Skip to main content

Full text of "Psychology of human development"

See other formats


Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

Lyrasis IVIembers and Sloan Foundation 



of Human Development 



In Collaboration with 


New York Toronto London 




Copyright (c) 1961 by the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. Printed 
in the United States of America. All rights reserved. This book, or 
parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission 
of the publishers. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 60-14615 


To the college student who is interested 
in a most fascinating subject: 
man as he develops 


A text on human development may be expected to have many purposes, 
for this field represents one of the most intricate subjects known to man. 
As a result, this book has several closely related purposes. It first en- 
deavors to explain key terms, basic methods, and the principles under- 
lying human growth. Then it surveys and interprets factors affecting 
development. Analysis of developmental sequence is supplemented by an 
exploration of motivational and behavioral traits at each level of growth 
and maturation. An attempt is made to impress upon the student the 
continuity of human development: each age level must be considered 
in the light of past developments. The pattern of each stage of life is also 
brought into the spotlight in order to facilitate a cross-sectional under- 
standing of the person in a particular stage of development under varying 

This compact treatment of developmental levels enhances the explana- 
tion of the interplay of forces at any given stage. Moreover, evaluation 
of the role or meaning of any developmental phenomenon or process 
cannot be complete without a proper reference to the individual as an 
organism and as a self, both of which manifest or are affected by this 

Throughout the book, the emphasis remains on the psychological level 
of existence. The insertion of facts concerning physiological development 
is restricted to those having a direct bearing on mental, emotional, and 
related processes. The continuous interaction of persons of different ages 
is stressed since the infant or child, for example, not only is affected by 
his parents, grandparents, or other adults but also affects them in a 
variety of ways. Because each individual is highly influenced by his social 
environment as a self and personality, the role of various environmental, 
societal, and cultural factors is pointed out frequently. 


viii Preface 

The developmental sequences are treated with respect to resources, 
abilities, and limitations. This point is elaborated when normative data 
pertaining to various factors of growth are brought in and when develop- 
mental tasks and hazards for each stage of life are identified. 

The often neglected phases of life — adulthood and senescence — are 
given extensive treatment. There is a great need to convey a better un- 
derstanding and genuine appreciation of the adult phases of life, espe- 
cially since most of the students for whom this book is intended will be 
on the verge of adulthood. 

It is hoped that this book will fulfill its raison d'etre by contributing to 
a fuller understanding of the individual throughout his life span. More- 
over, its principles and generalizations may serve as guides in promoting 
prediction of the organization and functioning of personality and be- 
havior at various levels of human development in the present trend of 
American life. 

The experimental edition of this book was published in 1959 by the 
University of Detroit under the title Developmental Psychology. It was 
used by six instructors as a text in developmental psychology. Their ex- 
perience and the observations of some five hundred students during the 
same year have been drawn upon in preparing the present expanded 

This book has several authors and contributors. Dr. Eugene J. Albrecht 
authored four chapters of it. He also participated in the planning of 
the outline and objectives as well as in critical examination of most 
chapters. Robert P. O'Neil of the University of Detroit psychology 
department wrote one chapter and shared the writing of another chapter 
with Louise T. Gratson. Sister Mary Gabrielle Hoefer, R.S.M., read 
several sections of the manuscript and made many fine additions to them. 
Madonna J. Rocheleau skillfully drew most of the illustrative material, 
part of which is original. 

Appreciation is expressed to Drs, Katharine M. B. Bridges, Charlotte 
Buhler, Lawrence K. Frank, Robert J. Havighurst, Dorothea McCarthy, 
Bradley M. Patten, and Robert R. Sears, and to the following publishers 
and organizations for their permission to include in this volume their 
copyrighted material: McGraw-Hill Book Company and its Blakiston 
Division; Row, Peterson & Company; John Wiley & Sons; Joint Commit- 
tee on Health Problems in Education of the National Education Associa- 
tion and the American Medical Association; the Fact Finding Committee 
of the Midcentury White House Conference on Children and Youth; 
Society for Research in Child Development; and a number of profes- 
sional journals. 

Justin Pikunas 
Eugene J. Albrecht 


Preface vii 


1. Introduction 3 

Scope of developmental psychology 3 

General approaches to developmental psychology 4 

Developmental stages 6 

2. Research Methods 10 

The scientific method 10 

General approaches to developmental investigation 12 

Scientific techniques 15 

3. Principles of Human Development 20 

Growth processes 20 

Factors in self-reaHzation 21 

Basic concepts 22 

Analysis of specific principles 23 


4. Factors Influencing Development and Personality 37 

The process of heredity 38 

A person's heritage — a key factor in human development 39 

Major environmental influences 40 

Physical environment 40 

Family 40 

School 45 

Society 46 

Culture 48 

Role of self -direction 50 



X Contents 

5. Developmental Aspects and Trends 53 

Major physical trends 53 

Synopsis of emotional development 55 

Intellectual maturation 59 

Levels of socialization 61 

The self-concept 63 


6. Prenatal Development 69 

Period of the zygote 69 

Period of the embryo 71 

Period of the fetus 73 

Influences on prenatal development 74 

7. The Human at Birth 78 

Birth 78 

The neonate 82 

Adjustments and developments 83 

Problems of survival 85 

Individual differences 89 


8. Early Infancy 95 

Motor developments and control 95 

Learning new responses 97 

Emotions and needs 98 

Language foundations 100 

Play and reality 101 

Health and adjustment 102 

9. Late Infancy 105 

Changes in physiological development 105 

Imagination and understanding 106 

Explorations of environment 107 

Search for names 108 

Developmental tasks 109 

Emotional and social behavior 110 

Self-awareness Ill 

10. Personality Foundations During Infancy 113 

Neonatal potential 113 

Developmental of traits 114 

Role of parental attitudes 115 

Individuation of responses 117 

Habit formation 118 

Infant guidance 119 

The emergence of a self-concept 120 

Theories of personality development 121 

Contents xi 


11. Preschool Age 131 

Psychomotor controls and play activities 131 

DiflFerentiation of emotions 132 

Tasks in speech development 134 

Fantasy and intelHgence 136 

Progress in socialization 141 

Moral and religious experience 142 

Self and personality development 143 

12. Middle Childhood 146 

School entrance 147 

Intellectual development 152 

Developmental tasks 153 

Growing into child's society 154 

Rehgious and moral knowledge 155 

Growth of selfhood 155 

13. Late Childhood 158 

New horizons of understanding 159 

Peer hfe 160 

Sexual typing 162 

Self-concept and personality 163 

Character formation 164 

Preparation for adolescent tasks 165 


14. Pubertal Developments 171 

Concepts of puberty and adolescence 171 

Factors precipitating puberal changes 173 

Sexual development 176 

Emotions and attitudes 177 

Health 178 

Developmental tasks of puberty 179 

15. Personality Reorganization 182 

Changing self -awareness 182 

Outgrowing childlike motivation 184 

Pubescent fantasies 186 

Mental maturation .... 187 

Rehgious reevaluation 188 

Behavioral changes and adjustment 188 

Illustrative case smnmaries 189 


16. The Dynamics of Adolescent Behavior 197 

Stratification of adolescent needs 197 

Developmental tasks of adolescence 200 

xii Contents 

Classification of interests and activities 200 

Personal interests 201 

Social interests 207 

Cultural interests 209 

17. Development of Personality and Character 214 

Abilities and aspirations 215 

Values, attitudes, and ideals 217 

Heterosexual relationships 222 

Adolescent conflicts and problems 223 

Ambivalence 224 

Self-defenses 224 

Neurotic tendencies 225 

Delinquent trends 228 

Search for oneself 229 

Weltanschauung and character 230 


18. Achieving Adult Status 237 

Overcoming immaturity 237 

Acquiring a vocation 239 

Selecting a mate 242 

Prerequisites for a successful marriage 244 

Need of marital counseling 246 

Sociocultural integration 246 

Influences on the maturational status 247 

Guiding the maturing person 249 

19. The Concept and Criteria of Maturity 253 

Studies on maturity 254 

Testing maturity 255 

The criteria of maturity 256 

Defining the mature person 262 

Major imphcations 262 

20. Developmental Tasks of Early Adulthood 266 

Achieving independence and responsibility 266 

Emotional 266 

Social 267 

Economic 268 

Establishing the home 270 

Marital adjustment 270 

Adjustments to parenthood 271 

Remaining single 273 

Enhancing self-reahzation 274 

Setting the pattern of life 274 

21. Middle Adult Years 276 

Socioeconomic consolidation 277 

Health and activities 278 

Contents xiii 

Parental aspects 280 

Reevaluating the self -concept 281 

Recapturing youth 283 

Compensating decHne 283 

Developmental tasks at middle and late adult ages 285 

Growth of personality and character 286 


22. Biological and Mental Changes 291 

Distinguishing senescence and senility 292 

Biological aging 292 

Decline of mental abilities 294 

Personahty changes 297 

23. Senescent Self-concept, Needs, and Problems 299 

Health and illness 299 

Intellectual and religious concerns 301 

Maintaining interest variety 302 

Social needs 303 

Society and the senescent 304 

Contributing to the community 304 

Relating to increasing life span 305 


24. Synopsis of Psychological Developments Throughout Life 311 

Key factors in human development . . .311 

Foundational phases of life 312 

Adult phases of life 316 

Declining phases of life 317 

Death — a final transition 318 

Review of human development 319 

Glossary 325 

Appendix 333 

Teaching Aids 333 

Index 335 




WITH THE emergence and development of modern science, man vastly 
extended his fund of knowledge. More important than the specific 
facts acquired, however, were the invention and refinement of tech- 
niques for furthering knowledge and understanding. Such techniques, 
although applicable to a wide range of human inquiries, are not the 
only means of obtaining knowledge. Nonetheless, through the persistent 
use of these techniques, man can anticipate continuing success in attain- 
ing his threefold goal of knowing, predicting, and controlling the events 
about him. He may look forward hopefully to new penetrations of the 
unknown: the fundamental laws and principles which express the con- 
sistencies of human behavior and the events which surround man. 

Intelligent comprehension of scientific facts and laws, however, must 
be built upon an understanding of methods employed in arriving at 
them. The integration of diverse findings takes the form of principles. 
Section I is concerned with these methods and principles. 




In the world of today, with its expanding technology, increasingly 
complex social structure, and ideological conflicts, man faces many 
problems in his quest for happiness. New challenges, hazards, and de- 
cisions constantly face him; change is the order of the day. But do these 
outside problems constitute any greater challenge for man than those 
he encounters as he progresses satisfactorily from the earliest stages of 
life to the period of old age? Is the complexity of the physical world 
comparable to the marvelous intricacy of the human beings who inhabit 
it? Careful analysis makes the answer to these questions an emphatic 

Since the human being is so complex and faces ever-new problems and 
decisions as he goes through life, it is essential that he know and under- 
stand himself. The armchair speculations, the old wives' tales, and the 
widely held beliefs and advice of earlier times — many of which have 
endured to the present day — have been found sadly wanting. True, 
literature attests to the fact that many penetrating analyses of human 
behavior have been achieved in the past, but Hterature also reveals many 
patent absurdities. It therefore becomes the task of modern science to 
evaluate critically what has been believed previously and to deepen 
man's knowledge of the universe and of himself. Developmental psychol- 
ogy is dedicated to one aspect of this search for knowledge: an under- 
standing of the basic processes and dynamics underlying human behavior 
at the various stages of the life span. 

As an individual reviews his own life, it becomes clear that he is not 
the same today as he was in past years. He is still the same person, as 
the ultimate nature of his being has not changed, but his personality and 


4 Basic Approach 

behavior traits are far diflFerent. Such often-heard expressions as "Don^t 
be childish" and "Act your age" clearly indicate that what is normal and 
expected behavior for one age level is not typical of another. The needs, 
desires, and aspirations of the individual undergo continuous modifica- 
tion. Beliefs, opinions, attitudes, emotional responses, intellectual abilities 
— all the dimensions of personality — change throughout man's life span. 
In order that man may know and understand himself and those about 
him better, developmental psychology seeks to trace the sequential 
changes in human personality. With scientific methods and the aid of 
specialized techniques for making systematic observations, develop- 
mental psychology seeks to find order in what frequently appears to be 
chaos. With this knowledge the individual is often able to help his 
fellow man in times of stress instead of merely remaining a perplexed 
spectator. He is also better able to understand his own motivation. As a 
result, he is better equipped to prepare for the future. This should not 
be interpreted to mean that the mere knowledge of facts and principles 
automatically establishes an individual as a well-adjusted person. Nor 
should the reader assume that developmental psychology is the study of 
how to live happily and successfully. It is rather an area of systematic, 
scientific observation and interpretation. 

The sequential changes that occur in human personality and behavior 
include not only the unfolding and perfection of different dimensions but 
also the gradual deterioration of those dimensions. Thus, intellectual 
development encompasses both its emergence and perfection in the years 
of childhood and adolescence, and its gradual impairment in the late 
years of life. In order to understand personality and behavior, therefore, 
it is essential to trace the sequence of changes that occur in childhood 
and adolescence and also in the adult and later years of life. The sig- 
nificance of these later periods is great because the percentage of per- 
sons in this population group, as well as their influence on society, is 
growing at a considerable rate. 


As will be seen in Chapter 2, there are several over-all approaches to 
a systematic study of developmental phenomena. As with the various 
specific tools and methods used, certain advantages and disadvantages 
are inherent in each approach. 

One approach is to treat some specific dimension of human behavior 
or personality throughout the entire life span, or at least throughout some 
continuous portion of it. In this dimensional approach the changes in 
social behavior might be examined, for example, by starting with the 
presocial behavior of the newborn infant, continuing through the en- 

Introduction 5 

larging socialization modes and tendencies of expression characteristic 
of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, and concluding with gradual 
restriction of social interaction in old age. This frequently used approach 
has the decided advantage of maintaining continuity of thought; the 
student of human development is not compelled to skip from one aspect 
of personality to another. Consequently, the entire sequential pattern 
may be studied with a present process or activity clearly related to what 
has happened before and to what can be expected to occur in the 
future [1]. 

In achieving continuity of thought, however, the dirnensional approach 
has its limitations. Man is not merely a social being, an emotional 
creature, an intellectual entity — he is all these and more at all times. His 
social interaction with others cannot be isolated from his intellectual 
abilities or from the multitude of other factors which constitute him. 
Hence, to consider only one aspect separately from the others is to 
ignore the totality of the human being. 

A major feature of this approach is the establishment and application 
of developmental norms. Knowledge of the average course and rate of de- 
velopment of specific abilities and traits is extremely important for parents 
and teachers — in fact, for all persons concerned with human growth and 
welfare — and is essential for the clinician in diagnostic work. However, 
rigorous application of such norms is exceedingly dangerous. That an 
individual is somewhat ahead of or behind "schedule" does not neces- 
sarily signify that he is precocious or retarded. The norm represents an 
average for a group of individuals — individuals who vary among them- 
selves. Actually, it is possible that no one in the normative group cor- 
responds exactly to the norm. Therefore, it is essential that the degree 
of variability among persons be taken into account whenever such 
norms are applied to an individual case. Much parental anxiety 
would be alleviated if this basic principle were fully recognized. 
Moreover, as will be seen in Chapter 3, the development of different 
traits and abilities does not proceed at a uniform rate. A person may 
be slightly ahead of schedule in regard to some factors and slightly 
behind schedule in others. Thus, it is important to view the individual 
as a totality. 

The second general approach to the study of human development con- 
sists of an examination of man's various capacities and behavioral char- 
acteristics at different developmental levels. That is to say, the goal of 
the developmental-level approach is an understanding of the total person 
with his various needs and problems, abilities and achievements, and 
motives and dynamics at each particular phase of life. Rather than seek 
to answer such a question as "What is the general course of intellectual 
growth and decline?" this approach attempts to answer such questions 

6 Basic Approach 

as "What are the typical behavioral patterns and dynamics of the infant, 
the child, or the young adolescent?" [2, 3]. 

It should be noted that at one developmental level a particular per- 
sonality or behavior variable may be exceedingly important; at another 
level this same aspect may be relatively unimportant or even nonexistent. 
Being accepted by one's peers, for example, is a major goal of the older 
child and adolescent, leading the individual to alter his behavior patterns 
considerably. The infant or very young child, on the other hand, is not 
concerned with peer acceptance. This implies that every aspect of the 
individual is significant in some period of life. The emotional, social, and 
intellectual aspects of man are but a few of the dimensions of his total 
personality which are important in all but the earliest levels of develop- 

The general weakness of the developmental-level approach is much the 
same as the strength of the dimensional approach: continuity with 
respect to some aspect of the individual. Conversely, the weakness of the 
dimensional approach is the basic strength of the developmental-level 
approach: maintaining the unity and totality of the individual at any one 
time. In order to capitalize somewhat on the advantages of the dimen- 
sional approach. Sections I and II are devoted to an overall discussion 
of major aspects of development. An examination of the distinguishable 
developmental levels constitutes the remaining sections of the book. 


In dividing the human life span into various stages, a number of prob- 
lems are encountered. First, most stages are not completely distinct from 
the phases which precede or follow them. Thus, the individual does not 
suddenly enter adolescence or adulthood; he gradually acquires those 
characteristics which typify a new phase of development. Second, the 
definition of what constitutes a level of development raises a major 
problem. Should infancy, for example, be defined in terms of chronolog- 
ical age, of bodily growth, or of behavioral pattern? Moreover, what cri- 
teria may be used to estimate growth patterns? A study by H. B. EngHsh 
[4] shows that on these points even specialists witliin the field of devel- 
opmental psychology do not fully agree. 

In the present survey of human development, an attempt has been 
made to define each stage in terms of fundamental behavioral patterns 
and traits. In other words, the basis of the division of the life span into 
developmental levels is given in terms of significant trends or achieve- 
ments which constitute the basic pattern of human life at each given 
stage. Although general age limits may be applied to each of these 
stages, it should always be borne in mind that such limits are only ap- 

Introduction 7 

proximations of the normal course of development: one person may pass 
into the next developmental period months or even years before another 
person of the same chronological age. It should also be recognized that 
considerable di£Ferences exist between varying group cultures: develop- 
mental tasks, average longevity, and social pressures all vary. The present 
investigation concerns primarily the individual in the American culture. 
Briefly and in broad terms, the life span may be divided into the 
following developmental levels: 

1. Prenatal period. The time during which major bodily structures and 
functions are established to form a biological basis for psychological 

2. Neonatal period. The first weeks of life, typically the first three to 
four weeks, during which the newborn infant, or neonate, must make 
radical adjustments to the demands of the outside world. 

3. Early infancy. Those months wherein the individual acquires the 
first important means of enlarging his world — that is, develops from a 
passively receptive individual into a person who, by means of general 
motility and understanding, is capable of actively seeking new experi- 
ences and relationships in his environment. 

4. Late infancy. The period during which the human being enlarges 
his world still further by the acquisition of a major mode of communica- 
tion, verbal language. 

5. Early childhood. The preschool years, during which the child im- 
proves upon previously acquired skills and abilities and develops a con- 
cept of himself, but remains largely restricted to the family environment. 

6. Middle childhood. The first years of school, during which consider- 
able social and intellectual changes occur in part as a result of the child's 
interaction with persons outside the home. 

7. Late childhood. The years preceding the onset of puberty, during 
which the child rapidly develops a strong sense of personal identity and 
a firm relationship to a peer society. 

8. Puberty. The period during which rapid sexual, emotional, and 
social changes occur. A period also marked by increased self-awareness, 
ambivalence in motivation, and personal problems. 

9. Adolescence. The years during which the individual matures and 
somewhat stabilizes his system of values and interests, preparing for the 
responsibilities and privileges of adult life. 

10. Early adulthood. The period in which the individual enters into 
adult society, usually establishes a family, acquires an occupation, and 
promotes his self-development. 

11. The middle adult years. The years of consolidation and evaluation 
of previous aspirations and achievements. The stage of highest over-all 
status in adult society. 

8 Basic Approach 

Prenatal {[ 

Childhood < 



Senescence -« 


Figure 1-1. Developmental Phases 

Zygote period: Implantation of fertilized ovum 
1!^^ Embryonic period: emergence of major body structures 

Fetal period: (2 months to birth) refinement of 
structures and systems 

Neonate: adaptation to extrauterine life 

Early: enlarging experiential world through motility 

Late: acquiring verbal communication 

Early: modifying and refining habits and skills 

Middle: interacting with those outside the home 
Late: development of strong personal identity and 
firm peer relationship 

Early: pubescent period; increased self- awareness 
Middle: developing new values and peer relations 
Late: preparing for role of adult life; assuming greater 
responsibilities (social, economic, etc.) 

Early: establishment of independent status; acceptance 
into adult society; marriage and family responsi- 
bilities; achieving maximum global capacity 

Middle: full participation In adult society; family 

Late: gradual decline in physical capacities; relinquish- 
ment of some responsibilities; modification of 
family structure (children reaching maturity and 
leaving home) 

Senescence: continued decline of physical powers and 
mental capacities; gradual restriction of 
social interaction; frequently, increased 
dependence upon others 

Introduction 9 

12. Late adult years and senescence. The period of gradual physical 
and mental decline, characterized by diminishing participation in society. 


1. What practical values might developmental psychology offer the student, over 
and above those provided by a knowledge of psychology in general? 

2. What advantages and what limitations are found in the two general approaches 
of developmental psychology? 

3. What is the value of estabhshing developmental norms? What is the danger 
in applying such norms to specific persons? 

4. What diflficulties does the investigator encounter in dividing the hfe span into 
diflFerent segments? 

5. In what ways are child psychology and the psychology of adolescence related 
to developmental psychology? 

[. Selected and Annotated Reading 

I 1. Pressey, Sidney L., and Raymond G. Kuhlen. Psychological Development 
through the Life Span. New York: Harper, 1957. A fine representation of the 
ievelopmental approach in which various characteristics and phenomena are traced 
hroughout the entire life span. 

2. Goodenough, Florence L., and Leona E. Tyler. Developmental Psychology. 
[[3rd ed.) New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1959. The latest edition of a widely 
read text in which the developmental-level approach is used. 

3. Hurlock, Elizabeth B. Developmental Psychology. (2nd ed. ) New York: 
VIcGraw-Hill, 1959. Widely used text by a respected author; examines the in- 
lividual at successive periods of life. 

3. Specific References 

4. English, Horace B. Chronological Divisions of the Life Span. /. Educ. Psychol, 
L957, 48, 437-439. 



Research Methods 

UNTIL THE relatively recent rise of empirical science, the basic method of 
studying human development was to introspect and to retrospect, or 
casually to examine personal acquaintances. With this as a starting point, 
one might generalize about what had been observed and speculate on its 
significance. The dramatic discordance of such "investigations" and their 
general failure to provide man with a means of improving his lot led to 
the gradual evolution of modern scientific methods. The men such as 
Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Comenius, and Wundt, to name but a few, 
who developed and refined modern techniques, were not necessarily 
more sincere or more dedicated to truth than those who preceded them; 
they were better equipped to search out the truth of physical and psy- 
chological phenomena [3]. 


In what way is the modem scientist better equipped than his prede- 
cessors? Is it in the complex devices and elaborate apparatus that the 
layman typically regards as symbolic of the scientist? Obviously not, 
inasmuch as these simply represent past scientific and inventive achieve- 
ments. Rather, the modern scientist's superior equipment is the basic 
method which he employs, the so-called "scientific method." Despite the 
fact that eminent scientists have difficulty in agreeing upon exact defini- 
tions of "science" and "scientific method," there is general agreement 
on the procedure and basic concepts involved. The diflFerences of opinion 
are a result mainly of semantic problems and the degree of generality 
or specificity sought by various writers. 

In veiy general terms, however, each of the empirical sciences employs 
the same basic approach in its quest for the solutions to problems in its 


Research Methods 11 

area of investigation. Each science has speciahzed techniques for the 
phenomena it investigates, but all share essentially the same procedure 
in arriving at new knowledge. In its basic form the scientific method may 
be summarized as follows: 

First, some definite problem is chosen for investigation. This problem 
is defined and limited so that an explicit solution may be found. For ex- 
ample, the investigator might be interested in determining whether chil- 
dren raised in an institutional setting diflFer in their language development 
from children raised at home. But what is meant by these terms? "Raised 
at home" sounds simple and clear-cut enough, but is it? Is being raised 
at home with both parents the same as being raised with only one 
parent? Is it the same to have the mother at home during the day as to 
have her working? Any accurate statement of the problem must include 
a definition of "raised at home." Or again, what is "language develop- 
ment"? Is language developed when the infant first vocalizes, uses a 
single word meaningfully, uses all the parts of speech, or uses sentences 
of various types? Obviously the solution to the original problem may well 
depend upon the way in which the problem is formulated. 

Generally the problem is made even more specific by expressing it as 
a hypothesis. In other words, the investigator makes a calculated guess, 
based on some facts he has, regarding the phenomenon being investi- 
gated. This step, though not absolutely essential, is highly useful in 
carrying out the remaining steps of the scientific method because it aids 
the investigator in designing his research and devising methods of evalu- 
ating the data which he collects. The task of the scientist now becomes 
one of evaluating the accuracy of the initial appraisal. 

In the second step, seeking a solution to the specific problem or hy- 
pothesis, the scientist collects data by making systematic observations. 
Knowing the type of data which will solve the problem and knowing 
when, where, and how to collect it, the investigator makes systematic 
observations and records. Each science, depending upon its particular set 
of problems, has a group of techniques for collecting data which will 
solve some of them. In developmental psychology, for example, experi- 
mentation, field studies, case studies, and biographical materials are 
utilized. Certain research techniques and tools are widely used among 
the various sciences. Some are more or less limited as to the type of prob- 
lem to which they may be applied. All, however, have the same purpose: 
the systematic accumulation of precise, reliable, and verifiable data. 

In the scientific investigation the general factor (or factors) under 
consideration is termed the independent variable. The event being ob- 
served by the scientist is called the dependent variable. It is the aim of 
the investigator to determine whether or not changes in the independent 
variable are accompanied by changes in the dependent variable. Natu- 

12 Basic Approach 

rally any extraneous factors which might influence the dependent variable 
must be taken into consideration. Wherever possible, such factors are 
controlled, or at least carefully observed, so that their influence will not 
distort the relationship between the variables. 

The third general stage of the scientific method consists of the analysis 
of the observations. The accumulated data must be made meaningful in 
terms of the original problem or hypothesis. Typically this involves the 
application of certain statistical tools. The hypothesis is evaluated in 
terms of the statistical end results. That is to say, it is asked to what 
extent the set of data supports or refutes the hypothesis as originally 
stated. A definite relationship may be established — one beyond reasonable 
doubt or one leading to the establishment of a principle. It should be 
noted that the data usually neither prove nor disprove the hypothesis: it 
always is conceivable that the observed results might have been the 
product of some unknown factor. 

