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A narrative analysis of the psychosocial problems of the psychological self

Suppmann, Felicia (2019) A narrative analysis of the psychosocial problems of the psychological self.

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Abstract:The demand for individual agency might pose challenges to the self in the process of personal development. The emergence of the self in this context has been defined by McAdams (2013) as the psychological self being composed of three developmental stages: the social actor within the present, followed by the motivated agent oriented towards the future, and the autobiographical author incorporating the past, present, and future. In times of challenges, the psychological self is assumed to experience a rupture. In this process, the rupture within the psychological self is assumed to be expressed through its psychosocial challenges: self-regulation, self-esteem, and self-continuity. These psychosocial challenges can be found in possible selves embedded within narrative identities. Effortful control shows to measure self-regulation, sense of mastery shows to measure self-esteem, while self-continuity shows to be the challenge of keeping an identity over time. The present study aims to explore how the psychosocial problems of the psychological self are depicted in narratives of possible selves. The psychological self is organised temporarily with the past, present and the future. Therefore, narrative research was proposed to explore possible selves within which the psychosocial problems can be explored. Thereby, a multi-method design, combining letters from the future and semi-structured interviews, was applied. Four participants were explored in how their psychosocial problems were expressed within their personal letter and interview. Results showed two participants experiencing fewer challenges with their psychosocial problems compared to the other two participants. Challenges were highlighted through strong effortful control towards external constraints or weak sense of mastery. All four participants however, showed strong personal reflection. Building on constructive developmental psychology, the model of the psychological self can be used to investigate developmental learning through personal reflection. Thereby the closer exploration of the psychosocial problems could serve as the identification for reasons of stagnation or successful personal developmental integration. Both insights can be used to find a pattern of constructive development in the self, helping to integrate the pattern into a method to help people who experience destructive developmental processes.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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