunter does not mediate for all conflicts her students face. She makes herself available but desires for the students to reach a solution on their own. Through activities in the classroom, Ms. Hunter teaches her students about empathy, diversity, community, and conflict resolution.

Empathy is defined as perceiving another’s thoughts and feelings (Myers, 2010). Empathy is vital to the conflict resolution process. Empathy is what helps an individual understand how the conflict affects the other person. Emotions can be expressed verbally or nonverbally. Children need to learn to understand their own emotions in order to develop empathy. Ms. Hunter works with her students on identifying emotions and understanding ways to change them. And individual’s social world involves diversity. Interactions occur with people of different gender, race, economic class, ethnicity, and characteristics. As children, individuals should promote social equality (Hunter, 2008). Through experiences with people of different backgrounds and abilities, individuals learn about equality.

Children should learn to use nonviolent approaches in problem solving (Hunter, 2008). By practicing the process of peaceful conflict resolution, individuals learn the skills needed for compromise, negotiation, and mediation. Ms. Hunter uses a three step process. The first step she uses is cool down when angry. After the students have cooled down, they begin the next step. The second step is to communicate. During this step she requires her students to discuss the conflict. The students must also listen to one another. It is during this step that her students realize that the conflict is a shared problem. This is the point of the conflict that the parties understand there is conflict and understand what the conflict is about. During communication empathy is formed. Communication is a vital aspect of conflict resolution. The third step in her process is to solve the problem together. The students are asked to brainstorm possible solutions to the conflict. These solutions should be win – win solutions. During conflict, individuals tend to focus on win – lose solutions. This means that one side is pleased whereas the other side is not. In a win – win solution both sides are pleased. After the students brainstorm solutions, they agree on one to try. Sometimes the conflict resurfaces because the solution was not the right one. When this happens, the students are required to sit down again and choose a different solution. During this process the students are taught efficient and peaceful conflict resolution.

Ms. Hunter believes that her method of teaching is beneficial to the students and the community. By using her methods, students develop skills needed to live and work in society (Hunter, 2008). She also believes that when students feel valued then they also feel empowered to make a positive social change. Conflict resolution should be handled in a peaceful and productive manner. By teaching children the proper process, a sustainable society will be formed. If all teachers taught these techniques, the cycle of physical and emotional violence can be broken. Children will develop into adults that are compassionate, empathetic, and understanding of diversity. 


Hunter, T. J. (2008). Creating a culture of peace in the elementary classroom. The Education Digest, 74(1), 54-58. Retrieved from

Myers, D. (2010). Social Psychology (10th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw - Hill.

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Group Influence

Group Influence

A group is two or more people who interact with and influence each other (Myers, 2010). However, the dimensions of a group extend further. Within a group the behaviors of members affect other members, events within the group affect all members, and behaviors affect the success of the group. Franklin Fire and Rescue Department is one such group. The group dynamics within the organization demonstrate interaction and unity. Social influence occurs when an individual interacts with another individual or group. The impacts of this interaction may be positive or negative on the individual.  

Franklin Fire and Rescue is located in Franklin, Virginia. This organization is a division of the local government’s public safety department. The organization is comprised of approximately 60 members; some are paid employees of the city and some are volunteers. The mission of the department is to “save lives, protect property, and educate the public” (City of Franklin Virginia, 2012). Meetings for the department are held on the first Wednesday of the month in the building that houses the department in a living room setting containing sofas and chairs for seating. There is one large table where the officers sit. Seating for members is not fixed; he or she is free to sit in any available seat. Franklin Fire and Rescue is diverse in age of members. The ages range from 16 to 65 years of age. Members are primarily male; a small percentage is female. Ethnicity of this group is Caucasian and African – American.

There is a hierarchy within the department. There is a chief, assistant chief, captains, and lieutenants. There are also officers consisting of president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and Chaplin. The meeting is facilitated by the highest attending officer; usually the president or vice president. The meeting begins with a prayer and welcome. The conversation then moves to a  pre-set agenda. This agenda consists of the minutes of the last meeting being read, the president’s report, the treasurer report, and the chief’s report. The other members are allowed to comment and communicate about the information being stated during these reports however he or she is not allowed to mention any new information. Once these reports have been read and discussed, the other members of the group have an opportunity to discuss issues or concerns he or she has. Primary topics discussed in the meeting were the previous month’s fire and rescue calls, upcoming events, and membership issues. The members of the group exchanged information based on previous situations as related to current situations. Members exchanged advice and criticisms for the previous month’s activities. Members were open to information exchange and did not take any criticism in a negative manner. Communication was open so that all members could communicate with one another. All members had the opportunity to exchange comments or concerns about any of the topics covered.  