The final step in the scientific method is the formulation of generaliza- 
tions based upon the hypothesis and other sources of information. To the 
extent that other situations are comparable or similar to the conditions 
of the current investigation, similar results can reasonably be expected 
from other studies. Moreover, in view of these generalizations and in 
view of theories proposed in other studies, new hypotheses may be for- 
mulated. Thus, the basis for additional research frequently arises from 
the facts established in a previous study. Actually, each time some new 
relationship or lack of a relationship is determined, new problems arise 
which require further investigation. As a consequence, knowledge accu- 
mulates but scientific truth is never fully realized. 

It will be noted from the preceding that the basic reasoning process 
involved in scientific study is inductive — going from specific observations 
to broad generalizations. Yet deductive reasoning also is an integral part 
of science. Thus, the scientist infers specific relationships from sets of 
broad truths. 


In addition to the various tools employed in studying the development 
of the human being, there are a number of general methods available to 
the researcher. Each method, as well as each tool, has certain advantages 
and limitations. For certain problems, one may be more valuable, or at 
least more practical, than another. 

Cross-sectional approach. In the very broadest terms, two basic ap- 
proaches are available to the investigator. The first of these, the most 
widely employed, is the cross-sectional method. In this, samples of indi- 
viduals representing different age or developmental levels are studied 

Research Methods 13 

and compared. Gradual changes in intellectual ability, for example, 
might be investigated by comparing the performance of representative 
samples of one-year-olds, two-year-olds, and so on. In other words, each 
sample represents a given age or developmental stage, with the differ- 
ences between the samples, if statistically significant, being attributed to 
the difference between the age or developmental levels. 

Assuming that truly representative samples are employed (an assump- 
tion made in every scientific investigation ) , the cross-sectional method is 
highly serviceable. Within a relatively short period of time all observa- 
tions necessary for a particular study can be made. Hypothetically every 
person within a city or state, even in the country or entire world, could 
be studied in a single day. By classifying and evaluating such data, 
developmental changes throughout the entire life span could be charted. 

Despite the practical usefulness of the cross-sectional method, it has 
certain shortcomings. The totality and individuality of the person is 
usually lost. This criticism may, of course, be made of any scientific study 
which isolates a single characteristic or group of characteristics from the 
total individual. Also inherent in this method is the loss of developmental 
continuity. Depending upon the rate of development and upon the gap 
between the representative age or developmental levels, there will nec- 
essarily be differences in the accuracy of the total picture. That is to say, 
if sufiBciently divergent levels of age or development are compared, 
important intermediate stages may be missed. The one-year-old, for ex- 
ample, is typically quite accepting of those about him; the two-year-old 
is rebellious and negativistic; and the four-year-old again tends to be 
quite accepting. Were only the one- and four-year-old levels considered, 
no great developmental changes would be indicated in regard to this 

Longitudinal method. In contrast to the cross-sectional procedure, the 
longitudinal method studies the same persons over a period of time, 
noting the changes that occur during that span. As in the previous 
method, the scope of the longitudinal study may vary considerably, 
treating something very limited, such as changes in height, or rather 
broad dimensions of personality. 

One advantage the longitudinal method has over the cross-sectional 
approach is that one possible source of sampling error is eHminated. 
When different samples are employed to represent different age levels, 
it is assumed that the groups are truly representative. When comparing 
one-year-olds with two-year-olds, for example, it is assumed that in a 
year the first group will closely resemble the group that is now two years 
of age. It is always conceivable that such will not be the case. With the 
longitudinal method, however, this particular sampHng problem is not 

14 Basic Approach 

In the case of longitudinal studies, a definite problem arises. The 
length of time for conducting such an investigation obviously can be no 
shorter than the period of life being considered. Unless a succession of 
observers is employed, therefore, the period of life under study neces- 
sarily is somewhat limited. Even when a relatively long-term investi- 
gation is feasible, the problem of maintaining contact with the partici- 
pating subjects is a major one, with some persons leaving the community, 
others losing interest in the project, and still others dying. 

Isolation method. A distinct application of the experimental technique 
to longitudinal studies is illustrated by the isolation method. In this, one 
group of subjects is oflFered the opportunity to experience some situation. 
A second group is not afforded the same opportunity. After a period of 
time, the two groups are compared in order to determine the role or 
influence of the experience in human development. 

In many studies this procedure is carried one step further. The subjects 
not afforded the learning, the so-called "control" subjects, are later 
offered it in order to determine how quickly, if at all, they will match the 
first group of subjects. Thus, the first group, after its learning period, may 
demonstrate a marked advantage over the control group. But the control 
group may require far less training in order to reach the same degree 
of achievement. In such a case, it may reasonably be inferred that some 
factor other than learning was involved in attaining proficiency. This 
factor, maturation, is an important developmental concept which will be 
considered in further detail in the next chapter. 

Although the isolation method in its purest form is a strictly experi- 
mental approach wherein the amount of learning opportunity is con- 
trolled by the investigator, it may be extended to encompass large areas. 
In some cultures, for example, certain conditions are prevalent, whereas 
in other cultures they are largely or totally absent. The latter, therefore, 
may be considered an isolated or control group. All other things being 
equal, the differences in behavioral or personality characteristics may be 
attributed to the discrepancies in cultural environments. A state of "all 
other things being equal" can never be perfectly achieved because of the 
tremendous complexity of any cultural group. Yet in general terms at 
least, much useful information regarding human development can be 
obtained in this manner. 

Despite the evident advantage of the isolation method for comparing 
the "have's" and "have-not's," it has distinct limitations. Long-term 
studies certainly become impractical because of possible iiTcparable 
damage that might be done to members of one of the groups. Moreover, 
the number of influences that might be isolated diminishes rapidly as the 
person grows older: everyday living furnishes too many opportunities for 
individuals to develop their potentiahties. Consequently, use of this 

Research Methods 15 

method has typically been restricted to rather basic processes occurring 
in the early years of life. 

Co-twin method. Often employed in conjunction with the isolation 
method, the co-twin method clearly illustrates the investigator's attempt 
to control as many significant factors as possible in determining the 
relationship between variables. Because of the intimate relationship 
between hereditary endowment and many psychological processes, this 
method seeks to control the influence of heredity to the greatest possible 
extent. Identical twins, persons who have developed from the same 
fertilized germ cell and therefore possess virtually the same hereditary 
make-up, are used as subjects. In an experimental isolation study, one twin 
is exposed to the experimental situation and the other twin is not. Hence, 
both environmental and hereditary factors are maximally controlled. 

Although this method has proved very valuable in determining the 
relative importance of heredity and environment in the development of 
certain behavioral traits and abilities, its application is somewhat limited. 
Representing the closest approximation of the ideal experimental proce- 
dure, it has the drawback of sampling limitation: too few sets of iden- 
tical twins of the same age or developmental level are readily available to 
the investigator. In addition, when older twins are used, another problem 
presents itself: the possible influence of different experiential back- 
grounds, personal habits and traits, and volitional and other factors. As 
in so many cases, the ideal becomes somewhat impractical. 

Still another use of the co-twin method is available to the researcher. 
Identical twins may again be employed as subjects, but with no attempt 
to control their environment. Rather, the twins are reared in distinctive 
environmental settings, say in separate foster homes; or, as adults, they 
are exposed to decidedly different influences. They then may be compared 
with respect to some specific trait, ability, or mental state. If, then, the 
twins manifest significantly greater similarity than persons who have 
comparable environments but lack this hereditary resemblance, it must 
be concluded that the greater similarity of the twins is due to some 
hereditary factor. It might be noted in passing that research along this 
line has clearly demonstrated the important role of heredity in deter- 
mining intellectual capacity. Intensive research is currently being 
pursued to determine what, if any, hereditary basis exists for various 
types of personality and mental disorders. 


As indicated in the second step of the scientific method, one major 
characteristic of empirical science is the use of systematic observation. 
No one technique of observing, however, is applicable to all scientific 

16 Basic Approach 

problems. Certain procedures or tools are especially suitable for testing 
one hypothesis but are impossible or impractical for testing another. In 
considering the following tools, widely employed in developmental 
studies, several points must be borne in mind. First, such tools are not 
limited to developmental psychology or even to the science of psychol- 
ogy. Second, different tools may often be applied to the same problem. 
Finally, each represents a procedure possessing a multitude of possible 

Experimentation. By far the most highly refined and most desirable 
tool is experimentation. Basically this consists of the systematic varying 
of some factor or group of factors and the observation of what then 
occurs. The experimenter seeks to determine whether a change in one 
is accompanied by a change in the other. By way of simple illustration, 
let us consider an experiment in reaction time. An individual is instructed 
by the experimenter to press a certain button as quickly as he can, on 
hearing a certain sound or seeing a light signal. Each time either stimulus 
is presented a timing device records exactly how long it takes the subject 
to respond. Other variables that might influence reaction time are held 
constant, or at least observed so that their influences may be evaluated. 
By repeated measurements the experimenter is able to determine if there 
is a relationship between the independent variable and the dependent 
variable, between the type of stimulus and the speed of response. 

In the foregoing experiment only one factor was altered and only one 
response observed. This, of course, represents the simplest type of experi- 
ment. Yet it may have value in a developmental study if this experimenlj 
is repeated from month to month or from year to year and the results are 
compared. More complex experiments involve the simultaneous manipu- 
lation of a number of factors so that the possible interacting effect ol! 
such variables may be ascertained. It should be noted that the relation- 
ship between the experimentally manipulated variable and the observec 
phenomenon is not necessarily a cause-effect relationship. In the case oi 
experimental studies, as with all other empirical investigations, such 
relationship often merely signifies that the variables are mutually relatec 
to some known or unknown factors. 

Despite the fact that experimentation is the most precise and mos| 
widely employed method in psychology and most other sciences, it is no 
without its limitations. Many problems cannot be attacked experiment 
tally for practical, ethical, or other reasons. For example, the influence oi 
human development of some factor suspected to be seriously detrimenta 
cannot be evaluated experimentally, particularly if the introduction o 
such a factor would be for a prolonged period of time or might otherwis 
lead to a permanent change within the human subject. 

Case study. Another exceedingly valuable technique for gaining infoi 
mation regarding human development is the case-study method. Thi 

Research Methods 17 

tool, like the experimental method, embraces a wide variety of special- 
ized investigations. Fundamentally, it consists in obtaining information 
regarding an individual's past history and relating this to his present 
personality or behavioral characteristics. If, in comparing the records of 
a suflBciently large sample of subjects, certain consistent past events are 
found to precede a particular mode of behavior, a relationship may be 

Many specialized procedures may be utilized in establishing an indi- 
vidual's present level of development or mode of behavior. Similarly, 
many procedures may be employed in the acquisition of pertinent data 
concerning the person's history. In terms of the present, for example, 
observed behavior, standardized tests, or personal interviews might be 
used. In terms of the past, personal interviews with the individual or 
with those having information about the individual, medical and school 
records, and other sources might be employed. The method of collecting 
significant data naturally depends in large part upon the particular 
problem being investigated. 

Unlike the experimental method but similar to the remaining tools, the 
case study investigates the individual under relatively normal conditions. 
It considers the person as he is and as he was, seeking to trace the re- 
lationship between the present and the past. Such a procedure has both 
advantages and limitations. On one hand, it avoids the pitfall that might 
be encountered by the introduction of an artificial situation. On the other 
hand, there is always the danger that among the myriad factors influ- 
encing human development some important factor may be overlooked 
or, conversely, emphasized to the relative exclusion of others. The more 
complex the form of behavior being examined, the more critical this 
problem becomes. From the foregoing it should be quite clear that the 
various tools of scientific investigation must be used to supplement each 
other in the psychologist's quest for greater knowledge and understand- 
ing of the subjects under study. 

One additional point concerning the case-study technique should be 
noted. For the most part, case studies are concerned with persons who 
are abnormal or disturbed in some way. Inasmuch as such samples are 
not representative of the general population, great care must be exercised 
in applying any generalizations to the normal population. Yet, because 
the person who has failed to adjust adequately often represents an exag- 
gerated picture of basically normal processes or phenomena, case studies 
of such individuals frequently advance the understanding of normal 
development and adjustment, and occasionally they point the way to 
further research. 

Field study. A third general tool employed in developmental investi- 
gations consists in acquiring specific information from one or more 
samples of the population. As in the case study, no attempt is made to 

18 Basic Approach 

control the situation giving rise to the observed phenomenon. The ob- 
servations are related simply to the age level, sex, social relationships, 
or some group of characteristics of the persons or populations studied. 
For example, the question of how occupational aspirations of high school 
students compare v^ith the available positions might be the subject of 
investigation. By counting the frequency of expressed preferences among 
high school students and by computing the relative frequency of persons 
gainfully employed in such fields, it is possible to estimate how realistic 
are the aspirations of adolescents [4]. 

As indicated earlier, many specialized procedures may be employed 
in making actual observations. In the case of field studies, such tech- 
niques as questionnaires, interviews, tests, and time-and-behavior sam- 
pling may be employed. Like the other techniques employed in develop- 
mental studies, field studies have certain inherent assets and limitations. 
They share with the case study the advantages and disadvantages of 
investigating the individual under everyday circumstances. They also 
have the very practical advantage of enabling the research worker to 
amass data from a large group of subjects within a relatively short time. 
On the other hand, the amount of data obtained from each person is 
likely to be somewhat limited: important factors within an individual's 
past experience may be overlooked. Consequently, unless suitable pre- 
cautions are taken, the more complex the phenomenon being studied, 
the more likely it is that some important factor may be missed. 

Biographic tools. Biographies, autobiographies, personal memoirs, 
diaries, and similar literary contributions constitute the last general tech- 
nique in the study of human development. By noting the basic similar- 
ities and the differences in recorded life histories, much useful infor- 
mation can be accumulated. Many important aspects of behavior and 
personality lend themselves very well to this type of study. Changes in 
the intensity of religious conviction, the unfolding of creative ability, and 
modifications of the self-concept are but three examples of problems 
which can be studied effectively by this technique. 

Such biographic studies possess a number of unfortunate limitations. 
The accuracy of the original author is one. For example, when various 
biographies are compared, great discrepancies are sometimes found in 
the treatment of the same person, particularly in terms of personal dy- 
namics and motivation. Owing to the limitations of memory and possible 
misinterpretations of one's own motivating forces, autobiographies are 
also often subject to considerable error. But assuming that a set of such 
writings is quite accurate, there still is the practical problem of obtaining 
comparable material. What is considered important by one author fre- 
quently is not even treated by another. Finally, the subjects of such liter- 
ary works are, for the most part, not truly representative of the general 

Research Methods 19 

population. How many "average men," for example, publish diaries, 
write autobiographies, or have their biographies written? This last limita- 
tion may, however, be converted into an advantage: the study of those 
factors and events which have influenced men of outstanding achievement. 


1. Indicate the basic steps in the application of the scientific method. 

2. Distinguish between the inductive and the deductive approach in scientific 

3. In what way is the case-study technique similar to the longitudinal method? 
In what way do they differ? 

4. In what way is the field-study procedure similar to the cross-sectional method? 
In what way do they differ? 

5. What is the distinction between the cross-sectional method and the longitudinal 

6. Why should the investigator of human behavior employ several methods of 
study rather than just one? 


I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Brown, Clarence W., and Edwin E. Ghiselli. Scientific Method in Psychology. 
New York: McGraw-Hill, 1955. An excellent presentation of the basic assumptions, 
concepts, and steps in scientific methodology. 

2. Underwood, Benton J. Experimental Psychology: An Introduction. Chap. 1. 
New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1949. A comprehensive presentation of some 
fundamental concepts in scientific methodology and tools. 

II. Specific References 

3. Boring, Edwin G. A History of Experimental Psychology. (2nd ed.) New 
York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1950, 

4. Bradley, W. A. Correlates of Vocational Preferences. Genet. Psychol. Monogr., 
1943, 23, 99-169. 



Principles of 
Human Development 

THIS CHAPTER attempts to explain briefly the basic processes of human 
development. It will assess the role and importance of ( 1 ) growth proc- 
esses and levels, (2) the major concepts of this branch of science, and 
(3) the principles of growth and behavior in the total life span. 


Human development is principally marked by three interrelated proc- 
esses. They are differentiation, integration, and learning. Differentiation 
comes about by the multiplication of cells and by the gradual develop- 
ment of distinguishable tissues. These are first seen in the endodermic, 
mesodermic, and ectodermic layers. The outermost layer, called the 
ectoderm, eventually produces the outer layer of the skin, hair, nails, skin 
glands, sensory cells, and the entire nervous system of the body. The 
middle layer, the mesoderm, produces the deeper skin layers, muscle 
cells, and the circulatory and excretory organs of the body. Finally, the 
endoderm produces the lining of the entire digestive system, the lungs, 
liver, pancreas, and many of the glands. Thus, various organs emerge 
within each layer of tissue and combine into a variety of systems, such 
as the central nervous system and the circulatory, glandular, digestive, 
and excretory systems. These and related structural developments are 
presented in Chapter 6. 

Physiological growth furnishes a basis for the formation of receptor, 
conductor, and effector systems, which help various motivational, behav- 
ioral, and personality variables to emerge and function. The human 


Principles of Human Development 21 

mind, by means of mechanisms of the central nervous system, unifies the 
specialized systems and organs into a substantially interacting config- 
uration. The mind also serves itself by gratifying needs and by progress- 
ing toward a fuller self-realization in accordance with the demands of 
organism-environment interaction. Postnatal diflFerentiation and integra- 
tion are continually supported by learning experiences. Learning is a 
major way of acquiring a reservoir of abilities and skills needed for 
adaptation to changing circumstances and culture. 

A frequent comparative approach to identifying the level of growth 
has been to measure various factors of development and to quantify 
them in age units [1]. Thus, group growth curves are constructed to 
show and to be compared with individual intelHgence (MA, mental 
age), vital capacity, (VA, vital capacity age), height (HA, height age), 
weight (WA, weight age), ossification (CA, carpal age), and dentition 
(DA, dental age). In relation to major abilities, achievement age is 
usually determined and its quotient (AQ) used to identify the individual 
level of performance. All these measures may be summarized into or- 
ganismic age (OA) and its quotient (OQ). It is conceivable that a 
personality age (PA) and its quotient (PQ) will be determined when 
comprehensive personality tests are developed and validated. 


Self-realization may be seen as a lifelong process of developing and 
utilizing one's own capacities and potentiaUties within the promoting 
and restricting matrix of the forces of the environment and culture. It 
essentially depends on three principal factors: (1) heredity, (2) environ- 
ment, and (3) self-direction. 

Heredity, determined through the process of chromosome and gene 
combination, is unique for each human individual and remains a com- 
paratively stable factor throughout life. In the early phases of life, 
heredity initiates structural growth, mental development, and personality 
organization. It also sets the upper limits of all major maturational 
processes. But the actual level of development at any stage of Hfe de- 
pends to a considerable extent on the given environment. 

Environment includes many internal and external factors which a£Fect 
the individual. An individual's social environment gratifies his biological 
needs and provides a variety of stimuli for mental education and per- 
sonality formation. Frequent examples of appropriate ethical and moral 
behavior by parents and members of reference groups facilitate a higher 
level of self-realization and personal integration. In reverse, a lack of 
variety of mature exemplary behavior and of moral education inter- 
feres with the formation of socially desirable attitudes, predisposing 

22 Basic Approach 

the individual to the acquisition of undesirable and maladjustive habits 
and attitudes. The developmental roles of heredity and of some selected 
environmental factors will be appraised in the next chapter. 

As the child grows and matures, he learns to become more selective 
about what he takes in. Self-direction begins when the child expands 
his understanding to a level at which he is able to make inferences and 
form his estimations and judgments. The child's self-reliance becomes 
an ever-present factor in his relationships, interests, and activities. By 
thinking conceptually and symbolically, the child shows that he is be- 
coming less dependent on hereditary disposition and social guidance. 
Another evidence of his new freedom is ability to choose and determine 
his own activities. Thus, beginning with the preschool age, the child 
is able to concentrate his energies in carrying out his reasoned decisions 
and aspirations. Chapter 4 will present a detailed analysis of these 

As a result of several empirical and theoretical studies of growth, 
maturation, and the "ground plan" of life, Charlotte Buhler [7] dis- 
tinguishes four equally basic tendencies of life, viz., need satisfaction, 
expansive creativity, order upholding, and adaptive self -limitation. 
These tendencies are active in varying degrees, and each of them be- 
comes predominant at different levels of human development. The ul- 
timate goal is seen as self -fulfillment based upon optimal need satis- 
faction and creative expansion, both achieved while maintaining internal 
order and adapting to limiting situations. 


Development is the process by which an individual's potentialities 
unfold and appear as new abilities and skills, qualities and character- 
istics. In its over-all aspects, development involves growth and reaching 
higher degrees of differentiation, complexity, and efficiency of the human 
organism, and deterioration of its tissues and structural systems, as well 
as the maturation and decline of their functional and integrative capac- 
ities. Development implies a progressive change of an individual's 
pattern of reaction. Growth chiefly refers to the increment of the bodily 
tissues, organs, and structures. Maturation, in turn, implies that the per- 
son's functional abilities emerge and gradually progress toward a full 
realization. Deterioration, on the other hand, is an impairment of tissue 
or organ and a decline of function arising from age, pathology, or other 

No attempt will be made here to proceed with the analysis of other 
terms pertinent to developmental psychology. Many of them will be 
explained when they first appear in the text. Whenever a further clari- 

Principles of Human Development 23 

fication of ideas about various concepts is needed, it is suggested that 
the student make use of the Glossary at the end of the volume. Further 
information on psychological and related terms may be found in A Com- 
prehensive Dictionary of Psychological and Psychoanalytical Terms by 
Horace B. English and Ava C. EngHsh, published by Longmans in 
1958, and Encyclopedia of Educational Research, third edition, edited 
by Chester W. Harris and published by Macmillan in 1960. 


The God-given course of human development may be partially ex- 
plained by several major principles underlying growth, maturation, 
motivation, and behavior. 

The growth pattern follows a genetic sequence. The physiological 
development of the human being manifests itself in a universal and 
orderly process of structural change marked by two interrelated kinds of 
sequence: (1) the cephalocaudal and (2) the proximodistal. 

Cephalocaudal sequence, as the etymology of the word indicates, is 
the progression of diflFerentiation and structural maturation from the 
head, through the trunk, to the extremities. This means that the in- 
fant's brain and head grow faster and reach maturity earlier than the 
visceral organs do. At birth the head makes up over 20 per cent of body 
length; at maturity the ratio decreases and the head area claims only 8 
per cent of body length. The extremities are the last to mature. In 
terms of morphological changes, the later stages of life are marked by 
the same order. Thus, the brain deteriorates and loses its weight at a 
faster rate than visceral organs do. The extremities seem to produce the 
least deterioration or pathology in late stages of life. 

The proximodistal sequence merely amplifies the cephalocaudal. The 
growth of tissue and structure which is closer to the center of the body 
is a little faster than the maturation of tissues and systems which are 
located in its periphery. First, whole arm or leg movements are seen, 
then elbow and knee joint control, and finally the specialized reaching 
movements of the fingers or coordinated use of the legs for walking or 
jumping. In old age, therefore, it is not the skin or skin-related layers 
which deteriorate and produce trouble but the bones and, especially, 
other deeply localized structures. These ache more often and become 
more easily damaged as a result of illness, infection, toxins, and many 
other factors. It is not the skull which deteriorates but the brain inside 
of it [9]. 

All individuals are different. Though to an inexperienced eye some 
individuals, especially identical twins, may appear much alike if not the 
same, careful observation always reveals that no two persons are identi- 

24 Basic Approach 

cal in any of their observable aspects, as for example, fingerprints and 
handwriting. Because of his rate of maturation and individual experi- 
ences, each human being is continuously changing in his own way, even 
when some appearance and behavior traits seem to remain constant. 
Developmental resources and experiential qualities also differ from 
person to person as counselors and psychotherapists report. Nancy Bay- 
ley's study [6] on individual patterns of development presents evidence 
and illustrations of differences in physical and related rates of matura- 
tion. Parents seem to forget this basic principle when they expect similar 
rates of development in their own children. The tendency to generaUze 
about the development of representatives of various groups, races, and 
nations is also great indeed. Many stereotypes are used to represent mil- 
lions of individuals who are merely similar in some features and differ 
substantially in many others. 

Various systems and functions of the organism and personality have 
different developmental rates and phases. All systems and organs of 
the human body have individual cyclic and asynchronous rates of struc- 
tural and functional development. The brain, for example, grows at a 
very rapid rate during the prenatal and early postnatal stages and 

Figure 3-1. Curves of Growth of Various Factors of Development 

Body weight 

Brain weight 

— Motor performance 

— imagination 

18 20 22 24 26 


Genital organs 

Principles of Human Development 25 

reaches its approximately full weight and structural diflFerentiation 
several years before puberty changes commence. In fact, at two years 
of age its weight approaches 80 per cent of its adult weight. On the 
other hand, during the early years of life there is only very limited 
increment of the genital organs and system. At approximately twelve 
years of age this system has about 10 per cent of its mature weight, since 
its major developments occur at the stage of puberty. Because of this 
inconsistency of structural growth, unevenness and temporary imbal- 
ances in biochemical controls are bound to occur during the phases of 
pronounced growth, e.g., infancy and pubescence. Generally, fast 
growth will cause repercussions in health and personality. The implica- 
tion for learning and performance is obvious if parents and teachers 
are clear about which abilities and skills are involved in the production 
of a particular behavior. Various bodily systems and mental functions 
also have different rates of deterioration. Within the glandular system, 
for instance, the thymus gland begins to decrease its function and 
structurally shrinks in the advanced years of childhood, while the sexual 
glands deteriorate functionally in the forties in women and about two 
decades later in men. The other endocrine glands maintain their func- 
tional capacity as long as life is continued. 