Psychologist Irving Janis coined the term groupthink. This term relates the group’s desire for conformity to its decision making process. Groups that have groupthink are more concerned with the conformity of the group that the members may make incorrect decisions in order to preserve the harmony. Janis believed that groupthink developed when a group met three requirements. These requirements were the group was cohesive, the group was isolated from dissenting views, and the group had a leader who signaled the decision he or she favored (Myers, 2010). Franklin Fire and Rescue did not meet any of these requirements. While the group did seem to be mainly a united group, there were times of dissension. This dissension was met in a positive way to help the members learn and grow. The group did not want to make decisions that benefited only the group as a whole but benefited the members as individuals as well. Based on the definition of groupthink, Franklin Fire and Rescue was not vulnerable to it. The group was more concerned with making informed decisions than to keep harmony within the group.

Conformity is defined as changing or adopting behaviors or attitudes to be consistent with the social norms of a group (Wood, Wood,  & Boyd, 2011). Franklin Fire and Rescue has social norms, or standards of behavior expected of its members. These norms include behavior while on fire and rescue calls as well as behavior in general while away from the department. These standards include basic behaviors such as refraining from criminal activity and moral behaviors. While most members adhere to these standards in his or her everyday life in general, all members are expected to conform to the standards. There are punishments for the members who do not conform to these standards. These punishments include suspensions and even release from the department.

The affect of a group may have a significant influence on an individual. Some studies have revealed that social interaction can intensify individual emotions (Barsade & Gibson, 2012). These social interactions can influence both individual and group outcomes. Social facilitation is an important aspect of the group experience. Social facilitation is the positive or negative effect on an individual’s performance attributed to the presence of others (Wood, Wood, & Boyd, 2011). Co – action effects is important in a group such as Franklin Fire and Rescue. Co – action effects are the impact on performance because due to the presence of others performing the same task. In an environment such as a fire department or rescue squad, the important aspect is to consider the person’s safety or property as more important than impressing others or doing better than others. In a group such as this, co – action effects can have a disastrous outcome. The members within this group understand the importance of the tasks he or she must perform. Due to this understanding, the members work together as a team rather than as individuals. The members of this group attend classes, training, and meetings together. The group is unified and appears to be as close as a family. The members are together in this group based on his or her desire to help others in the community.

Groups are a component in an individual’s life throughout the life span. Groups serve to assist an individual in various tasks within his or her life. Groups have their own standards, rules, and organization. Groups can have a negative or positive impact on an individual’s life. The Franklin Fire and Rescue Department strives to have a positive impact on all people; both members and the general public. This organization helps to save lives and property on a daily basis. The group members have learned to work together to achieve the goals of the group. The members conform to the standards set forth in order to maintain membership and have become a unified group because of the efforts of the members.


Barsade, S. G., & Gibson, D. E. (2012). Group affect: Its influence on individual and group outcomes. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21(2), 119-123.

City of Franklin Virginia. (2012). Fire and Rescue. Retrieved from

Myers, D. (2010). Social Psychology (10th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Wood, S. E., Wood, E. G., & Boyd, D. (2011). The world of psychology (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.

Using someone else's work without giving proper credit, is plagiarism. If you use my work, please reference it.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Infidelity and Cognitive Dissonance

Infidelity and Cognitive Dissonance
{Collaborated by E. Noori, T. Norton, R. Rinaudo, C. Swarmer, and A. Thompson}

An individual faces decisions every day. An important aspect in the decision making process is justification. Individuals seek justification for the decision made. However, at times a person holds two contradictory cognitions (Author Unknown, 2011). This conflict is called cognitive dissonance. When faced with a situation such as infidelity, an individual’s behavior may differ from his or her morals. The relationship between behavior and attitude is a complex one. There are several theories associated with a decision such as infidelity. Two of these theories are attribution theory and cognitive dissonance theory.

A married middle-aged woman decides to go out on the town with her friends to celebrate her birthday. She decides to go with her friends because her husband forgot her birthday. While out, she meets a young attentive man and has several drinks with him. She makes the decision that she is going to sleep with him regardless of her 13 years of marriage.  She never tells her husband about that night, but feels as if she was justified in doing so because her birthday slipped his mind. Her behavior of infidelity was manifested through both environmental situations, as well as thought processing. The woman’s subsequent behavior reflects self-justification to rationalize her actions. She had never before justified any reason for cheating. This decision went against her moral and cultural belief in the sanctity of marriage.

Attribution Theory is the way in which individuals clarify or identify how others behave (Myers, 2010). Within Attribution Theory, there are internal motives and external situations that enlighten the reasoning behind ones actions and behavior. Internal attribution is related to the traits of the individual, whereas external attribution relates to environmental or situation surrounding the behavior or action. Internal motives, or dispositional attribution, in the case of this woman, may have been due to lack of respect for her husband, because she believes he has no respect for her since he did not remember her birthday. She may be the type of person who is selfish, and instead of talking out her concerns with her husband she decides to seek revenge to satisfy her needs at the moment. External motives, or situational attribution, in her case may be because she was out with friends, had a few drinks, and excited about someone else being interested in her. She may have felt good at that time to be needed and able to satisfy someone else; when she thought maybe she could not do so for her husband. She may not have realized until she had already committed the act, that she was wrong.

Since the act of adultery is against her moral and cultural belief in the sanctity of marriage, she may decide to eventually confess her infidelity to her husband.  This may allow her to determine whether her actions are justified or unjustified based on her husband’s reaction. Her husband may make attributions about her infidelity, and whatever his thoughts are will influence each one’s response to the behaviors. His reactions may be negative and this may end in dissolution of their marriage. If his reactions are negative, but forgiving, this may allow her to find reassured that their marriage is salvageable. Both internal and external attributions will impact the future of this marriage, whether it be honored or dissolved.

An attitude is a person’s positive or negative thoughts that are concerned with the performance of their behavior. Attitudes define our ways of experiences. What we move towards to or away from; what we like or dislike. An attitude is a mode of behavior that is thought to be typical response of an individual. Often associated with personality and can influence behavior.

Attitudes are a collection of thoughts and beliefs that are created around specific items in our environment. People create associates between certain kinds of thoughts and beliefs. Attitudes are based on values, which people typically derive from family. There are three key components of attitudes, the cognitive, affective and behavioral. It is important to break these components down because each of them is slightly different from the other. The cognitive component is the beliefs people hold about the purpose of an attitude. The affective component is the emotional feelings stimulated by a purpose of thought. The behavioral component is a predisposition to act in certain ways towards an attitude purpose. These make up the behavioral components of attitudes. Psychologists have confirmed that these three components play into a person’s overall attitude.

The theory of planned behavior claims that an individual behavior is determined by behavioral intentions. Behavioral intentions are the role of an individual’s attitude is in the direction of the behavior and subjective norms contiguous to the performance of the behavior. Attitude is influenced by the behavioral beliefs about the consequences of carrying out the behavior and the outcome evolution, the positive or negative of the consequences. In additions to attitudes there are the subjective norms. It is the degree to which the person feels social pressure to carry out a behavior. The subjective norm is predicted by normative beliefs and motivation to comply (Park, 1998). Normative belief is the perceptions about the expectations of significant others. Motivation of comply is the perceived expectations of others. Perceived behavioral control consists of control beliefs and control frequency. Control beliefs are the degree of personal control, the individual perceives he or she has over the behavior in question. Control frequency is how often those barriers occur. Perceived behavioral control affects both intention and behavior.

            According to Bing Dictionary dissonance is a situation in which ideas or actions are opposed to each other. The purpose of cognitive dissonance theory is to change the attitude of the participants to take responsibilities for his or her actions. Cognitive dissonance theory believes that if a person can own or take responsibility for his or her negative actions they are more likely to change the behavior (Cheng & Hsu, 2012). On the opposing side, if an individual is not willing to accept his or her consequences the behavior is likely to continue. Under dissonance theory the individual must come to the conclusion that he or she made a conscious choice for his or her actions (Cheng & Hsu, 2012). “Cognitive dissonance theory assumes that to reduce discomfort, we justify our actions to ourselves (Myers, 2012 p.140).”

              Infidelity, a touching yet interesting topic follows logical reasoning for how dissonance theory could easily explain the behavior. Rationalizing infidelity under the dissonance theory, by the individual who committed infidelity is to find a way to help take responsibility for the behavior. Rationalizations for this behavior include him or her made me do it and if they had been more aware of my feelings and needs this would have never happened. The outcome for dissonance theory is for the individual rationalizing his or her behavior would be to have him or her start the process of admitting the negative actions. The admitting of the negative actions would include the flaws that lead to the distance between the couple.

              Infidelity is a behavior that contradicts many individual’s morals. An individual’s behavior is usually a reflection of his or her attitudes. However, at times an individual’s behavior contradicts his or her attitude. When this conflict occurs, the individual begins to justify or rationalize the reasons for his or her behavior. This justification can be attempted using attribution or cognitive dissonance theory. The individual must be prepared for the consequences of his or her behavior.
Author Unknown (2011). Psychsmart. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Cheng, P., & Hsu, P. (2012). Cognitive Dissonance Theory and the certification examination:
            The role of responsibility. Social Behavior and Personality, 40(7), 1103-1111.
Hall, J. H., & Fincham, F. D. (2006). Relationship dissolution following infidelity: The roles of
            attributions and forgiveness. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 25(5), 508-522.
Myers, D. G. (2010). Social Psychology (10th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Park, H. S. (1998). The theory of reasoned action and self - construal in predicting intention of
            studying among Korean college students. Communication Research Reports, 15(3), 267-279.