Behavioral activities are largely directed by functional capacities 
and the fundamental needs of life. Fundamental needs are generated 
by the total human nature, especially in its biological and psychosocial 
aspects and processes. The manifestations of these needs appear at the 
earliest stages of development and never do substantially subside within 
the cycle of life. First, there is the need of a constant internal environ- 
ment, characterized by a limited variabihty in temperature, metabolic 
and catabolic processes, and blood pressure [8, 10, 11]. Then, energy ex- 
change through the provision of nutrients in early life promotes readi- 
ness for engaging in complex activities later. Consumption of energy is 
the immediate cause of various vegetative processes, such as digestion, 
circulation, elimination, glandular productivity, and coordination through 
the central nervous system. In so far as these needs are gratified, the in- 
dividual is disposed toward higher levels of activity and aspires beyond 
valences and values dictated by the fundamental needs and their deriva- 

The moral and spiritual nature generates needs which often gain in- 
sufficient autonomy to exercise dominance over biogenetic needs. Dep- 
rivation of the sources of energy produces tension and drive intensity 
which may lead to lack of equilibrium and interference with growth, 
but as soon as such a condition is alleviated by supply, the organism 
tends to regain its functional complexity and resumes its former pattern 
of striving toward its goals. When pathological changes occur, they 

26 Basic Approach 

may disrupt the pattern of both structural development and personality 

Unfolding abilities and skills are spontaneously expressed. There 
resides in the infant, child, adolescent, and adult a powerful impulse to 
grow and mature, to unfold new abilities and to improve them by prac- 
tice and revision. Most of the capacities and potentialities inherent in 
the individual nature materialize or become activated in the first two 
decades of life. Endowments and abilities are to a considerable degree 
irrepressible, yet activation of some of them may leave no room for the 
realization of related or antagonistic potentialities. 

The tendency toward optimum functioning is vividly exemplified at 
the early stages of postnatal life. As soon as the infant develops a new 
motor skill or language ability, he experiences a powerful impulse to 
practice it. When babbling or creeping takes a new form, exercises may 
absorb the infant for hours. Repeatedly he turns back to their reproduc- 
tion and seemingly derives considerable enjoyment from it. Parental 
patience is often challenged by the child's continual repetitious question- 
ing. Apparently the child wants to get a particular idea deep into his 
mind before he feels ready to take the next step along the same line of 
growth. As soon as the child functions well within a dimension of ex- 
perience, the foundation is laid for a further differentiation, and soon he 
is ready to discard the underlying abilities for the sake of the more ad- 
vanced. Thus, creeping is discarded as soon as walking is well estab- 
lished at about the fifteen-month level, and "baby talk" disappears in 
the latter part of the fourth year when the child advances in speech 
efficiency. Curiosity and desire for exploration, for new experiences, and 
for progress in the application of abilities and skills extend far into the 
advanced stages of life and usually do not fully disappear in old age. 
Certain restriction of activities and disappearance of interest in old age 
are often due to the general decrease of energy and ability, rather than 
to the lack of impetus to apply what has been developed during the 
preceding stages of life and is still functionally available. 

Behavioral tendencies follow the maturational sequence. The obser- 
vation of many growing individuals tends to reveal a certain order and 
regularity in their changes of behavior. First, certain traits, habits, and 
attitudes appear, then increase in the complexity of their application, 
and finally have repercussions on self-expression and life pattern. Such 
differentiation of mental functions and behavior may be interpreted as a 
sequence from general to specific, from concrete to abstract, from non- 
selective to extremely selective, from tangible to intangible, and finally 
from known to unknown. Thus, the total body of the infant is in motion 
before he is able to produce any qualifiable pattern of motion. The baby 
accumulates a substantial repertoire of sounds before he is able to 

Principles of Human Development 27 

articulate any of them. He may use "bird" for all creatures having wing- 
like extensions before he learns to call each winged object by its proper 
name. He learns that some objects are at times "hot" long before he can 
explain the concept of heat. Scribbling turns into drawing of recog- 
nizable objects, and drawing is advanced to detailed portrayal of reality. 
His behavior can be classified as solitary or self-centered before it be- 
comes "social" and "altruistic." Understanding of physics may be fol- 
lowed by interest in metaphysics. 

First he perceives what is tangible; much later he begins to understand 
the more abstract and less tangible aspects of reality. First he knows one 
song and uses it alone; later he gradually increases his repertoire of songs 
and melodies and begins to use them with more discretion. These ex- 
amples show how differential responsiveness expands as individual ex- 
perience accumulates and that specific responses are more frequent at 
later stages of maturity. Social or cultural sophistication is impossible in 
preschool years but is proper at late adolescence. A child and a young 
adolescent have hmits in adjusting themselves to the complexity of 
modem urban life. They may frequently need parental protection, and 
will profit from psychologically oriented guidance, while an adult under 
the same circumstances may adjust better because his resourcefulness 
has been amplified through previous experiences. 

Each phase of development has characteristic traits and features. 
This principle is explained or illustrated in many sections of the book. 
If one observes carefully for some time the play activity of an infant 
and then that of a preschool child, he will be impressed by differences 
in approach, complexity, duration, and other formal elements of play, 
despite the fact that the play material and situation may be practically 
the same. If two other individuals, one an infant and the other a child, 
use playthings in the same manner and engage in the same activities, 
one wonders about the child's level of development. The question is 
this: Is the child acting normally for his level of development? The little 
evidence of pattern and complexity in play, the "baby talk," and the 
clumsiness in psychomotor behavior of the child lead the trained ob- 
server to infer that his level of maturity is approximately the same as 
the infant's. Both would seem to be in the same phase of development, 
with this difference: the child is retarded, the infant mature for his age. 
In the case of severe retardation it may be expected that the individual 
will neither reach all advanced developmental levels nor exhibit be- 
havioral complexity typical of the advanced stages of adulthood. 

Thorough observation of each phase also seems to indicate that some 
characteristic traits or forms of adjustment generally classified as "prob- 
lem behavior" are merely normal and even necessary forms of experimen- 
tation leading to more integrative and adjustive behavior patterns in the 


28 Basic Appivach 

advanced level of the same stage. A careful study by Jean W. Macfar- 
lane, Lucille Allen, and Marjorie P. Honzik [12] on behavior problems of 
normal children presents striking illustrations and table summaries of 
such undesirable behavior from babyhood to fourteen years of age. 
Figure 3-2 illustrates changes in temper tantrums from five to fourteen 
years of age. 

The developmental course is continuous. In the acquirement of a new 
factor, abiHty, or skill, there are preparational and manifest phases. 
In teething, for example, the underlying growth of all the first set and 
most of the permanent set of teeth is already evident at birth by means 
of the X ray. This is long before they can be "seen" or otherwise ac- 
knowledged. Many teeth of the first set are already partly or wholly 
hardened. Cooing and babbling exercises are recognized as underlying 
stages of forthcoming speech development. Simple patterns of play are 
practiced long before complex play activities can be attempted. 

Measurements of specific developments, such as height, vocabulary, 
or motor performances, however, do not indicate uniformly increasing 
changes; rather they will show spurts, plateaus, and even regression. 
During the plateau periods, however, the incubation of previous learning 
and skills takes place. The earlier developments are integrated into a 
new pattern, and a readiness for understanding of new horizons is ac- 
quired. Thus, development is continuous in its over-all aspects, but 
rhythmic in terms of specific growth factors. 

Through a preparational phase a person becomes well equipped to 
exhibit an advanced mode of self-expression. At this time a high de- 
gree of readiness for the particular learning involved is observed. If 
learning-eliciting stimuli are absent within one total stage of develop- 
ment, the individual may be deprived of the learning experience. As a re- 
sult, foundations for the following and more refined levels of develop- 
ment will not be established and any advanced learning of this kind will 
be curtailed. J 

Within the dimensions of the human organism and personality, there ' 
are many facets and traits to be developed. The growth of each affects 
the person's total configuration by modifying many of its factors in some 
way. Therefore, whether it proceeds faster or slower in its particular and 
over-all aspects, development is a continuous process. It advances in a 
more or less integrated way, conditioned by the interaction of biochemi- 
cal, psychological, and environmental factors. 

Human life is phasic. Rate, cycle, and rhythm of many intraorganic 
changes and the resulting behavioral manifestations and levels of per- 
sonality integration enable psychologists to distinguish transitional from 
the more stable phases of human development and decline. More re- 
fined psychoanalytic and clinical studies have identified some of the 

Principles of Human Development 29 

Figure 3-2. Temper Tantrums 

5 years 

6 years 

7 years 

8 years 

9 years 

50 70 

i — I I 

10 years 

11 years 

12 years 

13 years 

14 years 

Distributions of codings 

■iBoys M^ Girls Control group, A^=352 

Coding : 

*1 Severe explosions three or more tinnes a week or doily screaming 

•2 Occasional severe explosions or frequent screaming 

*3 Infrequent severe explosions or frequent mild outbursts of temper 

4 Occasional mild temper tantrums 

5 Infrequent fretting-, anger reaction practically nonexistent 
*Considered problems 

(Jean W. Macfarlane et al A Developmental Study of the Behavior Problems of 
Normal Children between Twenty-one Months and Fourteen Years. P. 55. Berkeley, 
Calif.: University of California Press, 1954.) 

30 Basic Approach 

more accurate criteria of various phases. Genetic investigations of large 
groups of individuals at various ages have substantiated this phasic ap- 
proach to developmental psychology. Frequent use of such terms as "re- 
tarded," "infantile," "pubescent," and "immature" points to identification 
with a specific level of development as a frame of reference. The assump- 
tion may be made that each phase of development has a psychology 
of its own; the infant is not a miniature child, and the child is not a 
miniature adult. Each has specialized traits and qualities peculiar only 
to his level of development [4, pp. 25-65]. At each phase of life there 
are specific tasks and hazards, modes of interpretation and choice, which 
set advantages or limitations for successive phases. 

Forthcoming growth and behavior are predictable. Since the develop- 
mental course is an orderly sequence in growth, motivation, behavior, 
and possibly in personality organization, it may be inferred that, if some- 
one is an expert in developmental processes and behavior and is capable 
of their diagnostic assessment, he can predict or at least estimate the 
forthcoming steps of growth in terms of motivational structure, achieve- 
ment, and preferred tendencies of self-expression of a particular individ- 
ual. If exigencies are considered, psychometric and projective testing and 
retesting during several years enables the psychologist to estimate with 
considerable accuracy the present abilities and driving forces; and, since 
every individual is fairly constant in rate of development, he can predict 
the further course of growth and maturation. Such prognosis may indi- 
cate that one child should be able to do college work because of his supe- 
rior intelligence, while another child is mentally retarded, and, unless the 
testing is invalid, will not "catch up" to the average level of performance. 
A particular adolescent will not continue to be especially interested in 
music or engineering because he does not possess the aptitude; that is, 
an underlying capacity which could be developed and would make him 
successful in the pursuit of his present interests and objectives. Profes- 
sional individual interviewing and testing make many general predic- 
tions sufficiently substantial for practical purposes. A word of caution is 
needed here: although prognosis, or prediction, is possible, such exam- 
ination does not and cannot consider all possible factors influencing 
the behavior of a particular individual. For example, because of a par- 
ticular person's unique experience, compensative and overcompensative 
efforts may become so pervasive as to make some further growth pos- 
sible. Such specific variables cannot be estimated on the basis of ob- 
jective test data. Furthermore, prediction generally sets upper limits 
rather than identifies particular future acts of selection. If the individual's 
intelligence is low, the psychologist is justified in his conclusion that very 
intelligent performances will not be achieved, but how the individual 
will utilize his limited intellectual resources cannot, with accuracy, be 

Principles of Human Development 31 

predicted. The individuality and the personahty of a human being are 
very complex and too deep to be fully subjected to psychological assess- 
ment. As a result, difficulties are bound to arise whenever one attempts 
to evolve a total growth configuration or to predict or control behavior. 
Much research is needed to improve the psychological tools and the 
education of psychologists in order to promote the adequacy of predic- 
tion and the efficiency of control for which science is striving. 

The individual develops as a unified whole. The levels of biological, 
psychological, and intellectual growth and integration may difiFer from 
person to person, yet there are no individuals whose bodily functions, 
mental abilities, or personality organization lack unification and some 
kind of biochemical and behavioral balance at any phase of develop- 
ment. Certain aspects of development may be uneven or to a degree 
dissociated in exceptional children and mentally disordered individuals. 
Beyond this lack of balance, a kind of intrinsic wholeness exists when- 
ever the individual is capable of maintaining his life even though this 
internal unification may not be adequately expressed in behavior. 

Some writers associate the phase of puberty with physical and sexual 
maturation and seem to disregard the spurts of imaginative, intellectual, 
and emotional development which take place at the same time. Changes 
in the self-concept and control status and in personality and character 
at this stage are also frequently not considered. From stage to stage, all 
factors either change or are affected by other changes in myriad ways. 
This principle, which indicates the unity of human development, applies 
to most dimensions of growth. 


1. Analyze the relationship between development, growth, and maturation. 

2. What are the principal factors on which self-realization depends? 

3. Explain how genetic sequence of growth pattern applies to (a) the early and 
(b) the late stages of life. 

4. Describe concisely the maturation of several bodily systems and mental 

5. What factors contribute to individual differences and how? 

6. Indicate the nature of fundamental human needs and explain their role in be- 
havior organization. 

7. What measures can be used to predict developmental potentiaHties? Why is 
caution necessary in applying them? 

8. What are the genetic regularities and sequences facilitating prediction? 

I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Harris, Dale B. (Ed.) The Concept of Development. Minneapolis: University 
of Minnesota Press, 1957. Formulation of the concept of development by various 

32 Basic Approach 

experts and its implications for human behavior, social sciences, and humanities are 

2. Hurlock, Elizabeth B. Child Development. (3rd ed.) Chap. 1. New York: 
McGraw-Hill, 1956. Discusses changes, rates, and causes of development and 
methods of appraising it, including particular principles. 

3. Millard, Cecil V. Child Growth and Development. Chap. 2. Boston: Heath, 
1951. The meaning of growth and its basic principles are presented, with some 
implications for child education. 

4. Pikunas, Justin. Fundamental Child Psychology. Chaps. 2 and 3. Milwaukee: 
Bruce, 1957. Chap. 2 defines the basic concepts and clarifies their relationships, 
while chap. 3 presents the principles of development and their applications in inter- 
preting growth and maturation. 

5. Seidman, Jerome M. (Ed.) The Child: A Book of Readings. Chap. 1. New 
York: Rinehart, 1958. Reorientational ideas about the heredity-environment con- 
troversy, laws governing growth, learning, and developmental tasks of yoimg 
people are discussed. 

n. specific References 

6. Bayley, Nancy. Individual Patterns of Development, Child Developm., 1956, 
27, 45-74. 

7. Buhler, Charlotte, et al. The Human Course of Life: Theoretical and Clinical 
Considerations. In press. An attempt through a synthetic approach to account for 
the total pattern of motivation, both normal and deviate, by means of the extensive 
evaluation of other contributions. 

8. Cannon, W. B. The Wisdom of the Body. (Rev. ed.) New York: Knopf, 1950. 

9. Carlson, A. J., and E. J. Stieglitz. Physiological Changes in Aging. Ann. Amer. 
Acad. Pol. Sci., 1952, 279, 18-31. 

10. Diamond, Solomon. Personality and Temperament. New York: Harper, 1957. 

11. Freeman, G. L. The Energetics of Human Behavior. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell 
University Press, 1958. 

12. Macfarlane, Jean W., et al. A Developmental Study of the Behavior Problems 
of Normal Children between Twenty-one Months and Fourteen Years. Berkeley, 
Calif.: University of California Press, 1954. 

13. Remplein, Heinz. Die seelische Entwicklung des Menschen im Kindes- und 
Jugendalter. (7th ed. ) Munich: Reinhardt, 1958. 


Act Your Age (13% min) Coronet, 1949. Pertinent to chap. 1; it also illustrates some 

principles of chap. 3. 
Principles of Development (17 min) McGraw-Hill: Child Development Series, 

1950. Enhances understanding of materials in chaps. 3 and 8. 
The Steps of Age (25 min) International Film Bureau, 1951. Relevant to chaps. 1, 3, 

and 23; designed to explain the relationships between young and old people. 
Using the Scientific Method (11 min) Coronet, 1952. Research on an everyday 

problem by scientific techniques and procedure. 

All films listed here and in other sections are 16 mm, sound, and black-and- 
white, unless otherwise noted; rental services are available through the McGraw- 
Hill Text-Fihn Department, 330 West 42nd Street, New York 36, New York; 

Principles of Human Development 33 

Psychological Cinema Register, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, 
Pennsylvania; and many other state universities as well as some public libraries. 
Additional information may be secured from the following sources: 

Antonini, Josephine S, (Ed.) Educational Film Guide: 1954-1958. New York: 
H. W. Wilson, 1958. A catalogue of 6,326 16-mm films. Earlier editions of 
Educational Film Guide and forthcoming armual editions may be consulted, if 

Horkheimer, Mary F., and John W. Diffor (Eds.). Educators Guide to Free Films. 
(20th ed. ) Randolph, Wis.: Educators Progress Service, 1960. Forthcoming edi- 
tions may be consulted, if needed. 

Filmstrips are useful teaching aids. The necessary information about them and 
their availability for the subjects on human development may be secured from 
the following sources: 

Krahn, Frederic A. (Ed.) Filmstrip Guide. (3rd ed. ) New York: H. W. Wilson, 
1954. 5,882 35-mm filmstrips indexed and described. 

Horkheimer, Mary F., and John W. Difi:br (Eds.). Educators Guide to Free Film- 
strips. (12th ed.) Randolph, Wis.: Educators Progress Service, 1960. 


Specific references following each chapter represent largely research studies; 
additionally, recent journal articles and bulletins, such as Research Relating to 
Children (Washington 25, D.C.: U.S. Children's Bureau), should also be con- 
sulted for factual findings. 



HUMAN DEVELOPMENT is often viewcd as determined or largely affected 
by such factors as heredity, physical environment, and family. 
Analysis of the influences of these major forces is supplemented by an 
examination of such factors as self, school, society, and culture. Further- 
more, developmental occurrences per se at each period of life set the 
stage for later events. For this reason, discussion of physical and mental 
growth trends, general modes of emotional maturation, and levels of 
socialization is presented in this section. The role of each major develop- 
ment is interpreted in the light of its repercussions on the total growth 
and behavior pattern. 



Factors Influencing 
Development and Personality 

DEVELOPMENT manifests itself in several major dimensions. Physiological 
growth of the organism is one of them. From an almost microscopic 
fertilized ovum the complex physiological structure of the organism is 
developed during the prenatal periods of maturation. Yet the complexity 
of physiological systems continues to increase in various ways after 
birth. The following chapter covers the basic trends of physiological 
growth throughout life, while Chapter 6 analyzes the structural differen- 
tiation preceding birth. 

Because of restricted environment at the prenatal level of growth, the 
development of behavior appears to be very limited. Change of environ- 
ment during the process of birth makes possible individualized expres- 
sion of various categories of behavior. Emotional experience represents 
a very important division of the behavior-organizing forces. The newborn 
has a capacity to exhibit emotional behavior, and various emotions ap- 
pear early in postnatal life. Parental feeling and attitude elicit similar 
emotions on the part of infant and child. Throughout life emotional in- 
teraction is one of the most vivid aspects of human relationship. 

Among the other behavior-organizing forces, intellectual functions 
stand out. Most of the organizing forces are observable before the second 
birthday, yet their development and influence continue to increase for 
many years. Intellectual abilities are chiefly responsible for the exhibi- 
tion of purely human behavior, such as speaking, thinking, and creative 

Physiological growth and the development of various kinds of be- 
havior depend on heredity, environment, and self-direction. The follow- 


38 Fundamental Influences 

ing sections of this chapter are devoted to the identification and clarifi- 
cation of these factors and related influences in terms of their effects 
on human development. 


Heredity refers to the over-all influences biologically transmitted from, 
parents to offspring. Individual inheritance is determined during the 
process of fertilization. This unique process is the chance pairing off of 
chromosome units and genes within the cytoplasm and structure of the 
ovum when it is penetrated by and fuses with a spermatozoon. Every 
individual combination of genes is but one of an estimated 16,777,216 
pairing arrangements. This makes the heredity of each person practically 
unique [16]. 

Usually once during the menstrual cycle ovulation occurs: one 
ripened ovum is released from the ovary into the Fallopian tube, where 
conception may take place. Ovulation regularly takes place near the 
middle of the interval between two menstrual periods. It most fre- 
quently occurs from ten to eighteen days after the beginning of a 
menstrual period, it is estimated; although no time in the cycle is com- 
pletely safe from the occurrence of ovulation. In other words, there are 
considerable differences between individuals as well as differences within 
each individual in the time of ovulation. The ovum, about 0.15 millimeter 
in diameter, or the size of a printed period, is one of the largest cells in 
the human organism. A round, clear, shell-like capsule, it contains a yolk 
which is used for the purpose of its nourishment during its germinal 
stage of development. The spermatozoon is one of the very minute cells 
of the body, measuring approximately 0.05 millimeter in diameter. Dur- 
ing intercourse the male may release millions of spermatozoa, up to ap- 
proximately 500 million in each ejaculation. The thin tail of the sperma- 
tozoon, which is about ten times the length of the cell body, provides 
mobility by moving from one side to the other. For about ten days after 
conception the fertilized ovum, or zygote, drifts along dividing into a 
cluster of many cells; then it adheres to the uterus wall and the pla- 
centa is formed. 

The individual's inheritance is determined at the time of conception. 
Because of its complexity, many aspects of human heredity are not fully 
understood. It is certain, however, that the fertilized cell contains at 
least twenty-three pairs of small, threadlike particles called chromo- 
somes, each parent contributing one-half of each pair. Within each of 
the chromosomes there are thousands of microscopically undetectable 
particles called genes, which by inference are seen as direct carriers of 
inheritance. The genes determine such traits as physical structure, eye 
and hair coloring, blood type, and speed of maturation. 

Factors Influencing Development and Personality 39 

The chromosomes determine whether a child will be male or female. 
One pair of chromosomes is especially concerned with this matter. Every 
ovum and about half of the spermatozoa at the time of conception have 
twenty- three chromosomes, one of which is identified as X chromosome.* 
In the other half of spermatozoa in place of X chromosome there is one 
that is different in its structure and smaller in weight. It is referred to as 
a Y chromosome. Thus, following conception the cell contains 23 pairs 
of chromosomes, in the case of a female there being two X chromosomes; 
in the case of a male an X and Y. Statistics indicate that 105 boys are 
bom for each 100 girls. 

Two and sometimes more fertilizations may occur at the same time. 
This leads to a multiple birth of fraternal twins. The single fertilized 
cell may divide into two parts. As a result two individuals referred 
to as identical twins develop. In some respects the division may be im- 
perfect, and the heredity of both individuals wiU not be exactly the same. 


Genes are usually considered as direct carriers of heredity. The con- 
cept of the gene is merely an inferred concept referring to a submicro- 
scopic and unobservable physical unit which in combination with a gene 
from the other parent determines a specific growth tendency of a trait. 
Several or many such pairs often participate in determining a single 
physiological trait. Because the genes from the two parents are affected 
by possibly five previous generations in the father's and mother's lines 
and are assorted by principles not yet known, there are no known ways 
in which heredity can be fully assessed. The great number of combina- 
tions possible in the pairing-off process presents another problem in the 
determination of individual heredity. 

Hereditary differences are thus apparently due to (1) variability 
within the chromosome and gene structure and its potential, and (2) 
practically unlimited combination possibilities in the process of pairing 
off among the genes during the process of fertilization. Genes are as- 
sumed to set limits on growth and on both the variety and quality of 
response to internal and external stimuli. 

Heredity is not a stable factor as some geneticists tend to believe. 
The influence of external factors becomes manifest as soon as the 
placenta is established and the mother's condition is to a degree trans- 
mitted somehow to the developing embryo. Hereditary and innate fac- 
tors play the role of a matrix, upon which various environmental tenden- 

* Recent research studies seem to indicate the existence of 23 chromosomes rather 
than 24 as was believed earlier. Also, it is not as yet fuUy clear to what degree other 
chromosomes contribute to the determination of sexual characteristics. 


40 Fundamental Influences 

cies act in a stimulating or suppressive fashion to produce results which 
may not seem to be consistent with original hereditary endowments. 


Fundamentally, environmental influences consist of five intimately in- 
teracting factors: physical environment, family, school, society, and cul- 
ture. Each one deserves analysis of its constituent elements and its role 
in the development of a human being. 

Physical environment. The milieu in which a person lives is first of all 
physical in character. Various physical factors, such as climate or con- 
gestion of the home, continually impinge on the person. Physiological 
growth and health depend in large part on his immediate surroundings. 
As a result, personal drives and needs are expressed and gratified in 
various ways which are closely related to physical factors. 

Family. As a primary group, the family exercises its influence on each 
member, especially on young children, in many ways. It provides the 
basis for close interaction within a particular home environment and 
atmosphere. Each family is marked by (1) the background of its mem- 
bers, which is in some ways unique, and (2) a number of specific rela- 
tionships. V^ithin the context of the family each member is placed in a 
status that has varied effects on him and is affected by family size and 
pattern. As the family's size increases in mathematical progression, rela- 
tionships among its members grow in geometrical progression. Figure 
4-1 serves to illustrate this kind of extension of intrafamilial relations. 

A family group comprises individuals of differing experiential back- 
ground, sex, and age. Frequently such a group is bound together by 
intimate relationships marked by kinship, affection, and mutual sharing 
in activities and interests. The relationships, however, may be marked by 
an extensive lack of sharing and frequent rivalry and hostility. Theo- 
retically any combination of attitudes and relationships is possible within 
a famfly because of the dynamic characteristics of family living. More- 
over, family relationships may expand and include other individuals 
who share the household. 

The noted sociologist J. H. S. Bossard [2, p. 57] identifies the family 
as a "transmitting" rather than a "generating" agency. The members of 
the family are "constantly contacting, bringing into the home, assessing, 
and evaluating the outside world. The home is a sort of crossroads, to 
which the outside world comes constantly." Most experimental departures 
from home by children and adults alike provide a series of experiences 
instrumental in social weaning and learning, which, in turn, enrich and 
build up their personalities. This aspect of family life is comprehensively 
and dynamically analyzed and illustrated in Evelyn M. Duvall's volume 

Factors Influencing Development and Personality 41 

Family Development [3]. This excellent source stresses developmental 
tasks and discusses at length patterns of interaction among members of 
various families. 

A factor of great bearing on the life of an infant or child is the pres- 
ence or absence of siblings. From the very early stages of his life, an in- 
fant's personality is in many ways influenced by brothers and sisters; 
first by the brothers and sisters older than himself, and later by new- 
comers to the expanding unit of the family. In terms of roles and conse- 
quent family relationships, the later newcomers to the family find "pre- 
empted" positions. As a result, they are moved toward accepting the re- 
maining roles. Among many studies focused on sibling interaction in 
large families, J. H. S. Bossard and Eleanor S. Boll's The Large Family 
System [10] stands out as a major source of information, especially 
pertinent to the effects siblings have on each other. This study of sixty- 
four families identifies eight specialized roles assumed by siblings: the 
responsible one, the popular one, the socially ambitious one, the studious 
one, the family isolate, the irresponsible one, the sickly one, and the 
spoiled one [10, pp. 205-221]. 

Before infancy expires, a child may acquire a special personality role 
in the family group. Soon this role will be recognized by his parents, 
siblings, and the child himself. The process of assuming it has a good 
deal to do with the innate characteristics and the emerging personality 
pattern of the child. The role usually involves the child's concept of him- 

Figure 4-1. Progression of Family Ties 

42 Fundamental Influences 

self. To a large extent it is merely a partially conscious expression of the 
individual in terms of his adjustment and integration at each level of de- 
velopment. In a small family first identifications with a role are made 
by parents when they appraise and interpret children's behavior; in a 
large family they tend to be made largely by siblings. The latter seize 
upon large and minor differences in traits, aptitudes, and idiosyncrasies 
as a way of distinguishing one sibling from another and stimulate their 
development. Since such distinguishing features help a child to stand out 
as an individual, many children take opportunities to make them mani- 
fest. A child may accept his role with varying degrees of gratification 
and make adjustments to it, or he may reject it with all the modes of 
negative adjustment, including deep resentment and attempts to escape 
it. Adjustment to one's specialized role within the family is, in some ways 
at least, the key to one's personality formation and status orientation in 
later phases of life [10, pp. 202-204]. 

The far-reaching influences of the family are clarified by the principle 
of primacy, an assumption that the first acts or experiences in a given 
category or series tend to impress more and have more weight than 
later acts in determining future reactions of an individual. Since family 
life offers opportunities for most original experiences, its future-deter- 
mining role cannot be overlooked. Early family situations represent 
many prototypes for learning interpersonal relationships and attitudes 
toward other individuals and groups. Effects of such primal learning 
act as subconscious dynamic factors in later relationships and adjust- 
ments to various social aspects of living. 

It is noteworthy that the American family is again becoming a rather 
large system. Between 1940 and 1955, birth rates for third and fourth 
children in the United States continued to climb [17]. Despite the fact 
that the number of children is increasing and consequently the opportuni- 
ties for interpersonal adjustment are expanding, deterioration of integrity 
and coherence is attested by present research on family life. Friction is 
widely present; increased frequency of separations and divorces is re- 
ported. The following changes in interpersonal relationships and ex- 
periences within the family structure may represent one significant yet 
empirically unascertained factor in this deterioration. 

Parental roles. The role the father of the family assumes has changed 
noticeably within recent decades. Fathers are assuming a larger share of 
parental activity and responsibility. First, because of automation and 
union influences, the father has more time at his disposal to spend with 
the family. This is especially true in the lower-income brackets. Then, 
considerably fewer families are living with grandparents, other relatives, 
or boarders. 

The influence of the father's psychological traits takes effect as he 

Factors Influencing Development and Personality 43 

comes in contact with the child and is instrumental in caring for its 
needs. If the father, for example, is tense and rough and disregards most 
of the child's attention-securing devices, the child's ego is threatened and 
his anxieties are aroused. As a result, his dependence on the mother is 
heightened because he needs consolation and tenderness. These com- 
pensative efiForts may be successful if the mother responds difiFerently 
from the father. Psychological properties of both parents and siblings 
are the child's sources in developing an idea of what kinds of persons 
do and do not o£Fer gratification of his needs and desires. The child 
tends to generalize and to form expectations as his social environment 

TABLE 4-1 
How Mother Felt When She Discovered She Was Pregnant 

(N = 379) 

Per cent 

1. Delighted; very happy; had been waiting and hoping for this 50 

2. Pleased, but no evidence of enthusiasm (includes "This was a planned 
baby" — said matter of factly) 18 

3. Pleased generally; some reservations 6 

4. Mixed feelings; advantages and disadvantages weighed about equally 9 

5. Generally displeased, although some bright spots seen 9 

6. Displeased; no reservations 7 

7. Not ascertained 1 

source: R. R. Sears, E. E. Maccoby, and H. Levin. Patterns of Child Rearing. 
P. 32. Evanston, 111.: Row, Peterson & Co., 1957. By permission. 

The role a father or mother plays may vary extremely in its eflFects 
on a child. Children look at parents and adults from their own deeply 
subjective point of view. As Bossard [2, pp. 55-56] points out, "The rela- 
tive importance of adult family members in the child's development 
is not determined solely by degree of kinship, but also, and perhaps even 
largely so, by the needs of the child and the satisfaction of those needs 
by the various members of the family group." Since the mother usually 
spends more time caring for her child, she is the one who gratifies many 
of his wants and whims. Hence, the mother is in a natural position to 
take a key role in guiding the child's life. 

The variability in the character of this role is illustrated by two 
tables from R. R. Sears, Eleanor E. Maccoby, and H. Levin's detailed 
study [6] of attitudes and patterns in child rearing assessed on the basis 
of data supplied by 379 American mothers. Table 4-1 points out original 

44 Fundamental Influences 

attitudes toward having children, while Table 4-2 distinguishes among 
techniques of child management. 

T. Parsons [15] observes that mothers "are continually about the 
house" and are doing relatively tangible work. Therefore, it is "possible 
for the daughter to participate actively and usefully in many of these 
activities." From an early age she is initiated into many important aspects 
of the feminine role. The father spends much more time away than the 
mother, and many of the masculine functions at home are less tangible; 
therefore their meaning remains to a larger extent inaccessible to a boy. 
This leaves him "without a meaningful model to emulate" and with less 
"possibility of a gradual initiation into the activities of the adult male 

TABLE 4-2 
Extent of Use of Tangible Rewards 

(N = 379) 

Per cent 

1. Mother never uses rewards 12 

2. Rarely uses rewards 18 

3. Sometimes uses rewards 21 

4. Fairly often uses rewards 22 

5. Frequently uses rewards 19 

6. Regularly gives rewards for "good behavior"; elaborate system for earning 
money or points; believes rewards are effective; evidence that this is a major 
technique for the mother 6 


source: R. R. Sears, E, E. Maccoby, and H. Levin. Patterns of Child Rearing. 
P. 321. Evanston, 111.: Row, Peterson & Co., 1957. By permission. 

role." This helps to explain why girls generally conform to adult expecta- 
tions, while boys are frequently resistant and defiant of adult notions 
of their behavior standard. 

Television. Among the many factors influencing home life, television 
is noteworthy. Since TV operates with both pictures and sound, it oflFers 
a great stimulus power to its viewers, children and adolescents in par- 
ticular. Television programs have educational value unless they are sen- 
sational and bizarre and deal with crimes and violence. Many programs 
contribute much to the human career of learning. By word and illustra- 
tion, they expand the person's reservoir of ideational material for asso- 
ciations and thinking, and provide incentives for interests and activities. 
Television sometimes stimulates the interests of the child by providing 
material supplementary to the regular school curriculum. The child 
who watches a special science program or the reenactment of some 

Factors Influencing Development and Personality 45 

historic event may become curious enough to read more on the topic. 
Perhaps some rather nebulous or remote academic concepts might be 
made more concrete and vivid by television. For example, a child might 
be taught about a distant land in class, and after viewing a travelogue on 
television, have a vivid concept of the country. 

Sensational and mystery shows tend to spoil individual taste for 
better programs and to divert the viewer from reading and relaxing. 
The resulting tension may not merely affect readiness for sleep but also 
exert subtle influence in raising family tension and friction, because pa- 
tience threshold seems to be cut down considerably and a desire for 
something unusual elicited. Long nocturnal TV programs result in list- 
lessness and inattentiveness in school the next day. A significant num- 
ber of children are permitted to view late night and even midnight 
shows. These programs are often freighted with horror, sex, or criminal 
themes which naturally take their toll of the child's nervous system and 
his behavior. If a child continues to watch such programs, loss of appe- 
tite, irritabihty, nightmares, sleeplessness, and other more subtle unde- 
sirable reactions may be expected. 

School. Since the home lays the foundations on which teachers in 
school build up the child's motivation and knowledge, the popular 
reference to home as the best school is apparently correct. Practically 
all major patterns of behavior are already acquired by the time a child 
enters school, yet school experience is more than mere transfer, extension, 
and modification of what has been acquired at home or in the neighbor- 
hood. A school child has some new materials to learn and new adjust- 
ments to make. The school teacher is more than a mother substitute. 
Because of the significant and unique role played by the teacher, increas- 
ing concern is being given to the selection of well-adjusted, mature men 
and women as educators. It is their job to help the child meet the new 
social and academic demands made of him. Studies attest that students 
tend to prefer teachers who are weU balanced and even tempered, fair 
and consistent, well-groomed and attractive, democratic and helpful. 

In the school situation the child must function independent of family 
support and must learn to accept authority outside the family unit, as 
well as competition. On the whole, the average child eagerly anticipates 
entry into school and manifests more mature behavior as a result of 
his attendance. Group dynamics at school are more complex than those 
of his neighborhood associations. It is a situation conducive to further 
steps in the never-ending process of socialization. The class group often 
acts as a corrective factor. The child has to fuse his behavior into the 
group pattern or face the rejection and hostility of the class. His accept- 
ance by the group is conditional, while at home he may have been un- 
conditionally accepted without making a contribution of his own. 

46 Fundamental Influences 

In modern culture, school experience is an indispensable supplement 
to home training and education. Its experimentally founded methods and 
procedures dispose children toward curiosity and desire to learn to per- 
form something which has manifold uses in their present and future 
lives. To a large degree, school relieves parents from educational tasks 
which would burden most of them. It provides periods of dissociation 
between parents and children which serve as phases of rest and of ob- 
jectification of their relationships. These and some more specific influ- 
ences of school are presented in some detail in Chapter 12. 

Society. The matrix of human life is social in character. Establishment 
and change of interpersonal relationships are a daily affair. Modem 
society, with its aggregation of people in cities and suburban areas, pro- 
vides almost unlimited opportunities for social intercourse. Automobiles, 
trains, ships, and airplanes permit a great extension of direct human in- 
teraction, while radio, television, and motion pictures serve as means of 
indirect contact. 

The community is the first large social structure which serves as a 
framework of socioeconomic life. Careful observation on a drive tlirough 
several large cities and rural areas will reveal great differences in neigh- 
borhoods and their inhabitants. Some American communities are well in- 
tegrated and comparatively stable; the feelings of relationship in them 
are strong and continual. The corrective influences of many such com- 
munities are sound and extensive. Yet many cities have districts in which 
the population is constantly on the move and community-forming forces 
are weak and inefficient. Here the family is not assisted in developing the 
child's civic obligations. Hence, the morale of the people is low and the 
disorganizing elements are strong; cultural values and expectations ap- 
pear confused. In this type of community, many individuals are dis- 
posed to social immaturity and cultural imbecility. The sociocultural 
ego — to use the concept of E. Durkheim — that is acquired through active 
participation in a given system of society and culture cannot be suffi- 1 
ciently developed and integrated. Some stable communities may also be j 
rather unhealthy in their effects on many of their members since theyj 
foster a "keep up with the Joneses" psychology. 

Child training. The focus on various methods of child care has been in < 
flux throughout American history. In their recent The Changing Amer- 
ican Parent [13], D. R. Miller and G. E. Swanson distinguish four over- 
lapping areas in the changing American tradition of child rearing. Before 
the Civil War the focus was on methods designed to "break the child's 
will," which was thought to be intrinsically evil. The second period, from 
1860 to 1914, was characterized by opposition to corporal punishment 
and emphasis on stimulating the natural development of the child as a 
distinct individual. A regimented schedule of training was prescribed 

Factors Influencing Development and Personality 47 

early in the twentieth century to build the child into an independent, 
self-controlled individual. Up to and during World War II specific means 
to prepare the child to meet flexibly the changing social situation were 
emphasized by progressive educators. The child was allowed to set 
his own limits. The current-day tradition is the subject of Miller and 
Swanson's study. 

Various objective measures have been devised to establish the specific 
social strata of particular families. The Index of Status Characteristics 
[12, pp. 22-25] assigns point values for such factors as type of work, 
income source, neighborhood, and type of dwelling. For example, a 
laboratory technician who depends solely on his salary for income and 
Hves in an apartment building situated in an average residential neigh- 
borhood would find himself in the lower middle class. 

The influences of social class on child-rearing practices have been 
studied by A. Davis and R. J. Havighurst in the Chicago area [11], by 
Sears, Maccoby, and Levin at Harvard [6] and by Miller and Swanson in 
Detroit [13]. In these research studies it was found that middle-class 
families generally tend to have high educational goals for their offspring. 
Middle-class parents permit their children to move about more during 
the day. Lower-class families tend to use more severe punishment in 
toilet training, while on the whole middle-class mothers utilize more 
symbolic controls. 

Miller and Swanson [13] studied 1,157 Detroit homes housing 2,556 
adults. The subjects were a representative cross section of urban and 
suburban households. In the group were 582 mothers with children under 
nineteen years of age. Miller and Swanson distinguished within each 
social class groups designated as entrepreneurial and bureaucratic. The 
entrepreneurial group contained families in which the husband was self- 
employed, employed in a small organization, or derived considerable 
income from profits or fees, or in which either the husband or wife was 
foreign-bom or bom on a farm. The bureaucratic husband worked for a 
relatively complex organizational structure, depended on wages or salary 
as income, and was not faced with much risk taking and competition. 
The study division proposed that the two groups were influenced by 
different conditions and experiences. Hence, they would be significantly 
associated with particular child-rearing practices. "Children raised in 
individuated and entrepreneurial homes will be encouraged to be highly 
rational, to exercise self-control, to be self-reliant, and to assume an 
active, manipulative stance toward their environment [13, p. 57]," On the 
other hand, the bureaucratic family would stress accommodating and 
adjusting to the world, especially to the direction of the organizational 
structure of which it was a member. Also its children would be permitted 
la greater degree of spontaneity. 

48 Fundamental Influences 

These expectations were tested in such practical matters as methods 
of weaning, toilet training, and reward and punishment. The findings 
confirmed some significant differences between the two groups, especially 
in the middle class. For example, entrepreneurial mothers in the middle 
class were more prone to adhere to scheduled feeding, to use symbolic 
punishment, and to begin toilet training early. The researchers did not 
tend to find the significant differences between middle- and lower-class 
mothers which previous investigators had emphasized. 

Following is a case summary which illustrates the operation of several 
undesirable factors on a growing person: 

Fred is a twelve-year-old boy, small for his age, with extreme aggressive 
tendencies and a lack of control. He is constantly starting fights in school and 
bullying other children. His record is one of extreme truancy, with consequent 
poor school achievement. 

Fred's parents have no control over him. His father is a heavy drinker 
who gives Fred beer "so he won't have to steal it." His mother babies him 
and will not allow his teachers to reprimand him. In this environment, Fred is 
developing into a self-willed, antisocial problem child. 

He is the leader of a gang of delinquents, and has led them into breaking 
into a school and all but destroying the interior. Alone, he has set fire to a 
garage, and contemplates still greater accomplishments in this area. 

Despite repeated recommendations from school authorities, Fred is still in 
the custody of his parents, and his conduct is growing progressively worse. He 
lacks any concept of moral responsibility or social obligation and is generally 
impulse-dominated. Unless prompt care and a change of environment are se- 
cured, Fred will probably become completely psychopathic. 

Culture. Fundamentally culture is a pattern of a people's life seen in 
terms of organizations and achievements marking related communities 
or societies. It encompasses all technology and civilization, law, morality, 
and religion, traditional and present trends, training and educationa: 
facilities, politics, arts, and recreation. As personalities, people create anci 
affect culture, but in turn are highly affected by its qualities and charac I 
teristics. Since culture is usually an end product of centuries of humar 
development, it cannot be readily changed; it maintains a certain stability 
from generation to generation. Cultural expectations and norms tend t(, 
be established. They apply to everyday living and special occasions alike 
Not only do they include education and industrialization but also simpL 
eating habits and culinary devices, and daily means of expressing affec 
tion and aggression. 

The social order emphasizes the organizational structure of the popub 
tion, while culture focuses on the customs, traditions, social grace;] 
morals, beliefs, and roles which individuals play. 

Culture consists of learned behavior. Thus, language and printej 

Factors Influencing Development and Personality 49 

matter are important elements of it, especially as a means o£ communicat- 
ing achievements from one generation to another. Parents transmit tradi- 
tion to their children, and there is a partial transmission of it to adults 
who immigrate into the society. 

American culture is a version of Western Christian culture marked by 
pragmatism, industrialization, and high civilization. It exalts competition, 
specialization, and conformity. Sex and power are often seen as major 
positive valences. The pecuniary drive is strongly reinforced by emphasis 
on material gains and economic welfare. The stage of youth is an ideal- 
ized phase of life. Praise and reward are strong motivational forces. 
Speed of movement and impatience mark many activities. To a large 
extent, American culture is a fusion of many cultural elements which 
give rise to many conflicting tendencies. 

Socioeconomic subcultures and certain social groups have been dis- 
tinguishable through the centuries. Initially class levels were based on 
economic assets, but personal endowment and education have become 
significant in determining status. A social class is defined by Bossard as 
"an aggregate of persons having approximately the same social status in 
a given society." Social status implies "the arrangement of groups of 
people on a comparative scale, in terms of social distance and prestige 
as well as of reciprocal rights and duties [9, p. 318]." 

Each social group generally shares an identifying mode of living and 
conduct. There is a similarity of occupational status and income, house 
type, dwelling area, manner of speaking, dress, leisure-time activities, 
interests, and attitudes. 

In American culture, there is more mobility in the class system than 
in most parts of the world. An individual is bom into a particular class 
and usually dies in it, but there is the posssibility of substantial changes, 
as expressed in the popular concept that any man's son has an oppor- 
tunity to become President of the United States. Traditionally three 
social-class levels are defined: upper, middle, and lower. Some sociolo- 
gists have further divided each class into an upper and a lower group, 
for instance, the upper upper and the lower upper. Bossard appraises 
many studies of the American class system and concludes that general 
approximations place 3 to 5 per cent of the American population in the 
upper class, 38 per cent in the middle class, and 57 per cent in the lower 
class [9]. 

The living habits of each of these groups have been analyzed. 
Children in the lower class tend to be physically more aggres- 
sive and more independent, and have earlier sex experiences. Middle- 
class individuals tend to be more controlling and demanding as parents. 
They are ambitious persons who frequently are striving to attain higher 
status. Upper-class members enjoy more leisure activity, are educated in 

50 Fundamental Influences 

the select colleges, and have an opportunity to develop aesthetic appre- 
ciation to a higher level. 

Sharing in the fundamental characteristics of the whole culture are 
various subcultures consisting of members of the population v^ho share 
special cultural preferences and features. Thus, there are religious groups 
which prescribe special food taboos, maintain various sacred rites of 
initiation, and insist on marriage within the subgroup. For example, there 
are the special dietary rules of the Orthodox Jewish people; their Bar 
Mitzvah exercises celebrated to signify the thirteen-year-old male's com- 
ing of age in terms of religious obligations; taboos against marriage out- 
side the fold; and the perpetuation of the Hebrew tongue through 
language training of the young. 

National and religious groups may also maintain significant subcultural 
patterns and a certain stability. For example, in the large metropolitan 
area of New York there are the Italian colony, the Jewish community, the 
Irish and Puerto Rican groups, and many other groupings formed largely 
on a religious or national basis. 


Increasing self-consciousness produces another major influence in a 
person's living. When a child becomes aware of his own body and some 
of his abilities, he learns to distinguish himself from others and from 
environmental factors. His inner needs and drives are then segregated 
clearly from objects and conditions gratifying them. Many likes and 
preferences appear. The child prefers to be guided by his own desires 
and wishes. Resistance to control at the two- and three-year level may be 
seen in the light of the child's effort to assert himself. The way others 
feel about a child may either encourage or impede him in the process of 
discovering his individuality. Acceptance and encouragement by others 
leads to a self-accepting attitude and ability to live fairly comfortably 
with his emotions and to stand up for his own rights. Self-acceptance, a 
necessary prerequisite for the development of a healthy personality, in- 
dicates readiness for self-direction. 

W. Stem [7, pp. 444-446] traces the development of the child's self- 
direction through the following stages: 

1. He clings almost entirely to the present and its chance stimuli and 
to his sensations of pleasure and displeasure. 

2. His attitude becomes connected with inner experiences, and proc- 
esses of deliberation and choice creep in between the sense impression 
and the ultimate response. 

3. A dominant interest may maintain a certain fixation of aim in spite 
of many diversions tending to affect other reactions. 

Factors Influencing Development and Personality 51 

4. The power of certain motive groups which may have nothing in 
common with a chance stimulus is felt. Such powers become permanent 
qualities of the child's character. 

A child's self-directive powers liberate him from original innate in- 
clinations and from environmental factors; the self, when developed, con- 
stitutes a pivot for integration of everything important that has occurred 
up to the present time. It establishes an order of priority in responding 
to various stimuli, sentiments, ideals, and goals. It becomes a final arbiter. 
Actions in accordance with the self have the right of way. Environmental 
pressures enhance or interfere with them rather than elicit responses of 
their own. Self-direction is closely allied to personality and character 
development. Preadolescence and early adulthood are periods during 
which self-direction is magnified. The individual tends to act more and 
more on his own abilities and resources. As a result, self-actualization of 
one's endowments is greatly promoted. 


1. How do physiological and emotional factors contribute to the development 
of individuality and personality? 

2. What is heredity, and what makes heredity practically unique for most 

3. In what significant ways does envirormient affect a human being? 

4. What are the major parental influences on children? Analyze some of them. 

5. Explain the law of primacy and its role in adjustment. 

6. Indicate the major findings of the study of Bossard and Boll, The Large 
Family System. 

7. What are some of the outstanding school influences that affect the child and 
the adolescent? 

8. In what significant ways do society and culture influence human behavior? 

9. When do signs of self-direction first appear, and how might its development 
be promoted? 


I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Anastasi, Anne. Differential Psychology. (3rd ed. ) New York: Macmillan, 
1958. An excellent source on individual differences and factors associated with it. 

2. Bossard, James H. S. Parent and Child. Philadelphia: University of Pennsyl- 
vania Press, 1953. A major sociological and psychological study of family behavior, 
stressing parental influences on a child. 

3. Duvall, Evelyn M. Family Development. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1957. A 
comprehensive and well-written source on family life, stressing its patterns, tasks, 
and dynamic interaction. 

4. Gates, R. R. Human Genetics. New York: Macmillan, 1946. A general source 
on heredity and related factors. 

5. Schwarz, Berthold E., and Bartholomew A. Ruggieri. Parent-Child Tensions. 
Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1958. Outlines phases and problems of child development 

52 Fundamental Influences 

and presents specific parental influences and their effects on the growing child; 
includes case-history accounts. 

6. Sears, Robert R., et al. Patterns of Child Rearing. Evanston, 111.: Row, Peter- 
son, 1957. An empirical study of American practices in child management based 
on data secured from 379 mothers. 

7. Stem, WilHam. Psychology of Early Childhood. New York: Holt, 1930. An 
early theoretical and experimental study based largely on Stem's own children. 

8. Whiting, J. W. M., and I. L. Child. Child Training and Personality: A Cross 
Cultural Study. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1953. A comprehensive 
source indicating family effects on the child in various social settings. 

II. Specific References 

9. Bossard, James H. S. The Sociology of Child Development. (Rev. ed.) New 
York: Harper, 1954. 

10. Bossard, James H. S., and Eleanor S. Boll. The Large Family System. 
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1956. 

11. Davis, Alhson, and Robert J. Havighurst. Social Class and Color Differences 
in Child Rearing. Amer. Sociol. Rev., 1946, 2, 698-710. 

12. Lloyd, W., and Mildred H. Warner. What You Should Know about Social 
Class. Chicago: Science Research, 1953. 

13. MiUer, Daniel R., and Guy E. Swanson. The Changing American Parent. 
New York: Wiley, 1958. 

14. Newton, N. Maternal Emotions. New York: Harper, 1955. 

15. Parsons, Talcott. Age and Sex in the Social Structure of the United States. 
Amer. Sociol. Rev., 1942, 7, 604-616. 

16. Scheinfeld, A. The New You and Heredity. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1950. 

17. Vital Statistics of the United States: 1955. Vol. I. 1957. 



Developmental Aspects 
and Trends 

THE PRINCIPLE that the individual develops as a unified whole, possessing 
an intrinsic unity throughout the course of development, has already 
been presented. However, it was also pointed out that various systems 
and the various functions of the organism and personality have different 
developmental rates and phases. In order to give a fuller picture of the 
relationships existing between various personality variables, the more 
significant ones will be treated individually. Each of these functions^ 
physical growth, emotional development, intellectual maturation, social- 
ization, and the self-concept — will be followed briefly through its own 
developmental cycle. 


Physical development is anything but a smooth continuous function. 
Nor is it always progressive. Beginning in middle age and lasting 
throughout senescence, there is a deterioration in both structure and 

The pattern of growth is cyclic. That is, growth occurs in spurts and 
plateaus. Each individual has a particular rate of growth, and yet it is 
comparable to that of all others, allowing for the wide variation of indi- 
vidual differences. The prediction of adult height, for example, can be 
made with extreme accuracy now, using as an index the ossification stage 
of various bones [6]. The various spurts and plateaus occur at predicta- 
ble times. The first years of Hfe are a time of tremendous growth, which 
gradually tapers off throughout childhood until it almost ceases at ap- 
proximately ten years of age. The spurt at puberty is most noticeable in 


54 Fundamental Influences 

terms of height. This spurt is followed again by a tapering off until full 
height is reached, usually by the age of twenty years. Even more striking 
than the changes in height with age are the changes in proportion of 
various parts of the body. This maturation follows the cephalocaudal 
principle and is graphically illustrated by Figure 5-1. 

Weight is relatively comparable to height in terms of cyclic develop- 
ment. Adult weight is usually reached in late adolescence. However, 
after the early adult years there is usually a gain in weight, often referred 
to as "middle-age spread." 

The unfolding of motor abilities demonstrates another principle of 
development; viz., development proceeds from the general to the specific. 
Motor abilities demand a modicum of control over muscles. An infant 
first gains control over large muscle groups, then the fine ones. For in- 
stance, control is first attained for movement of the entire arm, then the 
hand, and finally the fingers and thumb. Locomotion follows the same 
general pattern from crawling to creeping, standing, walking, running, 
and hopping and jumping. 

These basic motor abilities pave the way for the development of skills 
which must be learned. Eating, writing, and dressing oneself are exam- 
ples of the skills which, through imitation and with encouragement, the 
child gradually acquires. Later more and more complex activity is en- 
gaged in. Bicycle riding, swimming, and other athletic activities provide 
many opportunities for the refinement of motor skills. Although puberty 
is accompanied by a loss of coordination due to the differences in rates 
of growth of various functions, this loss is soon compensated by the at- 
tainment of maximal physical strength and agility in late adolescence. 

Figure 5-1. Changes in Proportions of the Human Body with Age 

Fetal, 2 mo. Fetal, 5 mo. At birth 2yrs. 6 yrs. 12yrs. Adult 

(G. A. Baitsell. Human Biology. New York.: McGraw-Hill, 1940; after Stratz.) 