Using someone else's work without giving proper credit, is plagiarism. If you use our work, please reference it.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Personal Reflection of the Self

Personal Reflection of the Self

An individual strives to understand his or her self. Throughout the history of psychology, theorists have developed theories and concepts to aid in this process. The terms developed were self – concept, self – esteem, and self – efficacy. A person must realize who he or she is now as well as what he or she may become in the future. When an individual applies these concepts to his or her life, he or she will have a better understanding of the self.

Definition of the Self
The most important aspect of an individual is his or her self (Myers, 2010). The components of the self are self - schemas and possible selves. Self – schemas are beliefs about the self and organized into categories. Examples of self –schemas are athletic, musical, smart, etc. These schemas help an individual organize and retrieve experiences. Possible selves include the images of what a person sees him or herself becoming. These images may be positive or negative. The self includes self – esteem and self – efficacy. Self – esteem is an important aspect of how an individual views him or herself. The self – esteem one adopts in childhood usually remains stable throughout adulthood (Wood, Wood, & Boyd, 2011). The concept of self – efficacy, developed by Albert Bandura, is also an important aspect of the self. The aspects of the self help an individual answer questions about him or herself. These questions include: “Who am I?” and “What can I become?” Once an individual answers these questions, he or she has a concept of the self.

Personal Application of the Self
 Self - Concept
Self – concept is the answer to the question, “Who am I?” (Myers, 2010). Self – concept includes self – schemas and possible selves. Self – schemas define the roles a person has within life. My self – schemas are those that define me as a wife, mother, educator, student, and friend. Possible selves include the visions one dreams of becoming. My possible selves include psychologist and writer. Possible selves also include what we fear of becoming. I fear becoming a failure. I have a fear of failing in the various aspects of my life. I have a fear of not achieving my goals. In retrospect, some of my behaviors do not correspond with my self – schemas.

Self - Esteem
Self – esteem includes a person’s positive and negative self - evaluations (Author Unknown, 2011). Self – esteem can also describe a person’s self – worth. A person has a general level of self - esteem (Author Unknown, 2011). My general level of self – esteem is average. However, self – esteem is not a one dimensional concept. While a person may see him or herself positively in some areas, in others he or she may feel negatively. This is true of my self – esteem. There are some areas in life in which I view myself positively and others that I view myself negatively. Both aspects of self – esteem helps a person form the way he or she views his or herself.

Self - Efficacy
Self – efficacy is the belief of one’s capabilities to perform a task. A person with high self – efficacy sets high goals, have more confidence, are more persistent, and usually have more success. Alternatively, a person with low self – efficacy avoid challenges, give up on difficult tasks, and expect failure. My self – efficacy level is between high and low. I know my capabilities as a student. However, I do not apply these capabilities as I should. I do not expect failure, but I am also not surprised by failure. I do not set unrealistic goals and will change my goals if I feel a goal is unrealistic.

Two Social Experiences that Affected My Personal Development
Throughout life, we are exposed to experiences that affect our personal development. One experience that has affected my personal development is becoming a mother. My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage sixteen years ago and my first child was born almost fifteen years ago. In this time span, I have dealt with pregnancy loss, birth, parenting multiples, parenting teenagers, and more. These experiences have shaped my character, drive, and have provided valuable insight into who I am. I have also learned about myself through my children. Some possess some of my good qualities; some possess some of my bad qualities. Some possess the same level of drive as I; others possess more or less. Some have the same level of self – esteem as I do; some have higher or lower self – esteem. Since becoming a mother, I have realized I will have successes and failures. I have also learned that my large successes outweigh my small failures. My role as a mother is one role I will not accept failure. Becoming a mother has provided me with a great personal growth.
A second experience that has affected my personal growth was my time as a firefighter and emergency medical technician. I was exposed to different personalities in the form of co – workers, patients, and citizens. In meetings and training sessions our different personalities came together to shape personal learning experiences to aid in our personal development. Patients as well as the families also helped in personal development. The patients and property saved easily helped raise self – esteem. The fatalities and property lost worked against self – esteem. Each fire or rescue call I worked was a personal learning experience. I quickly learned that failures happen in life but these failures did not mean that I, as a person, was a failure.

In order to understand the self, one must learn to apply self –concept, self – esteem, and self –efficacy. These concepts provide the basis for understanding the self. Using these concepts a person can understand not only who he or she is now but who he or she may become. Self – esteem provides an evaluation based on strengths and weaknesses. Self –efficacy provides a realization of what his or her potential to complete tasks is. Together, these two concepts provide an individual with an understanding of self – worth and potential for success.


Author Unknown (2011). Psychsmart. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Myers, D. (2010). Social Psychology (10th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Wood, S. E., Wood, E. G., & Boyd, D. (2011). The World of Psychology (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.

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