Developmental Aspects and Trends 55 

Figure 5-2 is a schematic presentation of the pattern of differentiation 
of growth. Beginning in the prenatal stage, there occurs an unfolding and 
refining of various structures and functions which continues through 
adolescence and culminates in maturity. 

S. L. Pressey and R. G. Kuhlen [8, p. 62] observe that the life span is 
divided into three major periods of physical development. They char- 
acterize the first twenty years as a continuous growth period. "The 
prime" is used to designate the years from twenty to approximately 
forty-five, when the individual is at his peak. A slight recession follows 
but is mild until about the age of seventy, when definite decline and 
weakness set in. 


Because of the important role emotions play in organizing behavior, 
the development of the various affective states will be considered briefly. 

Emotions are necessary for healthy living and adjustment. A child is 
primarily an imitative receptor of emotion. He must feel love and affec- 
tion from others before he can reciprocate. Emotions are not innate in 
the sense that they develop spontaneously. Like every aspect of person- 
ality, emotions and particularly emotional expression are developed 
through learning and imitation. 

The aroused states of the neonate and infant are only analogous to 

Figure 5-2. DifiFerentiation of Growth 





56 Fundamental Influences 

adult emotional states. However, very early in the first year patterns of 
response may be distinguished which are clearly recognizable as emo- 
tional. Figure 5-3 demonstrates the differentiation of various affective 
states during the first two years of life. The diffuse excitement of the 
neonate, which is a function of general mass activity of the organism, 
gradually assumes the quality of pleasant and unpleasant reactions. 
These are further refined into the more subtle affective states. 

In early childhood, the individual usually enlarges greatly his reper- 
toire of affective states and related behavior. The expression of emotional 
states has, by this time, been somewhat modified. The acquisition of 
speech has obviated the use of behavior as a necessary means of express- 
ing emotions. The young child has already become aware of the power of 
his emotions in dealing with his parents, and knows how far he can go in 
expressing them. 

At this period of development, sentiments generally emerge. With 
proper training, preschool children can acquire religious and moral 
sentiments. These are uncritically accepted in the child's fast-developing 
value system, and act as powerful organizers as well as deterrents of 
behavior. Envy and jealousy are vividly expressed at this level. Children 
at this age are typically self-centered and rather demanding. Again with 







Figure 5-3. Bridges' Chart of Emotional Differentiation 







An. Je. Di. 














3 months 

6 nnonths 

12 months 

18 months 

Fe. Dg. An. Je. DI. Ex. De. Jo. El. A.A. A.C.' 24 months 

Key: A.A. — Affection for Adults; A.C. — Affection for Children; An. — Anger; i 

De. — Delight; Dg. — Disgust; Di. — Distress; El. — Elation; Ex. — Excite- 1 

ment; Fe. — Fear; Je. — Jealousy; Jo. — Joy 

(Katharine M. B. Bridges. Emotional Development in Early Infancy. Child De- 
velopm., 1932, 3, 324-341.) 

Developmental Aspects and Trends 57 

proper training, generosity and a spirit of sharing can be inculcated in 
the child at this time when these desirable attitudes and sentiments will 
most effectively take hold. Attitude development cannot begin too soon 
after the child's emotions become somewhat differentiated. Negative 
parental remarks about races, religions, authority, and related objects 
will be picked up by the child as will the attitudes behind them. 

Emotional expression of children is very different from that of adults. 
Children's emotions are often explosive reactions to relatively slight 
stimuli. On the other hand, because children are not generally subject to 
moods, these strong emotions appear and disappear very quickly. Five 
minutes after a violent fight the combatants may be playing together 
happily. The important point to bear in mind is that children can tolerate 
only so much excitation. Constant emotional turmoil is as harmful to 
children as to adults. Children must learn self-control and develop frus- 
tration tolerance in order to avoid frequent arousals of emotion. 

During middle and late childhood, emotional development is rather 
slow and regular. The child is learning more self-control through asso- 
ciation with others. He is also refining the emotional states he is capable 
of experiencing. 

Complete emotional development is attained in adolescence. In the 
latter part of this period, all the adult affective states can be experienced 
by the individual. Moods, virtually unknown in childhood, may plague 
the adolescent. One week he may be almost euphoric, the next week 
find life bereft of all joy. Adolescence is a period of oscillation between 
moods. Toward the end of adolescence, the reactions of the individual 
become more mature and suited to coming adulthood, yet emotions 
continue to play an important role in motivation. One feature of emo- 
tional development pecuhar to adolescence is the emergence of the sex 
drive and its relation to mature love. In early adolescence there is usually 
an idealization of the love object. This makes a fusion of sexual object 
and ideal object difficult. It is in late adolescence and finally in early 
adulthood that the individual can attain mature heterosexual love, nec- 
essary for marriage. 

In adulthood, emotions do not develop any further; rather, rtiejnax- 
imum affective sensitivity and refinement is attained. The next real 
change in emotions comes in senescence. There is generally a drastic 
reduction in social interaction; hence, social emotions play a much 
smaller role. Figure 5-4 attempts to depict schematically a genetic theory 
of emotions. The changes in old age are pertinent to our discussion. The 
older person tends to withdraw and become increasingly apathetic. Emo- 
tional satisfaction is more and more vicariously derived from memories. 
This will be further discussed in the treatment of senescence in Chap- 
ter 23. 




















i- > 




> r- 


i: -Q 






° O 



° O £ 

a> 7:; CO i^ 
CO V rz 

fj o *— • — 

o o o -o 

<L> »_ M— 

■H o a, 
o» 5 CO 

•1= E 


+- i_ o a> 

.— O) .tl V. 

3 13 J- o 

en cr .b: JD 




^ ^ 

— -•— O) 

to o — 



I— I 


<" .-T 



to CO 

O O 

ex to 



CO to 

O ^ f^ 






C C 






<L) "^ 



<U "to -+- 

^ c c 


=3 O) 

-5 to 



• iH 


















C Of 



tO i_ .E 

to O) ^ 


(_) ;t: c 









•i. <u — 

•^ to CD 
QJ O **- 



t <D 

Z3 C C 

E 0-0 

QJ. ,^_ 

o o» 


q3 =5 

o 'tj 

^d to 

E a> 

•JT to J:^ to O 

O CO v> ^ 

.9 ^ o 

Q- -^ 

o c 

•^ <u .c o 

^ ° 















< ) 


























Developmental Aspects and Trends 59 


Human beings are the only creatures on earth who possess intellect. 
It is the rational and volitional powers which make men essentially 
different from, and superior to, animals. Intellect, although an integral 
part of man's essence, still must be developed. As is that of other func- 
tions, its developmental rate is phasic. Definite spurts of intellectual 
growth are evident. Since intellect is not a function which can be as- 
sessed directly, it must be defined operationally for purposes of measure- 
ment, prediction, and understanding. Hence, intelligence is commonly 
used to denote the processes whereby an individual forms concepts, 
solves problems, and makes decisions. Performances resulting from 
application of intellectual functions can be measured, analyzed, and 

The neonate demonstrates virtually no particularly intelligent behavior 
for some time after birth. However, the assessment of intelligence may 
be made from various other functions. Since the more intelligent child 
tends to develop faster in all areas of personality, even locomotion and 
language behavior may be used to predict intelligence. 

The actual demonstration of intellectual development is usually seen in 
verbal behavior. The quickness with which a child learns new words, his 
discriminative ability, breadth of generalizations, and vocabulary level 
are all fairly reliable indexes of intelligence. In terms of actual thinking, 
the child's first judgment usually appears toward the end of the second 
year. It is about this time also that longer phrases and sentences begin 
to be used. 

Curiosity is a spur to intellectual development. Although the constant 
"Why?" or "What for?" of a child may at times annoy parents, it is a 
major way children have to learn of the world about them. The type of 
questions asked is indicative of the level of intellectual development. 
The very young child wants to know "What?" or the name of a thing. 
"Why?" is the next level, but it is a concrete type of curiosity, satisfied 
with unelaborated answers. The school-age child is conscious of mean- 
ing and often asks about uses, or "What for?" In adolescence, the peak 
of intellectual development is attained in an unrefined way. Adolescents 
are capable of philosophical and propositional reasoning, and are con- 
cerned with cause and effect and ultimate reasons. 

Following the attainment of maximal mental development in adoles- 
cence, usually at fifteen to sixteen years of age, there is a refinement 
and polishing of the intellectual powers. Keenness of discrimination, 
perception of relationships, vocabulary, and other related abihties are 
increased. As estimated by intelligence tests, the peak of mental function- 
ing is between the ages of twenty and twenty-five years. 

60 Fundamental Influences 

With adulthood comes a slackening in exercise of intellect for most 
individuals. Formal education is completed, and the problems of mar- 
riage and occupation usually minimize time spent in cultivating the 
mind. There is generally a gradual reduction in keenness of intelligence 
throughout adulthood. 

In senescence, intelligence generally deteriorates as do the other func- 
tions. There are many outstanding exceptions to this rule, but the gener- 
ahzation is correct for most individuals of advanced age. 

One of the most controversial problems in this field is the measure- 
ment of intelligence. There is still some uncertainty as to just what 
intelligence tests do measure. However, if the limitations of the defini- 
tions of intelligence and of the various tests are acknowledged, it may 
be said that they are doing a good job. At present, intelligence tests are 
used to discriminate among feeble-minded, dull, average, above-average, 
and superior school children in order to place them in the best possible 
type of learning situations. 

In a diagnosis of feeble-mindedness, the intelligence test, by classify- 
ing the individual according to degree of it, offers a prognostic evalua- 
tion also. Figure 5-5 shows the classifications, frequency, and amount of 
dependency of each subgroup of mentally deficient children. 

In terms of prediction, intelligence tests are used validly sometimes as 
early as the third year and definitely by school age. By means of the 

Figure 5-5. Classification of Mentally Deficient Children 


IQ approximately 50-75 



With early diagnosis, health services, 
proper help to the parents and special 
educational' provisions, most of this 
group can become self-supporting 
citizens who can be placed in industry 
and can contribute to the community. 


With early diagnosis, 
health services, proper 
help to the parents, 
most of this group can 
learn self-care, accept- 
able behavior, and can 
be of help to the family. 

(Modified from: Fact Finding Committee. Midcentury White House Conference on 
Children and Youth. A Graphic Presentation of Social and Economic Facts Important 
in the Lives of Children and Youth. Washington, D.C.: National Publishing Co., 

Fully dependent 

Will be dependent' 
all of their lives, and 
will need the care and 
attention given to an 


Developmental Aspects and Trends 61 

tests, children are placed in situations which will prove intellectually 
challenging and stimulating, not overpowering and frustrating. 

Some points about learning may be helpful. Of utmost importance 
are opportunities to learn. Children and adolescents need a constantly 
expanding environment which will present new stimuli. In the case of 
the young child, much of learning is a result of sensory exploration. 
Touching, biting, hitting, and dropping are his methods of testing and 
knowing an object. A child who is confined in a playpen to "keep him 
out of mischief" is going to miss many opportunities to learn. When 
language is mastered, the child's questions may be more than occasion- 
ally ignored by busy parents. Again, this denies him many valuable 
learning experiences. 

In adolescence, learning is on a much more complex level. Adolescents 
must develop criteria for choosing friends and must learn many necessary 
social graces. In these areas, practice and experience are essential. Simi- 
larly, the adult must make opportunities for these things himself, which 
will broaden and enrich his outlook on life. Maintaining interest in sub- 
jects outside one's occupation is beneficial to mental health. When retire- 
ment comes, hobbies and special interests are invaluable in rechanneling 
some of the energy no longer devoted to working. 


Socialization refers not only to the degree to which an individual 
interacts harmoniously with others but also to the factors which act upon 
the individual to develop a socially mature individual from an autistic 
child. As is true of other functions, the development from self-centered- 
ness to sociability is neither continuous nor painless. 

Following the principle of primacy, it is safe to say that the character 
of early social experiences will greatly influence later social success or 
failure. In this regard, parents are the earliest and most powerful social- 
izing agents. Their relationship to each other and to the child is the one 
which the child will perceive as characteristic of most interpersonal 
relationships. Love of parents for each other and for the child will result 
in a warm, relaxed family relationship. The attitudes of parents toward 
their own associates will be introjected by the child. Constant gossiping, 
criticism, or dissatisfaction, if expressed in the presence of the child, will 
induce negative attitudes in the child toward others. 

Just as serious as gratifying the child's needs is the responsibility of 
parents to act as representatives of society and its restrictions. Children 
must be taught impulse control, sharing, obedience, self-direction, and 
related positive attributes which will equip them to deal effectively with 
others. Overpermissive parents damage a child's future when they permit 

62 Fundamental Influences 

him to have his own way constantly. When their child faces the inevi- 
table frustrations of life, he will be ill prepared to cope with them. 

Like learning, socialization demands opportunities, and the earlier the 
better. The preschool child should have experiences in group activity. 
Learning the give-and-take of the peer group is necessary. Attitudes of 
sharing and social behavior in general which are learned in childhood 
tend to persist throughout development [7, p. 263]. 

The pattern of social development is predictable. Social interaction 
begins with the infant's differentiation between persons and things. He 
gradually learns to respond to parents, to discriminate between familiar 
and strange faces, and to imitate the actions and words of others. Social 
interaction is furthered by speech. The child learns to make his needs 
and feelings known not only by overt behavior but also by words. Par- 
ents can help their children by making it clear that speech is preferred 
to crying, tantrums, or other demonstrative behavior. The family is the 
primary socializing agent, and it remains the most influential in shaping 
the child's character, values, and principles until approximately nine or 
ten years of age, when the peer group becomes the most influential 
factor. The gang stage of preadolescence is characterized by intense 
group loyalty. In early adolescence there is much dependence on peers, 
but self-direction and self-reliance increase so that by late adolescence 
the individual is inner-directed and governs his own behavior. 

The levels of socialization are fairly well defined and observable. The 
very young child is a self-centered creature and derives his satisfaction 
from self-initiated activity. This solitary play may be parallel play also; 
that is, although many children are playing in a room, there is very little 
interaction among them. Cooperative play begins in early childhood, 
but is frequently interrupted by quarrels. The period of negativism 
which occurs from about two to three and a half years of age is an im- 
portant step in socialization. It marks the first self-assertive activity of 
the individual. How it is handled by parents may mean the difference 
between a spoiled and an obedient child. 

Cooperative and competitive play are characteristic of middle child- 
hood and are indicative of a rather advanced degree of socialization. 
Middle childhood brings with it school entrance. This is also an impor- 
tant step because an extrafamilial authority must be responded to prop- 
erly. Codes of behavior regarding taking turns, telling lies, informing on 
classmates, etc., are soon developed by the group. The child's adherence 
>^ to, or deviation from, these enforced rules determines his degree of ac- 
ceptance in a group. Group interaction and interdependence deepen until 
puberty, when the individual, for a while, reverts to a solitary mode of 
living. This withdrawal is temporary, and adolescence is generally a 
group-dominated period of life. The individual is concerned with es- 

Developmental Aspects and Trends 63 

tablishing heterosexual friendships, but embarrassment and extreme 
self-consciousness hinder easy communication between the sexes. 

In late adolescence and early adulthood, the possible choices of a life 
mate are reduced until the decision is made. The necessary adjustments 
to marriage are a significant developmental task and one of the highest 
degrees of socialization. Throughout adulthood, one's social horizon 
expands through friendships, business associates, and acquaintances from 
other areas of life. As senescence nears, however, there is an increasingly 
sharp decline in new friendships, and a gradual loss, due to moving, 
retirement, or death, of old associates. Senescent individuals tend to be- 
come withdrawn and apathetic, reversing the process of socialization. 


The concept of the self, its development, and related terms such as ego 
and character, fonn perhaps the most controversial area of current psy- 
chological theory and research. That there is a self-concept is not dis- 
puted by many, but its properties and development are the source of 
much speculation. The self-concept may be defined as that group of 
perceptions, evaluations, and other processes which refers to one's sense 
of personal identity. Although the processes, such as thinking, willing, 
and feeling, are important, the emphasis remains on the self as object, 
and on the person's perceptions, feelings, and attitudes as they have 
reference to himself. 

The self-concept as an organizer of behavior is of great importance. 
Most of the time an individual's actions are in accord with his idea of 
himself. If a person perceives himself as inferior or socially inadequate, 
whether or not this is objectively true, he will act in accord with this 
subjectively perceived defect or compensate for it. 

Consistency of behavior and continuity of identity are two of the chief 
properties of the self-concept. Although subject to change and natural 
development, they tend to resist most modifications. This is in part due 
to a natural desire for stability in the individual, and in part due to re- 
inforcements from his environment which are consistent with his concept 
of self. 

To qualify its consistency, the self-concept is also fluid. Being partly 
a result of perception and experience, it is dynamic and is constantly 
assimilating new percepts. Most of the changes in the self-concept are 
superficial, remaining within a tolerable range of modification. Per- 
cepts which would radically distort the self-concept, even favorably, are 
often suppressed, repressed, or denied reference to self, as when persons 
explain, "I wasn't myself," or "I lost my mind." 

Continuity of identity is an essential part of the self-concept. Although 

64 Fundamental Influences 

recognizing the manifold changes in ahnost all functions of personality 
as a result of maturation and learning, the individual nevertheless realizes 
that he is the same person he was ten, twenty, or more years ago. Under- 
neath the changeable aspects, there is a substratum which is the "per- 
son" of each human being, or more philosophically, his essence. There 
is also a certain tendency to change gradually, which allows self-identity 
to remain constant throughout the life span. Only severely disturbed in- 
dividuals lose this sense of self -identity. 

It is difficult to say at what point in development the self-concept 
first emerges. Potentially it is present from birth in that the infant is 
aware of visceral and sensory stimuli originating in, or pertaining to, 
his body. However, these are crude sensations, and it is doubtful if 
meaningful perceptions and any unification of them are present at the 
neonate and early infant levels. 

T. R. Sarbin [9] has formulated an interesting theory concerning the 
genesis of the self -concept. It begins with a "somatic self" at birth, which 
remains the core of the self-concept until about two years of age, at 
which time it becomes just another factor in the self-concept. This 
"somatic self" consists of percepts pertaining to the neonate's body, 
such as sensations of hunger, dampness, or indigestion. Following this 
and superimposed on it is the "receptor-effector self," which consists of 
conceptions of the sense organs and musculature. The "primitive con- 
strued self" which follows from the previous two is a rather vague 
awareness of self as an individual being. The "social self" emerges at 
approximately two years as a definite sense of self-identity and aware- 
ness of different roles and relationships with others. At this time, which 
is the beginning of the period of negativism, "I" and "me" are used 
meaningfully. This emergence of self-awareness, occurring at the be- 
ginning of the negativistic age, may be seen as the first manifestation 
of a genuine self-concept. 

The self-concept, being a part of the personality, is influenced by the 
same factors which affect personality development. Values are intro- 
jected by the self from parents first, then from teachers and peers. The 
young child, through identification with and training by parents, 
gradually evolves a self-concept consistent with these values. Reinforce- 
ment is virtually constant: behavior of the "good me" is rewarded; be- 
havior of the "bad me" is punished. The suggestibility and flexibility of 
the early self-concept makes moral and social training far easier then 
than later, when the structure of the self has become somewhat more 
deeply entrenched [10]. 

Through middle and late childhood, the peer group comes to play 
a more dominant role, gradually displacing the parent as the primary 
influence on the self-concept. The child more and more comes to identify 
with the group and to assimilate codes of behavior from his peers. 

Developmental Aspects and Trends 65 

During middle childhood, the self-concept stabilizes somewhat, owing 
to the relatively even rate of development of the different personality 
variables. However, with puberty there occurs a drastic change in the 
self-concept. The young adolescent must perceive himself as an adult 
in some ways, and in others as yet a child. Self-control and self-direction 
must be increased although independence is in most cases impossible 
for several years. 

A peculiar problem in our society is the double standard which many 
parents use in judging their teen-age offspring. In some instances, they 
are expected to act as young adults and are judged accordingly, while 
in other cases, they are treated as children. Since the self -concept is in 
part formed from others' evaluations and concepts of the individual, 
this inconsistency on the part of parents only compounds the adolescent's 

Because of the extensive changes affecting the adolescent in almost 
all areas of life, the self-concept is also in turmoil during this period. 
The uncertainties of the future make the formulation of definite goals a 
diflBcult task. However, it is in the resolution of these adolescent prob- 
lems and conflicts that the self-concept of the adult is bom. The values 
and principles which are part of the self-concept at the end of adoles- 
cence are those which tend to be the permanent organizers of behavior. 

In early adulthood, which also poses new challenges and responsi- 
bilities, the self is tested and proved and by approximately thirty years 
of age is completely formed and stable, resistant to change. Middle 
adulthood does not generally change the basic qualities of the self- 
concept, except to modify it with age and experience. 

The increased longevity which man is enjoying today has concomitant 
drawbacks. With the policy of involuntary retirement so prevalent, the 
individuals affected by it often make drastic changes in their self-con- 
cept. After thirty, forty, or more years as breadwinners and contributing 
members of society, many of these individuals find themselves relegated 
to positions of second-class citizens. The self-concept necessarily suffers 
in such cases. The self -concept and its properties at the child, adolescent, 
adult, and senescent levels will be treated more fully in later sections of 
the text. 


1. What are the various stages of physical growth and the characteristics of each? 

2. Discuss the role of various factors influencing emotional development. 

3. Discuss the various stages of intellectual maturation. 

4. Explain socialization and its various levels. 

5. Discuss the relationship between emotional development and socialization. 

6. Discuss the influence of parents and peers on the self-concept. 

7. Discuss the acquiring of values during childhood. 

8. How is intellectual development related to the self-concept? 

66 Fundamental Influences 


I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Faegre, Marion L., et al. Child Care and Training. (8th ed. ) Minneapolis: Uni- 
versity of Minnesota Press, 1958. An easy-to-read, well-written treatment of major 
developments and problems of childhood. 

2. Hurlock, Elizabeth B. Developmental Psychology. (2nd ed. ) New York: 
McGraw-Hill, 1959. A widely used source which considers development from con- 
ception to old age. 

II. Specific References 

3. Baitsell, George A. Human Biology. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1940. 

4. Banham, Katharine M. Senescence and the Emotions: A Genetic Theory. 
/. Genet. Psychol, 1951, 78, 175-183. 

5. Bridges, Katharine M. Banham. Emotional Development in Early Infancy. 
Child Developm., 1932, 3, 324-341. 

6. Greulich, William W. The Rationale of Assessing the Developmental Status of 
Children from Roentgenograms of the Hand and Wrist. Child Developm., 1950, 21, 

7. Hurlock, Elizabeth B. Child Development. (3rd ed.) New York: McGraw-Hill, 

8. Pressey, Sidney L., and Raymond G. Kuhlen. Psychological Development 
through the Life Span. New York: Harper, 1957, 

9. Sarbin, T. R. A Preface to a Psychological Analysis of the Self. Psychol. Rev., 
1952, 59, 11-22. 

10. Sears, Robert R. Identification as a Form of Behavioral Development. In 
Dale B. Harris (Ed.), The Concept of Development. Pp. 149-161. MinneapoHs: 
University of Minnesota Press, 1957. 


Common Fallacies about Group Differences (15 min) McGraw-Hill, 1957. Popular 

notions about races, nationalities, cultures, and personaUty are analyzed in the 

light of scientific evidence. 
Development of Individual Differences ( 13 min ) McGraw-Hill, 1957. The relative 

influence of heredity and envirormient upon behavior is presented and family 

resemblances explained. 
Heredity and Family Environment (9 min) McGraw-HiU, 1955. The basic roles 

of heredity, self, and environment are explained and illustrated by using one 

individual as an example. 
Our Changing Family Life (22 min) McGraw-Hill, 1957. A portrayal of the con- 
trast between the highly integrated farm family life of 1880 and the drastically 

changed family life of today. 
Preface to a Life (29 min) National Institute of Mental Health, 1950. Shows the 

influence parents have on a child's personahty. Parental acceptance of the child 

as an individual, influence of a solicitous mother and a demanding father are 

Sibling Relations and Personality (22 min) McGraw-Hill, 1956. Shows various 

repercussions on personality of relationships a child has toward his brothers and 

sisters throughout the periods of childhood. 
Social Class in America (16 min) McGraw-Hill, 1957. Contrasts and difficulties 

inherent in social status are exemplified by three boys. 




SECTIONS I and II analyzed principles and conditions under which 
human development takes place. This section introduces the origins 
and earliest changes of the individual himself. It attempts to identify 
the factors operative at conception and within prenatal life. Healthy and 
disturbing influences are presented in order to get a more complete 
picture of these most crucial phases of early development. 

Although the prenatal period and first weeks of postnatal Hfe con- 
stitute but a small portion of man's life span, their significance is tre- 
mendous. The very survival of the individual is dependent upon the 
fine timing and coordination of myriad factors. The introduction of any 
one of a multitude of unfavorable environmental conditions may have 
far-reaching effects on the entire psychological integrity of the person. 
Inasmuch as the very bases of behavior, the nervous, glandular, and 
circulatory systems in particular, are formed and developed during 
this time, the capacity of the individual to adapt himself to his en- 
vironment is largely determined at this early stage. In addition to the 
consideration of these formative processes, the necessary adjustments to 
extra-uterine life, the individual differences following birth, and the care 
needed at the neonatal level are assessed. 



Prenatal Development 

THE MmACLE of giowth and development is never more perfectly illus- 
trated than during the period prior to birth. During this time the organ- 
ism changes from a comparatively simple single-cell structure to a tre- 
mendously complex structure consisting literally of billions of cells. The 
multiplication of cells is not, however, the remarkable aspect of this 
period of growth. It is rather the differentiation of these cells into 
various functioning units which constitutes the remarkable aspect and 
real essence of prenatal development. Thus, from the original single 
cell develop cells and structures which are sensitive to specific stimuli, 
the receptors; cells which are capable of contracting, the muscles; cells 
which form and secrete a variety of chemicals, the glands; and cells 
which are ordained to a vast array of other functions. 

The prenatal phase of development may be divided into three im- 
portant stages. In each of these, specific tasks must be accomplished. 
The fulfillment of these, however, is not without serious obstacles and 
dangers. Generally, under normal conditions these obstacles and dangers 
are overcome. The prenatal period encompasses very crucial growth 
since every other period of development depends upon the adequacy 
with which the tasks of the prenatal phases have been mastered. 


Of the period of prenatal development's three general stages, the first 
is termed the period of the zygote or period of the ovum. Beginning at 
the time of conception, this period extends to about the end of the 
second week of life. As in the other stages of development, essential 
processes are inherent in this period. Moreover, definite dangers to the 
further growth and development of the organism are present. Each stage 

70 Prenatal Growth and Birth 

of development, whether a prenatal stage or some period later in life, 
is dependent upon what has been accomplished during the preceding 
stages. In the case of the zygote, development is intrinsically bound to 
the hereditary disposition established at conception and to the physio- 
logical functioning of the mother. Consequently, future normal develop- 
ment can scarcely be expected if the normal sequence of progress is not 
established at this initial stage of growth. 

As indicated above, the period of the zygote is initiated at the time 
of conception, when the nucleus of the male germ cell, the spermatozoon, 
merges with the nucleus of the female germ cell, the ovum. Ordinarily 
only one matured ovum is released from the ovaries and passed into one 
of the Fallopian tubes. In cases where several ova are released simul- 
taneously, one condition suitable for the occurrence of multiple births 
presents itself. Through strong chemical action the male germ cells are 
attracted toward the ovum. In the case of conception, the ovum is pene- 
trated and fertilized by a single spermatozoon. Although recent evidence 
indicates that the ovum may be penetrated simultaneously by more 
than one spermatozoon, conception in such cases fails to occur. Rather, 
when it is penetrated and fertilized by a single male germ cell, a wave of 
chemical changes occurs within the ovum, producing a "fertilization 
membrane." This prohibits penetration by additional spermatozoa [10, 
p. 12]. 

Following fertilization, the newly formed zygote normally passes 
down the Fallopian tube and into the uterus. During this transit the 
uterine walls, through the action of hormones released by the ovaries, 
are being prepared for the reception of the zygote. Upon arriving in 
the uterus, the zygote becomes implanted in the wall and, for the first 
time, begins to derive nourishment from the mother. (During the days 
preceding implantation the zygote has subsisted on nourishment pro- 
vided by the yolk of the ovum.) Once this function is established, the 
organism starts its differentiation, and a fast increase in size occurs. 

The period prior to implantation, however, has not been without 
notable developmental changes. During this period, the original zygote 
has divided and redivided many times until a tiny globule of tissue exists. 
Moreover, its cells have differentiated into an outer layer, from which 
will develop the supporting structures of the growing organism, and an 
inner core, from which the new organism itself will develop. 

The preceding description is a very brief account of the normal 
processes occurring during the initial stage of life. However, there are 
many other events which can take place. For example, the zygote may 
fail to pass into the uterus. In such a case, it may implant itself in some 
other location. Such "ectopic pregnancies," estimated to occur once in 
every 500 conceptions, almost invariably result in the eventual destruc- 

Prenatal Development 71 

tion of the organism [8, p. 176]. In addition to this type of abnormaHty, 
there is always the danger that, being nourished only by its own yolk, 
the zygote may perish before implantation can occur. 

As indicated, only one ovum is ordinarily released. In cases where 
two are released and fertilized (each by a different spermatozoon), 
the offspring are termed fraternal twins. From the discussion of heredity 
in Chapter 4 it is obvious that the hereditary similarity of such off- 
spring is no greater than that of any other children born of the same 
parents. Consequently, the tendency of many parents to treat such 
children in the same manner and to expect the same degrees of achieve- 
ment from them becomes just as wrong as expecting a younger child to 
conform to the norms established by an older sister or brother. Such 
failure to recognize the basic individuality of the person is almost equally 
ludicrous when such treatment is afforded to identical twins. 

In the case of identical twins ( actually there may be more than two ) , 
a single ovum has been fertilized. In the process of cell division occurring 
early in the zygote period, the individual cells become separated and 
develop as individual organisms. The hereditary similarity of such off- 
spring naturally may be virtually complete, the only differences being 
those introduced by the possible failure of the zygote to divide into 
perfectly equal units. In physical appearance, such children may be 
actually indistinguishable. But each is a unique person for neither the 
prenatal environment nor the sequence of events following birth is 
identical for such twins. 


With the implantation of the zygote in the wall of the uterus, the 
second major prenatal period begins. This, the embryonic period, ex- 
tends until approximately the end of the tenth week of life. During this 
phase the rate of growth in over-all size is indeed tremendous. From a 
minute globule of tissue no larger than the head of a pin, the body ad- 
vances rapidly in size, weight, and complexity. The extensive changes 
are vividly illustrated in Figure 6-1, which represents the actual size 
of the developing embryo from one to seven weeks old. 

Following implantation, the greatest changes in the body are not 
those of size and weight. Far more important is the differentiation of 
tissue into the various structures of the body. Whereas at the beginning 
of the embryonic period the organism consists largely of undifferentiated 
cells, by the end of the period all major organs and systems have been 
developed. Thus, one finds in very rudimentary form the nervous sys- 
tem, including the brain and spinal cord; the specialized receptor 
mechanisms, such as the eyes; and the heart, lungs, digestive system, 

Figure 6-1. Early Prenatal Mitosis (Diagrams showing actual size of embryos and 
their membranes based on the mother's menstrual history) 











Implantation -- 

First- 1 
. -, missed -| 
A-Z period J 

Test -*^ 


to be 


±0.15 mm. 

±0.3 mm. 

embryo, 0.5 mm. 

Peter's embryo 

Embryo in 
streak stage 

2 en 




3 ':^ 

(Bradley M. Patten. Human Embryology. (2nd ed. ) New York; 
McGraw-Hill-Blakiston, 1953. By permission.) 


Prenatal Development 73 

and other organs. Most of these structures and systems are far from 
functional. Through the maturational processes of the following months 
they will finally be prepared for their duties in sustaining the life of 
the individual. It should be noted, however, that by the end of the 
embryonic period the organism has acquired a decidedly human form: 
no longer might it be confused with the embryo of an animal. 

The sequence of development during the embryonic stage is quite 
systematic and regular. Thus, each organ and organ system has a par- 
ticular time for its emergence. This, of course, is a highly desirable 
characteristic of development, but it can pose something of a problem. 
Should a temporary disturbance take place at the time a particular sys- 
tem normally develops, that system will be, to a greater or lesser de- 
gree, temporarily or permanently impaired. If, for example, the delicate 
chemical balance of the mother is upset seriously, the effects on the 
growing embryo may be permanent, even if the normal balance is later 
restored. It is for this reason that certain maternal ailments are of par- 
ticular significance during this period, although the same illnesses are 
relatively insignificant at a later stage of pregnancy. 

Still another danger present during this period is the possibihty that 
the embryo will be dislodged and a miscarriage will result. With the 
passage of time, however, this threat becomes less. Thus, A. F. Gutt- 
macher [5, pp. 195-206] has estimated that 72 per cent of all mis- 
carriages occur by the end of the third month. The causes for mis- 
carriages are varied: falls or injuries to the mother, malnutrition, hor- 
mone imbalance, etc. One interesting relationship is found between the 
incidence of miscarriage and the sex of the offspring. It is estimated 
that for every 100 female embryos so lost, there are 160 males lost. 


Whereas the embryonic stage was largely characterized by the differ- 
entiation of tissue into the various bodily organs and systems, the fetal 
period is largely one of refinement and perfection of these systems. 
It is devoted largely to the preparation of the organism for the act of 
sustaining itself after birth. Thus, at the beginning of the fetal period 
all major organs and systems have been formed, and the organism 
shows characteristics of a human body rather than some animal. During 
the remaining months of prenatal development, the organs and sys- 
tems necessary for the infant at birth advance to a point at which they 
are actually functional. When this point is reached, the fetus is said 
to have achieved the age of viability. Typically this is at about the end 
of the seventh lunar month, although cases of it at the end of six months 
have been reported. 

74 Prenatal Growth and Birth 

During the fetal period the bodily structures show an increase in size 
and complexity, and many actually begin to function. The heart, for 
example, begins to beat. With the introduction of this process, usually 
sometime between the ages of fourteen and sixteen weeks, the blood of 
the fetus is actively circulated by the fetus rather than by the mother. 
It should be noted, however, that even prior to this time there has been 
no direct connection between the circulatory system of the mother and 
that of the fetus. Rather, by means of the umbilical cord, the fetus has 
absorbed blood from the placenta, returning this blood through the 
same basic mechanism. The blood in the placenta is filtered, and only its 
nuti'itive materials and oxygen pass to the fetus. 

Another sign of the gradual preparation of the fetus for extra-uterine 
life is the development of a vast variety of reflexes and general move- 
ments. With the passage of time, such activity becomes increasingly 
common. Tremendous individual differences in the amount of motility 
are found, some fetuses being active as much as 75 per cent of the time, 
others as little as 5 per cent. Or again, some may hiccup every day, 
while others do so only rarely if ever. The indispensable basis of all 
these functions is naturally the functioning of the nervous system. In all 
likelihood, the entire nervous system is present by the end of the fifth 
month, much of it operational. Quite understandably, however, much of 
the nervous system is not functional until sometime later, in some cases 
not until well after birth. 

As with the previous stages of development, this period is not without 
its hazards. One such danger, miscarriage, continues during the fetal 
stage. In addition, there is the possibility that the infant will be bom 
prematurely. Such an event naturally reduces the infant's chances for 
survival because the various organs and basic reflexes necessary for 
sustenance are only partially developed. This problem and its psycho- 
logical significance will be discussed in the next chapter. 


Although there has been much misunderstanding throughout histoiy 
concerning the basic processes and mechanisms involved in prenatal 
life itself, possibly even more misunderstanding has surrounded the 
factors which influence growth and development during this period. 
Much remains to be discovered in each of these fields, but considerable 
progress has been m.ade. 

Diet. The eating habits of the expectant mother have been subject 
to many beliefs. The old maxim that a mother must "eat enough for 
two" is but one of these. Despite the fact that the mother supplies all 
the food for the growing fetus, it definitely is not true that she must "eat 

Prenatal Development 75 

enough for two." Indeed, overeating can be a major problem in child 
bearing, placing an extra strain on the mother [13], Extreme malnutri- 
tion, of course, presents a serious problem for both the mother and the 
developing fetus. This is clearly shown by the high incidence of de- 
formed infants noted in war-ravaged European countries during and 
after the Second World War [14]. A proper nutritional status of the 
expectant mother prior to pregnancy is a key factor in satisfactory nu- 
trition during the period of gestation. During the second and third 
trimesters of pregnancy the quantities of protein, calcium, iron, and 
iodine, as well as vitamins A, B, and D, have to be moderately increased 
in order to meet the demands of fetal growth [2, 9]. 

Of great significance is the proper balance of nutriments eaten by the 
mother. Within a fairly wide range of total food intake, no great efiFects 
are noted. Deficiency in specific vitamins, minerals, calcium, and pro- 
teins, however, may seriously afiFect the developing organism and produce 
abnormalities which may be permanent [16]. 

Ilhiess. Any acute diseased condition or emotional strain on the 
mother, if it lasts, will affect her metabolic rate, oxygen level, and the 
biochemical composition of her blood. Such a condition, in turn, may 
interfere with the course of development of the new individual, because 
some new chemical substances will be transmitted to the fetus's circula- 
tory system despite filtration of the placenta. L. W. Sontag [15] was 
able to demonstrate that strong emotional reactions are usually irri- 
tating to the fetus. The movements of fetuses, for example, increased 
several hundred per cent while their mothers were undergoing emotional 
upsets. Even when emotional stress was brief, heightened behavioral 
irritability of the fetus lasted as long as several hours. 

The bacilli of infectious diseases, especially venereal; disturbed secre- 
tion of the pituitary, adrenal, or thyroid glands; toxins, including nico- 
tine and alcohol; excessive fatigue; and very young or late biological 
age of the mother are among the factors which influence and disturb 
prenatal growth in a variety of ways. The extent of disturbance de- 
pends much on the severity and duration of these influences, as well as 
on the embryo's stage of development and the strengths with which the 
embryo and the mother are endowed. Furthermore, the family situation 
and marital adjustment in their total aspects influence either favorably 
or unfavorably the mother's psychological adaptation to her pregnancy. 
Fears and anxieties may emerge, especially if the family increase was 
not intended. Joy and a general experience of gratification result when 
both parents were planning for the offspring. 

If the expectant mother is emotionally mature, and if her husband 
shows understanding of her status and needs, a favorable atmosphere 
is likely to be created. This may safeguard her from excessive tension 

76 Prenatal Growth and Birth 

and stress during this important phase of her Hfe. Generally the ex- 
pectant mother should live as any healthy, active married woman. She 
should avoid excesses of any sort but carry on most of her ordinary work 
and recreation. If her plan of living is well organized, it will provide 
a balance of work and relaxation [1, pp. 121-122]. If her health is pre- 
carious or external circumstances become stressful to her, consultations 
with an obstetrician or family physician may be of great assistance in 
avoiding any serious complications. 


1. Give some reasons why psychologists are interested in the physiological develop- 
ment of the human being. 

2. Describe what happens in the process of conception. 

3. Explain the occurrence of multiple births. 

4. Analyze early structural changes after implantation. 

5. Describe some structural developments and refinements occurring during the 
fetal stage. 

6. Explain the concept of viabihty. 

7. What behavioral developments take place during the fetal stage of development? ; 

8. What do maternal diet and health have to do with the fetal development? 


I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Breckenridge, Marian E., and Margaret N. Murphy. Growth and Development 
of the Young Child. (6th ed.) Chap. 3. Philadelphia: Saunders, 1958. Deals with 
physical and psychological adjustments and care during pregnancy. 

2. National Research Council, Food and Nutrition Board. Recommended Dietary 
Allowances. National Academy of Sciences Publication No. 129, Washington, 1948. 
Discusses diet of the mother, baby, and child and its role. 

3. Patten, Bradley M. Human Embryology. (2nd ed. ) New York: McGraw-Hill- 
Blakiston, 1953. A comprehensive source on fertilization and prenatal developments 
of various somatic systems. 

4. Stem, Curt. Principles of Human Genetics. San Francisco: Freeman, 1949. A 
general source on laws and tendencies in early human development. 

II. Specific References 

5. Guttmacher, A. F. Miscarriages and Abortions. In M. Fishbein and E. W 
Burgess, Successful Marriage. New York: Doubleday, 1955. 

6. Hooker, Davenport. The Prenatal Origin of Behavior. Lawrence, Kans.: Uni 
versity of Kansas Press, 1952. 

7. Hurlock, Elizabeth B. Developmental Psychology. (2nd ed.) New York: Mc 
Graw-Hill, 1959. 

8. Irving, F. C, and A. T. Hertig. A Study of Placenta Accreta. Surg. Gynec 
Ohstetr., 64, 176-200. 

9. Peckos, Penelope S. Nutrition during Growth and Development. Child De 
velopm., 1957, 28, 273-285. 

10. Raven, C. P. An Outline of Developmental Physiology. New York: McGraw 
Hill, 1954. 

Prenatal Development 77 

11. Rogers, Martha E., et al. Prenatal and Paranatal Factors in the Development 
of Childhood Behavior Disorders. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ., School of Hygiene 
and Public Health, n. d. (ca. 1955). 

12. Sheldon, W. H., et al. The Varieties of Human Physique. New York: Harper, 

13. Shock, N. W. Physiological Factors in Development. Rev. Educ. Res., 1947, 
17, 362-370. 

14. Smith, C. A. Effects of Maternal Malnutrition upon the Newborn Infant in 
Holland. /. Pediat., 1947, 30, 229-243. 

15. Sontag, L. W. The Significance of Fetal Environmental DiflFerences. Amer. J. 
Ohstetr. Gynec, 1941, 42, 996-1003. 

16. Warkany, J. Congenital Malformations Induced by Maternal Nutritional De- 
ficiency. /. Pediat., 1944, 25, 476-480. 





The Human at 


Birth terminates prenatal development and introduces infancy, a 
stage of lesser dependence and of many rapid developments. 

The process of birth refers to the ti'ansfer of the developing infant 
from the uterine and liquid environment to that of the external world. 
Although it is impossible to set the exact date for the expected birth, it 
usually occurs after approximately nine calendar months or close to 270 
days of intra-uterine life. 

About two weeks prior to birth, lightening occurs: the fetus descends 
into the lower abdominal cavity; the head of the fetus sinks into the 
pelvis, and its body falls a little forward. After lightening, the mother 
can breathe more easily because the upper abdomen and chest are re- 
lieved of pressure caused by the presence of the fetus. The onset of 
labor may be preceded by one or all of the following occurrences: (1) 
false labor pains caused by irregular, intermittent contractions of the 
uterus, (2) pink or blood-tinged discharge from the vagina, and (3) 
rupture of the membranes containing the fetus and amniotic fluid. 

Birth is accomplished by rhythmic contractions of the uterine mus- 
cles at diminishing intervals, which exercise pressure causing the ex- 
pectant mother to feel pain and to become more aware of the pending 
birth of her child. The successive and increasingly more powerful con- 
tractions rupture the membranes containing the fetus and, after several 
hours of labor, send the infant into a new state of existence. Three 
stages of labor may be distinguished. The first is characterized by uterine 


The Human at Birth 79 

contractions which become regular and harder and occur with greater 
frequency and last for longer periods of time. Also during the first stage 
of labor, the birth canal widens in preparation for the passage of the 
fetus. The second stage of labor brings about the actual birth of the 
child. The contractions are very hard, and the membranes containing 
amniotic fluid usually rupture during this second stage. In the third 
stage, the placenta is expelled from the uterus. Since only the hospital 
will have all the equipment necessary to facilitate the process of birth 
and, especially, to meet any emergency that may arise during birth, in- 
cluding any special care the infant may need, hospitalization generally 
is a necessity, especially for the first child. When the first stage of labor — 
the longest — commences, it is time to inform the family physician or 
obstetrician and to be ready to leave for the hospital at his advice. 

During the stages of labor, the mother should make repeated eflForts 
to relax and to rest between contractions and to bear down with her 
abdominal muscles while contractions are occurring. If she has Little 
or no fear of this natural process, she is relaxed and therefore requires 
less analgesic medications. Although the average time of labor approxi- 
mates sixteen hours, it may last much longer or be considerably briefer. 
The length of the labor period is usually longer for the first-bom and 
shorter for additional pregnancies. The contractions during the advanced 
stages of labor are severe and painful: they reach about 10 dols, the 
normal person being sensitive to approximately 11 dols. The psycholog- 
ical state of the patient can make pains more tolerable or less tolerable. 

Many hospitals and obstetricians offer expectant mothers an oppor- 
tunity to attend prenatal classes. One of the objectives of these classes 
is to teach the mother about natural childbirth in order to help her 
overcome fear of childbirth. The mother is taught physical exercises and 
deep abdominal breathing which will help her relax. At the time of 
delivery, the deep abdominal breathing will give the unborn baby better 
oxygenation as well as decrease the mother's pain, for if the abdominal 
muscles are not tense, there will be less resistance. It has been observed 
that this practice has reduced the time of labor by as much as two hours. 

It may be pointed out that hypnosis is coming into use to accomplish 
relaxation and cooperation of the mother. In the hypnotic trance she is 
better disposed to assist at her own delivery. In some cases, such as 
heart weakness or a preceding spinal illness, hypnosis seems to be the 
only adequate substitution for the application of analgesic drugs. 

After childbirth, it is important that the mother rest for at least five 

to seven days. It seems to be the trend for mothers to get out of bed 

i within a day or two after the birth of the baby, depending upon the 

' orders of the doctor. Getting up soon after delivery, often referred to 

as early ambulation, seems to have definite advantages. The mother be- 

80 Prenatal Growth and BiHh 

comes stronger much sooner; there are fewer comphcations, such as 
thrombophlebitis; and there is less discomfort because normal functions, 
such as bowel and urinary excretions, are resumed quicker if the mother 
is up and around. There seem to be very few, if any, disadvantages 
accompanying early ambulation for the normal, healthy mother, but 
other conditions, such as a heart disease or a very difficult delivery, may 
call for a modification of the early ambulation practice [16, pp. 436- 
438]. There should be very few visitors for the new mother because she 
needs rest, but more especially to prevent outside infections from being 
carried in to the mother or baby. She should care for her baby at the 
assigned intervals and, as a result, get acquainted with the infant. She 
may read, preferably pamphlets or books on baby care, and in this way 
be prepared to take complete care of the baby when she leaves the 
hospital. Many hospitals conduct classes for the mothers in their ob- 
stetrical divisions. In these classes the mothers are taught how to care 
for their babies in such activities as bathing, feeding, clothing, and 
preparing the formula and diet. Films and other audiovisual aids are 
used in these teaching programs. The individual nurse caring for the 
mother can do much teaching, and the mother during her stay in the 
hospital has many opportunities to ask questions of either her obstetrician 
or the nurse. 

Acquiring a variety of skills in infant care, such as those related to 
dressing, bathing, carrying, and feeding, gives the mother feelings of 
adequacy and security — feelings she really needs in infant rearing, es- 
pecially for the first child. For two to three weeks, a number of mothers 
need assistance with all other housework in order to have frequent rest 
intervals, lest they contract an infection due to a lowered state of re- 
sistance. Most mothers can assume normal duties within a week despite 
the postpaitum bleeding. 

Some statistical results pertinent to the U.S. population will help to 
illustrate several important trends in the vital-care data of the nation. 
Table 7-1 points out that in 1955 less than 6 per cent of births occurred 
outside of the hospital. It also indicates the decreasing rate of fetal and 
infant death. A most substantial decrease occurred in the maternal death 
ratio per 1,000 childbirths: 1939, 36.7; 1949, 9; 1950, 8.3; 1955, 4.7; 1956, 
4.1. Figure 7-1 points up this continuing trend toward rapid decrease 
of the maternal death from 1915 to 1955, which is due particularly to 
the improvements in medical service and its application to most mothers. 

As Figure 7-2 indicates, in 1947 nearly four million infants were bom 
in the United States, the largest number in the history of the country 
until then. During that year, the birth rate soared to its highest point 
in recent decades. The predicted drop in the birth rate since 1947 has 
been smaller than was expected, and the decade of 1950 does not ap- 

The Human at Birth 


Figure 7-1. Maternal Mortality Rates by Color: U.S. Birth Registration by States, 



« 60 
^ 40 



o. 20 


"^ 8 

y- Non-white 








\ \ 

\ N 




1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 

1915 1925 1935 1945 1955 

{Vital Statistics Special Reports. Vol. 46, no. 17, p. 437. 

Figure 7-2. Live Births and Birth Rates Adjusted for Underregistration: United 
States, 1909-1956 


n' I '■ 1 1 ' 1 1 '' I '' I '' I ■' 'I '''''''■'''''''''■ 1 1 I I '''''"' '0 
1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 

{Vital Statistics of the United States: 1956. Vol. I, p. xliii. 1958.) 


Prenatal Growth and Birth 

Table 7-1 
Life Data: United States 







Total births: 

Adjusted for underregistra- 






Live birth rate per 1,000: 

Adjusted for underregistra- 






Fetal death ratio per 1,000: 








Infant under one year death 
ratio per 1,000: 






Physician in hospital 








Immature birth 2,500 grams or 




source: Vital Statistics of the United States: 1956. Vol. I. 1958. 

pear to present any noticeable decrease in the rate. As seen in Table 7-1, 
the vitality of the nation continues unabated. Figure 7-3 conveys an 
idea of birth frequency in each month during the years of 1956 and 


Although the neonate is usually well equipped to respond to and 
make a variety of adjustments to the demands of reality, in the process 
of birth and sudden exposure to a new environment he first has to 
struggle for his biological existence. The first phase of infancy is marked 
by a rapid succession of development in physiological, motor, emotional, 
language, and apperceptive aspects of growth. At the same time, he at- 

The Human at Birth 


tains a new level of integration and some control over the various organs 
and functions of his body, and bestows increasing attention upon objects 
and persons in his surroundings. As a result, the infant expands his be- 
havioral activities, which in turn tend to decrease his helplessness, en- 
abling him to make the first steps toward an interdependent existence. 


The phase of the newborn is primarily a time of adjustment to many 
new factors outside of the mother's womb. 

The birth cry is a reflexive gasping inhalation and exhalation of air 
across the vocal cords, which are tightened by shock or trauma asso- 
ciated with pressure and the change of temperature. It marks the com- 
mencement of oral communication of needs. During the first few weeks 
of postnatal life, sounds produced by the neonate are but innate or in- 
stinctual vocal reactions of varying intensity to sensations of cold, 
hunger, dampness, pain, and digestive discomforts. Discomforts in the 
digestive system, e.g., colic, or indigestive discomfort, are one of the main 
reasons for neonatal crying. 

Soon the infant reaches a time of development of new processes and, 
especially, activities associated with a less dependent existence. It is true 
that the various physiological developments prior to birth laid a satis- 
factory foundation for fundamental vegetative processes, yet for several 
days, if not weeks or months, their organization remains very precarious. 

Figure 7-3. Month Frequency of Births Per 1,000 Population 


{Monthly Vital Statistics Report: Annual Summary for 1957, 
Tart 1: U.S. Vol. 6, no. 13. 1958.) 

84 Prenatal Growth and Birth 

This is especially true of the digestive system and of neuromuscular con- 
dition. Whether breast or formula feeding is introduced, physical growth 
in terms of weight seems to come to a standstill for approximately a 
week. Usually the neonate loses as many as six or seven ounces before he 
begins to gain. Thus, the neonatal phase of existence is, in this sense, 
a plateau stage since loss of weight is not sufficiently balanced by other 
physical developments. Then, usually during the second week or later, 
there is a period of rapid growth which continues during the first phase 
of infancy and, to a lesser degree, throughout the total span of infancy. 

During the first phase of postnatal Hfe, the infant gradually learns 
to cope with his particular environment by means of his senses and 
motor functions. He is very sensitive to contact stimuli and to changes 
in his position. The baby quickly makes use of his somesthetic senses. 
The temperature senses are sufficiently developed, and the neonate soon 
reacts to cold or warm stimuli. The development of the taste and smell 
receptors is soon advanced, and they contribute to the infant's process of 
nutrition. Opening and closing of the mouth occurs spontaneously as 
part of the infant's effort to suckle. Salty, acid, and bitter solutions 
usually make the infant stop sucking, while sweet solutions elicit and 
maintain this reaction. Reaction to visual stimuli is marked by the closing 
of the eyes at a flash of light to either or both eyes, and by expansion and 
contraction of the pupils of the eyes in response to decreased or in- 
creased light intensity. Acoustic stimuli of usual intensity do not at this 
phase elicit any particular responses. 

In addition to unqualifiable motion, the neonate exhibits a consider- 
able repertoire of behavior, such as "search" movements and sucking, 
swallowing, rejecting substances from the mouth, yawning, sneezing, 
holding his breath, and vocalizing. Hands and feet also produce several 
reflex patterns: the Babinski reflex, an upward and fanning movement 
of the toes responding to stroking of the soles; the Moro reflex, a clutch- 
ing movement of the arms and legs responding to a blow to the surface 
on which the neonate is lying and to intense sounds; knee jerk; palmar 
reflex; and rubbing the face. Nursing posture and startle response in- 
volve some coordination of several parts of the body [3]. Many of these 
responses are protective or need-satisfying, and therefore continue to be 
exhibited in modified forms later. Additionally, parents or observers 
may notice that the neonate is capable of emotional response. This is 
marked by pervasive excitement and accompanied by crying and un- 
pleasantness. Relaxation and sleep signify lack of emotionally exciting 
experience. These are often induced by picking the baby up and carrying 
him on the shoulder, by rocking him, and by feeding. The quantity, 
quality, and complexity of sensory and motor responses increases at a 
considerable speed during the early weeks of postnatal life. 

The Human at Birth 85 


Since neonates face many new tasks, most of them, including many 
full-term babies, are likely to have some difficulties early in their post- 
natal life. Growth and learning depend in a large measure upon the mode 
of parental care, which may either satisfy or frustrate the intrinsic 
biogenic and psychogenic needs. One of the frequent problems related 
to the major mode of satisfying biogenic needs is feeding. In the hospital 
or at home, the scheduled feeding hours are often unsatisfactory since the 
baby is likely to get hungry before the hour, cry and get tired, fall asleep, 
or show little initiative at the scheduled time. Self-demand feeding may 
do a better job although it also does not guarantee either sucking satisfac- 
tion or the intake of a sufficient amount of food. The infant may show 
poor response to breast and formula feeding alike; diarrhea and vomiting 
are not infrequent. S. Escalona [4] and R. S. Illingworth [7] indicate the 
importance of the method of feeding, noting that the emotional tone with 
which the baby accepts his food is often traceable to the mother's atti- 
tude and her level of relaxation while she is offering him food. Babies 
can sense tension in the person who has intimate contact with them. 
Quiet talking to the baby, slow procedure, and attempts to gain the 
infant's attention are also of considerable significance in the avoidance 
of feeding problems. R. P. Odenwald [10, pp. 16-7] feels that the process 
of feeding encompasses the most important moments of the infant's life. 
It helps to satisfy his sucking urge and offers psychological pleasure and 
emotional gratification for both the baby and his mother. In the case of 
formula feeding, the mother should not fail to hold the baby in her 
arms while he is taking nourishment. There is no substitute for the affec- 
tionate care and love so much needed by every child which is expressed 
at these moments. 

Although the approximate average of fluid food during the first year 
of life is about two ounces per pound of weight per day, there is no set 
amount of food that must be taken by a particular baby. Quantity de- 
pends much on the neonate's level of maturity, which is difficult to 
estimate. Prematurely bom infants are capable of digesting much smaller 
amounts of food than full-term babies. Prematurity is more frequently a 
matter of weeks rather than of months. Too often, however, parents be- 
lieve that certain amounts of food must be taken in order to grow ade- 
quately. As a result, they use various techniques to increase the amount 
and by this magnify discomforts within the digestive system and produce 
excessive crying. Both the amount of milk and timing have to be flexible 
to adjust to the changing physiological and experiential stages of the 
infant. Many experimental studies have been conducted on the genesis 
of the sucking response. Recently S. Ross et al. [12] surveyed fifty-seven 

86 Prenatal Growth and Birth 

pertinent investigations. Findings point to the possibility of an instinctual 
drive, the functional activity of which increases when infants are exposed 
to sucking frustration. The experimental evidence does not point to any 
definite relationship between sucking variation and later patterns of 

A condition known as colic can cause new parents much anxiety. Colic 
in infants is a condition characterized by a sudden onset of loud and 
persistent crying with the knees drawn up to the abdomen. The abdomen 
is tense and distended. An attack may last 1% or 2 hours, but in some 
cases it may be practically continuous for many hours. The cause is 
usually a digestive disturbance due to one or more factors. Among these 
factors is air in the intestine, which the baby swallowed during feeding 
and has not eliminated by burping. When the baby is able to expel the 
air from the rectum, he is usually relieved. Other causes of colic may be 
overfeeding or an intake of formula that is too rich or too cold. Even 
the casein in milk can cause a digestive disturbance, and an allergy to a 
certain element in the diet may lead to so much distress that that type of 
feeding may need to be entirely changed. Some babies who are allergic 
to cow's milk have to be fed goat's milk or a milk made from soybeans. 
At times colic may be due to organic causes, such as appendicitis or in- 
tussusception, which may require immediate surgical treatment. If a 
baby seems colicky and the irritability is not due to hunger, a pedia- 
trician should be consulted and the baby treated according to the doctor's 

A more direct danger to the survival of the neonate is birth injuries 
resulting from instrumental delivery, or from pressure caused by severe 
contractions or a too narrow passageway en route to birth. When the 
delivery is complicated, there can occur a fractured bone or even a neck 
injury or damage to the spinal cord severe enough to cause paralysis and 
possibly death. The first day of life is the most critical for survival. If the 
birth process is for some reason prolonged or if sedative drugs are used 
excessively or are used two or three hours prior to birth, the fetus may 
suflFer a lack of oxygen, producing a state of anoxia; this anoxia, if pro- 
longed, may rapidly damage the sensitive tissues of the brain and even 
aflFect the individual's vital functions. Sedatives and analgesics, espe- 
cially morphine, depress the infant's respiration so that at birth there 
may be considerable difiiculty starting the newborn to breathe. This is 
even more pronounced if a general anesthetic is administered in addition 
to sedatives. Great skill must be exercised when these drugs are used. 
Hypnosis, which has been used successfully in recent years instead of 
sedatives or an anesthetic, has been much safer for the baby. 

The brain injury due to pressure or anoxia may be so widespread as 
to deprive the individual of his intelligence potential and so produce a 

„ The Human at Birth 87 

lower intelligence. A. Gesell [5], K. C. Pratt [11], and A. F. Tredgold 
[13] agree that various brain injuries accompanying birth account for 
about 5 to 10 per cent of all mental deficiency cases. It might be added 
that the same causes are conducive to complications and hinder the 
process of neonatal adjustment. 

Premature births are often prolonged and cataclysmic, and subject the 
infant to added stress. The organism of the premature is very fragile 
and generally not ready for birth [9, p. 73]. His lungs may not be de- 
veloped enough to make an adequate exchange of gases, or his digestive 
system may not be suflBciently developed to utilize and change milk into 
the proper products for use in cellular life. Secondary infections, such as 
pneumonia or diarrhea, may seriously threaten the premature baby's 
life even when he is many months old. Prematurity is the leading cause 
of death in infants, and mortality among premature infants is inversely 
proportional to the infant's birth weight. About one-third of infant deaths 
under one year of age are due to prematurity, and almost one-half of the 
infants who die in the first month of life are premature babies [14, p. 
689]. Figure 7-4 presents the causes of infant mortality under one year 
and reveals the changes in it for the decade from 1939 to 1949. The de- 
crease of the mortality rate is continuing, and the 1959 rate may compare 
to the 1949 rate as the 1949 rate did to that of 1939. 

The psychological effects of prematurity are manifold. This fact per se 
raises the concern and anxiety of parents — a condition which stirs up 
feelings and attitudes of overprotectiveness. The difficulties in feeding 
the premature and the small amounts of fluid taken reinforce parental 
anxieties. Yet studies on the subject suggest that, if the corrected chron- 
ological age (CCA) [1] is used as a means to estimate growth and 
behavior, the premature baby develops satisfactorily. Applying CCA, the 
age of the infant refers to the time of conception rather than of birth. 
Thus, a premature infant born at thirty-five weeks of gestation would 
have an age credit of five weeks whenever his behavior or maturity was 
appraised in terms of age norms. However, the overprotective attitude 
formed toward such a child may persist. It will tend to interfere with 
the normal course of his self-development. The need for assistance from 
others may become deeply engrained in the attitudinal system of the 
individual. Thus, the psychological impact on those who are born prema- 
turely often continues throughout childhood and later. 

The possibility of infection of various kinds is considerable since the 
immunity level of the young individual is low. As a result, cases of in- 
fection and complications are more frequent than in later life. Epidemic 
diarrhea in newborn infants is a serious condition which often results in 
death. For an average of 40 per cent of infants, epidemic diarrhea is fatal 
[14, p. 790]. Pneumonia in neonates is serious, but with modern methods 


Prenatal Growth and Birth 

of treatment chances of survival have increased, barring other complica- 
tions. Syphilis is not as prevalent as formerly, since the discovery of 
penicillin. Adherence to hygienic regulations, especially by mothers, is a 
major preventive of disease during the early stages of postnatal life. 
Prenatal education in baby care by hospitals and other institutions is 
another major factor in securing the biological welfare of the infant by 
preventing the "experimental" trial-and-error approach in the manage- 
ment of the first child during his first and most crucial year of life. 

There are, at times, certain physiological conditions and congenital 
malformations present at birth v^^hich may threaten the infant's life. One 
normal physiological condition which presents some danger to the new- 
born infant is the mucus in the infant's mouth which he may aspirate 
into his lungs as he breathes. Immediately after birth, the obstetrician 
or nurse sucks out the excess mucus from the baby's mouth and throat 
before he begins to breathe, in an effort to prevent aspiration of mucus 
into the lungs. The baby must be watched closely in the nursery for any 
signs of difficult breathing or excess mucus. 

Figure 7-4. Infant Mortality: Main Causes by Sixth Revision of the International 
Lists: U.S., 1939 and 1949 



Asphyxia and 

Birth injuries 


Influenza and 

Gastritis,- etc. 

All other 

Total deaths under 1 year per 


live bir 







Decrease in total 
rate = 35% 

With immaturity 



(Main Causes of Infant, Childhood and Maternal Mortality, 1939-1949. U.S. Depart- 
ment of Health, Education, and Welfare, Children's Bureau Statistical Series No. 15, 

The Human at Birth 89 

There is a hemolytic condition known as erythroblastosis fetalis which 
may be present in infants whose blood type is RH-j- and whose mothers' 
blood type is RH — . In such cases, the mother's blood forms antibodies 
which react to and cause a breakdown of the baby's blood. Shortly after 
birth, the baby becomes jaundiced, and if the condition is severe may 
need to have exchange transfusions in which some of his blood is with- 
drawn and replaced with other blood. At times even the transfusions 
cannot save the infant. 

Among the more common congenital defects which present danger to 
an infant's survival are hydrocephalus, spina bifida, and heart defects. 
Hydrocephalus eventually leads to death if untreated, and even with 
surgical intervention the life expectancy is short. Spina bifida, which is a 
growth on the spinal column, occurs in various forms. If it is a kind 
which involves the spinal cord directly, little can be done to prolong the 
infant's life, which usually ends as a result of secondary infection. Some 
kinds of spina bifida can be removed by a surgical procedure. Heart 
defects also may be various in kind. Some of them can be corrected, 
providing the infant lives long enough and can tolerate surgery. It may 
be as long as one year before surgery can be performed, and during that 
year may occur many episodes of diflBcult breathing and upper respira- 
tory infections to which this type of infant is especially susceptible. 
There are many other congenital malformations equally dangerous but 
less frequently seen, such as an abnormal opening in the trachea or a 
malformed digestive tract. 

Attention has recently been given to babies bom of narcotic-addicted 
mothers. It has been observed by obstetricians and pediatricians that 
babies bom of addicted mothers manifest withdrawal symptoms after 
delivery, the severity of which depends upon the amount of drug taken 
and the time of the last dose prior to delivery, as well as on the fre- 
quency with which the mother was accustomed to take the drug. Many 
babies of addicted mothers have died as a result of withdrawal reactions, 
especially if the baby's underlying difiiculty was unknown and there- 
fore untreated. With treatment, the chances of survival are fairly good, 
and the baby can be cured of the addiction if he survives the withdrawal 
reactions. Whether a baby cured of addiction will later in life be emo- 
tionally unbalanced and resort to narcotics is as yet unknown to science. 


After birth, individuals diflFer among themselves in all observable 
aspects. Much significance is usually attributed to differences in weight. 
The neonate normally is close to 20 inches in length and weighs approxi- 
mately 7% pounds. In 1956, the median weight for all newborns was 

90 Prenatal Growth and Birth 

3,310 grams. On the average, female babies weighed 120 grams less than 
male babies [15]. If a neonate weighs less than 2,500 grams or has a 
gestation period of less than thirty-seven weeks, he is conventionally 
considered premature. Many hospitals retain such infants until they 
reach the indicated weight unless they are triplets or twins. In multiple 
births, the average weight is noticeably lower than 7 pounds, while in 
some cases single-birth individuals have been as much as double the 
normal weight. Amounts of sleep, vocalization, the characteristic posi- 
tions they assume, amounts and patterns of activity, eating patterns, and 
thresholds of sensitivity and acuity to various sensory stimuli all differ 
in a variety of ways, from one infant to another. One newborn infant 
may require feeding every 2% to 3 hours, while another infant may 
easily wait for 4 hours. Differences in irritability and response to external 
stimuli are often very marked. One infant may be highly irritable and 
awaken and react with fretfulness to the slightest touch or light. Another 
infant may sleep undisturbed by a slight touch and rouse only momen- 
tarily to a light. These reactions indicate temperamental differences 
which will influence these individuals' adjustments all through life. Even 
at birth one can get a preview of the individual's body build. The infant 
may have small hands and feet, short neck and rounded body. He may 
be small-boned and tend toward a thin structure, or he may be a sturdy 
muscular type. Infants in the same family may differ, even fraternal 
twins. One twin may awaken frequently at night and have episodes of 
colic while the other sleeps peacefully. Everyone is familiar with the 
terms "contented baby" and "fussy baby." 

As infants grow older, more and more differences can be seen. 
The ages at which teeth appear, the child first stands, takes his first 
steps, and speaks his first words may vary as much as six or eight months 
from one child to another. One infant may be advanced in one aspect 
of development, such as creeping, standing, and walking, but be 
slower in another area of development, such as speech. At the neonatal 
stage and later, baby girls are usually a little further advanced than 
boys in various aspects of development. Their ossification is on a higher 
level; locomotion, teething, and progress in vocalization all occur 
earlier. The rate of mortality is also lower for both premature and 
full-term girls. Female babies also show more resistance to infection, 
colds, and other noxious influences. 


1. When should one expect birth, and what are the main signs indicating its 

2. Why should expectant mothers consider the hospital an advantageous place for 

The Human at Birth 91 

3. What are the more frequent difiBculties in an infant's early postnatal adjust- 
ment? Explain. 

4. Describe what happens to physical development during the first two weeks 
of life. 

5. List kinds of behavior of which the neonate is soon capable. Indicate their 

6. Explain prematurity and its effects on postnatal adjustment. 

7. Discuss individual diflFerences at the neonatal stage, including differences be- 
tween boys and girls. 

8. Why should maternal training in baby care be advocated? Does this apply to 
all mothers? 


1. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Gesell, Arnold. Infant Development: The Embryology of Early Human Behavior. 
New York: Harper, 1952. A careful physiological and medical study of early develop- 
ment and behavior organizing factors. 

2. Rand, Winifred, et al. Growth and Development of the Young Child. (5th ed.) 
Chap. 3. Philadelphia: Saunders, 1953. Various aspects of pregnancy and obstetrical 
period are presented in detail. 

n. Specific References 

3. Dennis, Wayne. A Description and Classification of the Reponses of the New- 
bom. Psychol. Bull, 1934, 31, 5-22. 

4. Escalona, S. Feeding Disturbances in Very Young Children. Amer. J. Orthopsy- 
chiat., 1945, 15, 76-80. 

5. Gesell, A., and C. Amatruda. Developmental Diagnosis. (2d ed.) New York: 
Harper, 1947. 

6. Goodfriend, M. J., et al. The Effects of Maternal Narcotic Addiction on the 
Newborn, Amer. J. Ohstetr. Gynec., 1956, 71, 29-35. 

7. Illingworth, R. S. Common DifiBculties in Infant Feeding. Brit. Med. J., 1949, 

2, 1077-1081. 

8. Kunstadter, R. H., et al. Narcotic Withdrawal Symptoms in Newborn Infants. 
/. Amer. Med. Assoc, 1958, 168, 1008-1010. 

9. Mussen, Paul H., and John J. Conger. Child Development and Personality. New 
York: Harper, 1956. 

10. Odenwald, Robert P. Your Child's World from Infancy through Adolescence. 
New York: Random House, 1958. 

11. Pratt, K. C. The Neonate. In L. Carmichael (Ed.), Manual of Child Psy- 
chology. Pp. 215-291. New York: Wiley, 1954. 

12. Ross, S., et al. Sucking Behavior: A Review of the Literature. /. Genet. 
Psychol, 1957, 91, 63-81. 

13. Tredgold, A. F., and K. Soddy. A Textbook of Mental Deficiency. (9th ed.) 
Baltimore: WilHams & Wilkins, 1956. 

14. Van Blarcom, Carolyn C, and Erna Ziegel. Obstetrical Nursing. New York: 
Macmillan, 1957. 

15. Vital Statistics of the United States: 1956. Vol. I. 1958. 

16. Zabriskie, Louise, and Nicholson J. Eastman. Nurse's Handbook of Obstetrics. 
Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1948. 

92 Prenatal Growth and Birth 


Biography of the Unborn (16 min) Encyclopaedia Britannica Films, 1956. Develop- 
mental events from conception to birth are explained. 

Heredity and Family Environment (9 min) McGraw-Hill, 1955. The basic roles of 
heredity and environment are explained and illustrated by picturing their efiFects 
on 1 individual. 

Heredity and Prenatal Development (21 min) McGraw-Hill, 1950. Step-by-step 
presentation of cellular growth, transmittance of inheritance to offspring, embryonic 
and fetal differentiation, and newborn's activity. 

Human Heredity (18 min, color). Churchill- Wexler, 1956. The roles of heredity 
and culture in determining the traits and characteristics of human beings are ex- 
plained and illustrated by means of animated sequences. 




ALTHOUGH autogenous developments during infancy are preconditioned 
by intra-uterine growth, there takes place much diflFerential and be- 
havior organization aflFected by internal environment and parental ap- 
proach which will set a pattern and continue to affect later phases of 

Throughout this period, rapid growth encompasses physical, motor, 
perceptual, emotional, speech, and intellectual factors. Early infancy is 
marked by gains in control over large muscle groups and various parts of 
the body; later infancy is characterized by the acquisition of locomotive 
and speaking facilities which serve as communicators of personality quali- 
ties and traits. Expanding self-awareness and ego formation are usually 
accompanied by a marked resistance to parental control and strivings for 
autonomy. Before the third year begins, foundations of a growth pattern 
are laid for further development in most aspects of human self-realization. 



Early Infancy 

THIS FIRST major stage of infancy extends from the time when the infant 
begins to make good adjustments to the tasks of satisfying his biological 
needs to the time when he takes his first steps independently and begins 
to miderstand and use speech as a means of communication. For the 
majority of children, this happens at the thirteen- to fifteen-month level; 
for some, later or before. Throughout this stage, the developing indi- 
vidual depends almost wholly upon parentstl care and gratification of 


Infancy is marked by rapid physiological, sensory, perceptual, and 
motor developments and by a considerable increase in weight and height. 
The control over large muscle pairs and various parts of the organism 
is gradually advanced. Since muscle control is governed by cephalo- 
caudal sequence, the balance of head movements is established before 
trunk and extremities reach the same level of development. Crawling 
movements may produce some motion sidewise or backwards atjom-iix 
fiv^ ^months: . creeping and standing are usually established at nine tn feft-' 
jBenths. At six or seven months, the baby is able to grasp, hold, manipu- 
late, and put into tiis moutE°°small objects. He best observes objects and 
persons in motion, and such perception may be lost when they cease to 
move. The span of attention gradually lengthens. Motor activities help 
the baby partially to satisfy his curiosity and partially to enhance rising 
intellectual and social interests, the advancement of which is a major 
characteristic of the later phase of infancy. 

Charlotte Buhler's exploration [1] of routine behavior and daily cycles 
during the first year of life is vividly illustrated by an analytic cinema 


96 Infancy 

study of a single infant from the 15th to the 235th day of age in his home 
environment by A. Gesell and H. M. Halverson [7]. It depicts and inter- 
prets his total behavior at this age. A gradual and progressive trend in 
growth from week to week was hypothesized and shown. 

Prime experiences form a basis for conditioned responses to persons, 
objects, and situations which earlier failed to produce emotional changes. 
One example of this emotional change is crying. By the time an infant 
is six months or older, crying will often be caused by external irritations, 
such as excessive or abrupt handling of the baby, or by physical re- 
straints; also by psychological causes, such as a desire for attention or a 
fear of something. In some cases, crying may have decreased at this stage 
to mere fussing or vocalizing. Previously the small infant usually cried 
because of an internal stimulus or need, such as discomfort or pain 
within the digestive system, and as much as two or three hours of the 
day was spent crying. 

Some specific emotions can be seen early in life. One is anger, which 
may be provoked in some infants at as early an age as two or three weeks. 

Figure 8-1. Typical Day Cycles 

Age: 1 month 

Age; 1 year 









(Charlotte Buhler. The First Year of Life. 
1930. By permission.) 





Pp. 144-148. New York: Day, 

Early Infancy 97 

A. T. Jersild relates experiments with infants under two weeks of age in 
whom external irritations were produced and whose reactions were then 
observed [6, pp. 16-17]. The experimenters held the babies' noses and 
restrained the babies' arms. Most of the babies were nonresistant when 
their arms were restrained, but a few babies gave evidence of rage or 
resistance. When the babies' noses were pinched for five to fifteen sec- 
onds so as to prevent breathing, the most frequent reaction was an 
attempt to withdraw by drawing the head back and arching the spine. 
There were practically no attempts to defend themselves by waving their 
arms nor any demonstrations of anger. 

After a few weeks of life, annoyances caused by bathing and dressing 
arouse anger and crying in the infant. As the baby grows older, he meets 
with further occasions of frustration, and he is able to comprehend some 
aspects of situations, both of which may contribute to more frequent 
occurrences of anger. By the time the infant is nine months old, 
he becomes angered by his own ineptitude when he cannot perform 
a certain task which he desires to accomplish. An older baby may suc- 
ceed in pulling himself to a standing position and then become angered 
and cry when he does not know how to get back to a sitting position. 
A young baby expresses his anger in a generalized way, as by throwing 
things or just crying and kicking; but as his comprehension develops, 
his anger is directed at whatever object he perceives as the source of 
his annoyance. 

Fear is an emotion experienced less often than anger by babies be- 
cause those incidents which cause fear occur less frequently than do the 
daily annoyances which incite anger. Generally, fear is caused by those 
stimuli which startle the baby. Sudden noises, strange objects or persons, 
objects associated with pain, or sudden removal of support may arouse 
the emotion of fear, depending somewhat upon the child's compre- 
hension of the situation. A baby expresses fear by crying, withdrawal, 
or seeking refuge in the arms of his mother. Fear is learned, often by 
conditioning. J. B. Watson and R. Raynor [8] give an excellent example 
of this fact in an experiment in which a baby was presented with a 
furry animal. The baby had no fear of the animal, but when the baby 
reached for it, the experimenter made a loud noise behind the baby. 
This action was repeated several times, and each time the baby gave 
greater signs of fear. It was further observed that the fear was trans- 
ferred to other furry objects. 


Gradually, as postnatal maturation takes place, the sensory experience 
becomes more meaningful and the sensory data are more adequately 

98 Infancy 

translated into perceptual apprehension, leading to preference for activi- 
ties and experiences which more directly serve biological or social ends. 
As the experiential memory increases, apperceptual evaluation takes 
place and the infant recognizes foods by color and smell. Distinct reac- 
tion may also be shown to persons in the family. Likes and dislikes show 
greater consistency, and may be seen as laying the foundation for the 
development of attitudes. Observations and retention of what has been 
perceived increases. Learning contributes to experiential foundations for 
further differential responsiveness. The autogenous development is more 
and more supplemented by exposure to learning experiences. At approxi- 
mately ten months of age, the infant has a repertoire of activities, sounds, 
and other self-expressive devices which enables him to imitate others 
successfully. Imitation of other human individuals, especially of the 
mother and father and of older siblings, is a dynamic impetus for further 
development of language, emotions, and interests. It lays the foundation 
for other peculiarly human activities. With the progress of this stage of 
development, the sensorimotor coordination improves, and the newly 
established motor patterns serve the purpose of a thorough exploration of 
close environment. This exploration lays a foundation for contact and ^ 
acquaintance with the more distant environmental factors. ■ 

During this phase, the infant begins to understand various nonverbal 
forms of communication. Although he cannot speak or apprehend the 
meaning of the oral self-expression of others, he perceives and interprets 
many occurrences around him. He learns to attach some meaning to 
gestures, tones of verbalization, and the movements adults exhibit. The 
infant's apperceptive function is naturally limited in accuracy and per- 
spective, and there is a methodological difficulty in appraising the partic- 
ular meanings and inferences of his eager observation. He senses his own 
needs and sees his mother as a chief component of his experience. If the 
mother shows considerable difficulty in recognizing some of the baby's 
expressions and reactions, it may be inferred that the baby has as much 
or more difficulty in understanding her responses. The infant's capacity 
to learn helps him to make various applications of action after the 
first few months of life. Eliciting his mother's responsiveness to his needs 
by means of his vocalization is one of the key areas of application. When 
he is on his mother's shoulder, crying disappears and many discomforts 
become tolerable to the baby. Crying for attention is often noticed 
before the infant reaches six months of age, sometimes as early as the 
two-month level. 


Emotional growth during this phase of life is rapid and manifold. Its 
initiation is due to maturation and environmental conditioning. As the 


Early Infancy 99 

infant begins to understand the meaning of things and relationships more 
clearly, he will be able to react with emotional tone proportional to his 
depth of perception. Diffuse excitement and mass motion in response to 
any strong stimulation, which is present at the neonatal level, now differ- 
entiates into a variety of affective experiences and behavior patterns. 
The vital feelings, such as anger, rage, fear, delight, and affection, arise 
in the early months of life and assume important self-expressive and 
self-assertive roles. 

Pleasant emotions may be seen in babies, two of which are satisfaction 
and delight. In the small baby, satisfaction is the result of physical con- 
tentment. As the baby grows older, he is pleased by tickling or being 
talked to or played with by another person. The older baby derives 
great joy and delight when he accomplishes a difficult task, such as 
turning over, raising himself to a standing position, or climbing up a 
piece of furniture. The smaller baby expresses his joy by cooing or 
smiling, while the older baby laughs out loud. Great joy and delight 
may also be accomplished by kicking, running, and jumping. 

Affection is another of the pleasant emotions, and it can be seen before 
the eleventh month of life. At this time the baby gazes at another person's 
face, kicks, smiles, and waves his arms, and otherwise shows that he is 
not indifferent to those whom he loves. From about the twelfth month on, 
the baby becomes more partial in giving his affection. Members of his 
family are the foremost objects of his love, though he may quickly make 
up to strangers after he becomes accustomed to them. At about this age 
the baby will stretch his arms toward the loved one and will pat and 
play with the loved one's face. Inanimate objects may also be objects 
of the baby's affection. The child's affections grow as he comes in contact 
with more people who are good to him. One important principle of the 
development of affection is that the baby or person must be loved in 
order to learn to love. Lack of affection causes a baby or child to with- 
draw into himself; too much affection, "smothering," may lead the child 
to become self-centered. It is believed that a baby learns to love others 
before he learns self-love [4, pp. 248-252]. 

Many new emotional responses are learned through imitation of other 
children and adults, especially during the latter part of infancy. The 
mother's fear in meeting a stranger or reacting to a storm are situations 
not merely observed by the infant but also absorbed by him. Generally 
the infant exhibits a strong tendency to react affectively in expressing his 
needs and desires. Affective responses also accompany many ti'ivial dep- 
rivations, disappointments, and signs of his own ineptitude. Muscular 
contractions and crying are the usual responses to intense stimulus and 

A baby's needs become progressively more numerous and com- 
plicated as he develops physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally. 


100 Infancy 

As the baby develops, he needs opportunities to use his new skills. 
The simple needs of infancy include food, clothes, and ajffection, but 
the baby soon requires more than these essentials. He needs oppor- 
tunities to explore new objects, to test his own abilities, and to express 
himself. The baby's social needs are fulfilled in the family circle where he 
makes his first contacts with other human beings. Here he receives en- 
couragement and stimulus for self-expression. When the baby has 
opportunities to grow and use his abilities as an individual, he achieves 
a security which becomes the basis for further development and 


Speech is a capital ability of paramount importance involving many 
signs and symbols learned through perceptual observation and practice. 
Language is the chief vehicle by means of which man communicates his 
needs, ideas, feelings, and desires to other individuals. Barring infrequent 
exceptional cases, the neonate possesses all the equipment and potentials 
needed for the gradual acquisition of the various forms of language and 
speech communication. 

During the first four months of life, vocalization consists of crying and 
sounds caused by the spontaneous movements involving the vocal mech- 
anism. On the average during the fifth month, the infant attains some 
voluntary control over the flow of air through the vocal cords and begins 
to produce "explosive sounds." As soon as his control is improved and 
rhythm is introduced, this form of vocalization is referred to as babbling, 
or lalling. Like crying, babbling is a preliminary to speech and is exten- 
sively practiced from six to ten months of age. The infant seems to derive 
much delight and pleasure from listening to his own sounds, the reper- 
toire of which is gradually expanded until at about the one-year level 
baby talk is achieved. Babbling, as well as baby talk, is produced 
through combinations of vowels with consonants, such as "mah," *T)ah," 
"hah," "ugh," etc. Baby talk implies a certain variety of these, including 
a clearer duplication and indistinct imitation of adult articulated sounds 
resembling certain words and phrases. A satisfactory imitation of words 
produced by others is a major step toward speech. Two other major steps 
consist of the understanding of gestures and the association between 
the articulated sound and its meaning. Some progress in both steps is 
usually observed during the late part of this stage beginning with the 
eight-month level. 

At present, it is generally agreed that the infant responds and under- 
stands gestures long before he is able to comprehend words. Pantomimes 
and various expressive movements are often accompanied by vocal 

Early Infancy 101 

expressions and supplement them. The infant points to objects long 
before he can ask for them. Only during the years of preschool childhood 
does the individual learn to combine words into complete and meaning- 
ful sentences. The need for expressive movement is then progressively 
reduced, but it can never be fully abandoned. It remains as a modifier 
which amplifies communication. 

Speech organs mature and become ready to function at approximately 
the one-year level. Hence, many speech developments are initiated early 
in the second year. 

Language communication, such as crying, and movements of the eyes, 
face, and hands precede the qualifiable steps of socialization when some 
relationship or adjustment to others beyond the parental dependence of 
the neonate is attempted. At the two-month level, the baby turns his 
head in the direction of a human voice and shows relaxation when soft 
music is played. At the three-month level, the infant responds with a 
smile to the smiling mother, and he may cry in order to secure human 
attention. At the eight- to ten-month level, the infant makes another 
distinct step in relating himself to others: he reacts appropriately to 
friendly, affectionate, angry, or scolding expressions. At this age he rec- 
ognizes familiar persons and welcomes their approach; he exhibits signs 
of fear and eventually cries when strange individuals approach or watch 
him closely. Such behavior patterns offer much joy to parents, who are 
frequently surprised with new modes of reaction. 


A playful attitude and curiosity mark the infant's approach to reality 
in most of its aspects. As the infant grows and matures, there is a con- 
stant increase of attempts to handle toys — in fact, to handle any objects 
in his immediate environment, including parts of his body. From the age 
of four months on, it is good for the infant to be provided with rattles 
and celluloid animals, and later with some household articles that are 
sufficiently solid, large, and bright not to be swallowed. These train the 
child's senses and initiate and promote his insight into the fundamental 
laws of nature. 

With progress in developing sensorimotor coordination, understanding, 
and imagination, simple forms of object manipulation become more 
complex and goal-related. Regularities in manipulation and patterns of 
activity begin to appear toward the end of this phase and set the stage 
for advancement in the infant's multidimensional approach to reality 
factors. At the ten-month level, the baby makes the important observa- 
tion that objects fall down and produce noise. For some time he may 
eagerly enjoy this discovery by letting toys, spoons, and foods fall. 

102 Infancy 


During this early phase of hfe, most of the homeostatic mechanisms 
begin to increase in efficiency. This tends to decrease their original 
lability and fluctuation. Trivial variations in temperature, diet, or other 
external conditions begin to disturb less the basal metabolic rate, hydra- 
tion, or the rate of heart beat. Throughout infancy the somatic equilib- 
rium continues to show substantial variation. The same applies to diet. 
An infant's appetite may vary greatly from meal to meal. However, the 
healthy infant is likely to compensate for nourishment loss at another 

The first stage of infancy is noted for various disturbances in health and 
difficulties in adjustment. The latter often relate to parents, especially 
to those who have not received some kind of child-care instruction. Some 
parents are not emotionally ready to change their life and organize their 
time for efficient infant care. A mother who is tense and anxious while 
feeding her baby can transmit this emotional disturbance to the baby, 
who in some manner seems to sense his mother's uneasiness and also 
becomes tense. This tension may cause the baby to have digestive dis- 
turbances so that at times he may cry excessively and even refuse to eat. 
Sensitivity to colds and frequent fever reactions may often take serious 
forms and lead to eczema, earaches, pneumonia, prolonged vomiting, 
diarrhea, or gastritis. Rapid physiological development, excessive crying, 
and unsatisfactory care may result in various skin rashes. Heat and 
allergy rashes are frequent at this phase of life. 

Nutrition is an aspect of health that is still misunderstood by some 
parents. If the baby is above standard weight, the parents conclude 
that he is healthy, whereas in reality he may be in need of such nutritive 
materials as iron and vitamins. It is frequently the overweight babies 
who succumb to upper respiratory infection. In the United States and 
other countries, public health departments do much to protect citizens 
against unsanitary food and water, which could be the source of various 

Vaccinations, especially for smallpox, diphtheria, whooping cough, 
poliomyelitis, and tetanus, are usually given to babies after they are three 
months old. Booster doses to continue protection against these diseases 
may begin at three years of age. These vaccines have done much to 
protect babies and young children from the more serious communicable 
diseases. When a baby or child has been exposed to one of the other 
communicable (iiseases and the physician fears the disease may be par- 
ticularly harmful to the child, he may administer gamma globulin, 
which will give the child temporary protection and either prevent the 
disease altogether or lessen its severity. 

Early Infancy 103 

During the baby stage of life, body temperature is unstable and the 
baby's temperature may rise as high as 105 or 106 degrees when he has 
an infection. This is often seen when the baby has upper respiratory 
infection. Hence, it is important for the mother to know how to take the 
baby's temperature and how to get the baby's temperature down. Spong- 
ing the baby's body with tepid or lukewarm water, a limb at a time, is 
recommended in order to maintain the baby's temperature under 104 
degrees until it is possible to contact a doctor and he arrives. It is espe- 
cially important to know how to control temperatures because high tem- 
peratures may cause convulsions and even brain damage. Babies are 
especially susceptible to infection, and should be protected from cold 
drafts. Overdressing or overheating the baby can be just as bad as not 
dressing the baby warmly enough. Babies should be dressed according 
to the temperature of the environment. 

Since approximately ten months of age is the time when creeping or 
standing is established, there should be some anticipation of possible 
baby motions in order to protect the infant from minor as well as major 
injuries. Thus the older baby needs even more supervision because he 
is now capable of creating dangers for himself. The need for protection 
continues throughout infancy and childhood although the type and 
amount will vary. 


1. How can growth during the phase of early infancy be characterized? 

2. What are the emotional and social responses which emerge during this stage 
of life? 

3. Describe cooing, babbling, and baby talk and explain the differences among 

4. Define play and indicate its role at this stage of development. 

5. What marks the termination of this stage? Do other sources distinguish this 
level of matiuity from the preceding and following ones? 

6. What do parents have to exhibit and provide during this phase for stimulation 
of developmental potentialities? 

7. Explain what a mother has to do when her baby shows signs of temperature. 

8. What can parents do to protect infants from hurts in the latter part of this 
stage of development? 


I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Buhler, Charlotte. The First Year of Life. New York: John Day, 1930. An excel- 
lent source of information concerning language reactions, motor and mental develop- 
ments, and relationships at the earHest stages of postnatal life, including tests. 

2. Gesell, Arnold. Infant Development: The Embryology of Early Human Be- 
havior. New York: Harper, 1952. See annotation on p. 91. 

104 Infancy 

3. GriflBths, Ruth. The Abilities of Babies: A Study of Mental Measurement. New 
York: McGraw-Hill, 1954. A source on infant motor and intellectual developments 
and their appraisal. 

4. Hurlock, Elizabeth B, Child Development. (3rd ed.) Chaps. 3 and 7. New 
York: McGraw-Hill, 1956. Discusses the process of birth, the period of the newborn, 
aspects of growth, including physical and motor developments, vocaHzation, and the 
beginnings of personality. 

5. Pratt, K. C. The Neonate, in L. Carmichael (Ed.), Manual of Child Psychology. 
Chap. 4. New York: Wiley, 1954. A detailed exposition of neonatal behavior and 
development in most of its aspects. 

6. Jersild, Arthur T. Child Pstjchology. (5th ed.) Englewood Chffs, N.J.: Prentice- 
Hall, 1960. Presents a detailed analysis of infancy, including sexual development, 
infant management, and learning. 

II. Specific References 

7. Gesell, Arnold, and H. M. Halverson. The Daily Maturation of Infant Behavior: 
A Cinema Study of Postures, Movements, and Laterahty. /. genet. Psychol., 1942, 
61, 3-32. 

8. Watson, John B., and R. Raynor. Conditioned Emotional Reactions. /. exp. 
Psychol, 1920; 3, 1-4. 



Late Infancy 

THE LATER Stage of infancy, from approximately fifteen months to two 
and a half years of age, is marked by a considerable expansion of the 
infant's environment, spearheaded by increases of locomotion, speech, 
and understanding of fundamental relationships. During this phase, 
many additional controls over bodily functions and environmental factors 
are attained. -5^ Gain in control decreases infantile helplessness. Newly 
acquired abilities also play a major role in assisting the development of 
individual initiative, assertiveness, and orientation. Awareness of individ- 
uality is, later in this stage, manifested by expressions of self-reference. 
Many features of childhood emerge and gradually overshadow some baby 
'characteristics. Toward the end of this phase, the infant may look much 
like a child, yet his maturity level and personality organization remain 
infantile, and will be reorganized during the course of the third year. 


Physiological growth slows down shghtly as compared with the pre- 
ivious stage, yet it is still rapid. If during the first year the average infant 
gained from 14 to 16 pounds in weight and added 9 to 10 inches in 
height, the second year will bring an approximate increase of merely 
5^ pounds and 4% inches [11]. A proportionate increase of weight and 
height is a major index of both development and health. The infant 
continues to remain susceptible to a variety of psychosomatic disturb- 
ances, including fever and skin irritations. At the end of infancy, the 
bodily proportions are still far removed from the adult relationships of 
the various parts of the body. The body structure is marked by an ex- 
tremely large head since the brain weight exceeds 75 per cent of its adult 


106 Infancy 

weight, while the lower extremities are least advanced. The lowering 
structural change at this phase permits the infant to make a fast advance 
in the organization of new behavior traits and the exhibition of many 
human qualities and abilities. Thus, the neuromuscular system matures 
and lays the foundation for completion of the infant's sensorimotor 
development and coordination in its phylogenic aspects. Running, jump- 
ing, climbing, turning, and balancing are rapidly advanced during the 
second year. From now on, facility and speed in performing various 
motor and play skills will depend chiefly on perceptual maturation and 
practice. Perceptual development is an internal and mental growth 
which depends on the adequate functioning of all human senses, espe- 
cially the distance senses. Perception is a process of cognitive interpreta- 
tion by inferring sensory data's meaning and value to the individual as a 


Interest in and partial understanding of pictures and picture booklets 
now emerge and develop at a rapid rate. Whenever booklets are avail- 
able, the infant makes frequent attempts to turn their pages and seems 
to enjoy their contents. Many delightful experiences result as he makes 
association between pictures and his previous observations of his toys 
and TV. The first spurt of imaginative growth occurs at the mid-phase. 
The qualities and activities of living and of individuals are vividly apper- 
ceived and readily attributed to the inanimate representations of reality. 
Television programs designed for children, where birds, dogs, and other 
animals act as human creatures, appeal to infants at this stage and serve 
as stimuli for imitational representations. Nowadays much is learned at 
this stage that in earlier generations was acquired at a much later age. 
Through imitation the child assimilates language, social, and other forms 
of complex human self-expression, as presented through various media 
of present day communication. 

Recently, in her thorough study of infant abilities, Ruth Griffiths [6] 
developed and applied intelligence tests for babies. The study gives 
evidence that despite some difficulties in testing the very young, the 
diagnostic appraisal of mental abilities can be satisfactorily performed 
and the results are useful as a basis for differential treatment of excep- 
tional children. The earlier-constructed Buhler-Hetzer tests [3] and the 
Cattell Infant Intelligence Scale, a downward extension of the Stanford- 
Binet to include subjects as young as three months of age, may also 
be used by experienced examiners for the purpose of appraising various 
neuromuscular, perceptual, and intellectual abilities in their earliesi 
stages of development. All infancy is included in GeselFs Developments 

Late Infancy 107 

Schedules [5] based on normative summaries of motor, adaptive, lan- 
guage, and personal-social behavior. 

At this stage, intelligent behavior is largely limited to sensorimotor 
coordinating functions. The infant does not know at first how to separate 
the efiFects of his own actions from the qualities of other objects or per- 
sons. He lives in a world without permanent objects and without aware- 
ness of the self. His behavior organization is prelogical [9]. Gradual 
appearance of symbolic representation takes place especially toward the 
end of this phase. A search for names and identity commences. 


Throughout this phase, the infant eagerly engages in the process of 
exploring and becoming familiar with his own environment in many of 
its aspects and vicissitudes. Infants make repeated efforts to get any- 
where and everywhere, in and out, up and down. They make use of 
chairs and other household furniture in order to climb up and reach 
upper sections of their homes. All drawers, boxes, cans, and bottles are, 
whenever possible, opened and their contents examined. Eagerness to 
manipulate external objects in all known ways becomes more pronounced 
as the stage advances. All household tools and objects, toys, and paper 
are played with. Considerable regularity and pattern of acti\dty becomes 
obvious. Through pushing, pulling, sucking, throwing, and banging, the 
infant stimulates his senses, engages his muscles, and as a result derives 
much enjoyment, fun, and surprise. He has a tendency to keep a variety 
of objects with which he comes in contact in his possession, and uses 
them for old and new activities for which his ingenuity is great indeed. 
[Neighborhood exploration may also be advanced to a significant extent. 

By means of locomotion the infant also slowly increases his estimation 
of distance and depth. For example, he readily observes a change of 
line or color, but he needs an accumulation of experience in order to 
relate these to distance. Also he must learn that in many instances a 
surface continues unchanged although a color or line alters. The many 
difficulties young children have in perceiving depth on the basis of minor 
changes in line, shading, and object interposition are puzzling to adults 
since perception of distance and depth is so habitual and seemingly 
natural to them. ^ 

' At this stage, the infant engages in play with other children, if they 
are ready to contribute the lion's share of cooperation, and he may learn 
;l:o enjoy infants of his own age, especially when such contacts are fre- 
quent. Parallel play and independence in play activity may be seen as 
the first sign of a growing desire for autonomy and increased self- 
3xpressiveness in accordance with the infant's own needs and desires. 

108 Infancy 

The variety of explorative activities in which he engages gives the im- 
pression that the age of toddlerhood is well advanced and his reservoir 
of knowledge greatly enriched. 


Entrance into the speech level coincides with the beginning of the 
second stage of infancy. To partially or completely articulated sounds, 
the child now attaches either individual or common meanings. The infant 
first learns several common nouns, often the names of a few people and 
things; then several verbs are added. Later on he occasionally injects 
simple adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, and much later 
personal pronouns and articles. The single-word sentence sometimes 
is well established before the baby is one and a half years of age. At 
this age, phrases and brief sentences are often introduced. Infant speech 
is self-centered, and is chiefly used to communicate more fully his own 
needs and desires. In view of the fact that language and speech are 
frequently used interchangeably though denoting distinct concepts, it 
seems well to explain each term and to illustrate the difference between 
these two major concepts. First, not all sounds made by the human 
individual may be classified as speech. Vocalizations, in the form of 
cries and explosive and babbling sounds, and the use of pantomimes 
form preliminaries to speech [7, pp. 171-172]. 

Two basic criteria should be applied to determine whether or not 
the infant at this stage is capable of speech: (1) the level of articula- 
tion, and (2) the association of specific meaning with the articulated 
sound. Articulation consists in interrupting and modifying the sound 
waves as they pass through the throat, larynx and pharynx cavities, 
mouth, and nose by intricate movements of the vocal cords, tongue, soft 
palate, teeth, and lips. Comprehensive pronunciation involves a fine 
coordination, precise timing, and delicate interaction of these and other 
organs forming the so-called speech mechanism. It is, therefore, not 
surprising that speech difficulties are frequent at diis stage, when basic 
speech developments take place. 

Though baby talk may be understood by parents or others who are 
in constant contact with the infant, it usually does not meet both criteria.. 
Thus, if the baby says "Mama" to every woman, or his association to 
"toy" is general, the specific sound-object association has not as yet 
taken place. The factual association of articulated sound with object or 
person is fundamentally different from other forms of communication 
shared with certain other mammals. The beginnings of the true speech 
level are subtle and can be readily misinterpreted by both parents and 
outside observers, including those who are aware of the main criteria.! 

Late Infancy 109 

The infant does not readily respond to adults in terms of their requests. 
This makes it diflBcult to see whether or not he possesses certain abilities. 
In the late part of this phase, the naming stage is usually introduced. 
It is marked by the frequent question, "What's that?" The infant begins 
to realize that various objects and persons have names, and he wants 
to know them in order to promote his conceptual familiarity with them. 
As J. Piaget often points out, this represents the first major step in a 
realistic approach to various environmental factors [9]. 


The late phase of infancy is marked by new developments and ap- 
proaches as the infant relates himself to the home environment. Certain 
tasks may be distinguished. 

1. Taking solids. Early opportunities to get some solids in small quan- 
tities and a gradual increase in their variety may help the infant to de- 
velop enjoyment for new textures and tastes. Otherwise, some children 
will tend to restrict their repertoire of foods to such a degree that a 
balanced diet may become an impossibility. An increasingly competent 
use of chair, cup, spoon, and dishes may be expected as the phase ad- 
vances, provided the infant has ample opportunity to learn. 

2. Physical control. Improving coordination and neuromuscular con- 
trol plays an important part in the child's adjustment since it promotes 
confidence in handling himself in a variety of home situations. A well- 
furnished home and age-related play materials provide opportunities 
for eye-hand and hand-foot coordination. Experimentation with climb- 
ing, walking, running, and dancing plays a part in this. Now the infant 
has to advance his control over the fine muscle groups. 

3. Understanding communication. Learning to interpret and use 
speech communication is a main way toward self-expression and adjust- 
ment to other people. It is good for the child if parents take pains to 
use simple words and phrases distinctly. A correct interpretation of 
basic concepts, such as "Yes" and "No," "Come" and "Go," and "Take" 
and "Give," helps the infant greatly in recognizing the do's and don't's 
of his environment. It represents the first steps toward further levels of 
discrimination and personal use of these and related concepts. 

4. Learning toilet control. Acquirement of toilet control is a charac- 
teristic task of late infancy. Understanding of basic concepts and ges- 
tures facilitates cooperation in terms of want, procedure, and place. 
Neuromuscular readiness and favorable emotional ties with the mother 
are key factors in toilet- training success. While only some infants at this 
phase resist bowel-movement regulations, complete sphincter control is 
frequently attained during the fourth year of life. 

110 Infancy 

5. Promoting self-assertion. Self-awareness is a task pertaining more 
to preschool years than to late infancy. It begins with a discovery of one's 
individuality with its likes and dislikes, and preferences and relation- 
ships with parents, siblings, and others. Acquiring proper forms of self- 
assertion is important in fostering the concept of the rights of the in- 
dividual. Parents, through careful guidance, can help the child attain 
mastery over obstacles in a more efficient manner while avoiding any 
dominance over the child. 


Manifold emotional developments are conditioned by maturation and 
learning experiences during this stage of infancy. The affective repertoire 
at the middle of this stage usually consists of experiences and behaviors 
indicating the existence of various sensory feelings, curiosity, excite- 
ment, and several types of fear reaction; and the showing of delight and 
affection, tension and distress, pleasure, laughter and relaxation, sym- 
pathy and compassion, joyfulness and disgust, anger and destructiveness, 
envy and jealousy, and elation and sorrow, as well as a few unqualifiable 
reactions. Early in the third year, signs of ability to display emotions 
of self-might and self-worth, such as feelings of inadequacy and con- 
flict, of self-confidence, pride, and admiration, increase. 

At this stage, the affective and emotional life is spontaneous and 
simple. Unless punishment was excessively used to inhibit emotional 
behavior, few if any attempts are made to control or to restrain emo- 
tional response. The emergence of an emotional reaction depends 
largely upon the infant's internal and environmental conditions. Parental 
direction and suppression of his self-initiative in exhibiting emotions 
are felt as the stage advances. If the infant is not hungry or thirsty or 
sleepy or hurt, most of his reactions are likely to be characterized by 
pleasantness and easiness; otherwise tension, anger, or temper outbursts 
are likely to occur for even very trivial reasons. All kinds of restriction 
in his tours of exploration call forth heightened emotional responses. 
Generally, emotional tension or disturbances are indicated by restless- 
ness, by nervous mannerisms, such as thumb sucking, rubbing the head, 
chest, or genitals, frequent micturition, fidgeting, and excessive crying, 
by destructive behavior directed toward toys and other objects, and by 
withdrawal and regression to less mature behavior. The infant con- 
tinues to need protection against various mishaps which cannot be fully 
anticipated by him. Yet his needs for exploration and accomplishment 
grow since these are important modes of learning and have to be re- 
spected by parents. Exploration often leads to the development of new 
interests and in this way promotes personality development of the in- 

Late Infancy 111 

fant. Occasionally he cries at night and when ill. He continues to need 
the close attention of parents, especially when not feeling well. His 
habits pertaining to daily routine are fluid and not well established. 
Emotional support and parental approval are among the most intensified 
needs of this age. 


In the late part of this stage, the infant exhibits many signs of his self- 
consciousness and of personal choice. He readily makes up his own mind 
and takes initiative in planning play, locating desired food, and other 
activities. Toward the end of this phase, his imitational activities are 
restricted, and parental corrections are objected to vigorously. Not in- 
frequently parents fail to understand the changing personality dynamics 
due to maturation and emergence of self, and, as a result, interfere with 
legitimate modes of self-initiative, learning, and strivings for autonomy. 
Adults may continue using suggestion, and they have a duty to protect 
the infant by stopping activities that may incur infections or injury, yet 
they also have to respect the child as an individual who has a mind, will, 
and some reason of his own. In addition to having his infantile individ- 
uality, he is now a child in at least some of his developments and ac- 


1. What makes the expansion of environmental exploration possible? Under what 
conditions may neighborhood investigation begin? 

2. Indicate the characteristic changes in physiological growth. 

3. What are the factors contributing to behavior organization? Explain the parental 
role in this regard. 

4. What characteristic language developments occur when the infant enters the 
|speech level? 

5. Name the criteria of speech and explain what processes and controls constitute 

6. Select two different emotions and illustrate their manifestations at this stage 
of infancy. 

7. What are the outstanding signs of self-awareness? Describe infant behavior 
with this reference in mind. 

8. In what ways does the infant now remind us of a child? Identify some signs 
indicating the termination of infancy. 


[. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Jenkins, Gladys G., et al. These Are Your Children. (Expanded ed.) Chap. 3. 
fphicago: Scott, Foresman, 1953. Late infancy discussed and vividly illustrated as an 
jage of toddlerhood. 

112 Infancy 

2. Jersild, A. T. Child Psychology. Chap. 4. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 
1954. Everyday activities and everyday care, including discipline and sexual develop- 
ment, are presented in detail. 

II. Specific References 

3. Buhler, Charlotte, and H. Hetzer. Testing Children's Development from Birth 
to School Age. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1935. 

4. Cattell, Psyche. The Measurement of Intelligence of Infants and Young Children. 
New York: Psychological Corporation, 1940. 

5. Gesell, Arnold. Developmental Schedules. New York: Psychological Corporation, 

6. Griffiths, Ruth. The Abilities of Babies: A Study of Mental Measurement. New 
York: McGraw-Hill, 1954. 

7. Hurlock, Elizabeth B. Child Development. (3rd ed. ) New York: McGraw-Hill, 

8. McCarthy, Dorothy. Language Development. In L. Carmichael (Ed.), Manual 
of Child Psychology. (2nd ed.) Pp. 492-630. New York: Wiley, 1954. 

9. Piaget, Jean. The Construction of Reality in the Child. (Translated by M. 
Cook.) New York: Basic Books, 1954. 

10. Sampson, Olive C. A Study of Speech Development in Children of 18—30 
Months. Brit. /. educ. Psychol, 1956, 26, 194-201. 

11. Watson, E. H., and G. H. Lawrey. Growth and Development of Children. 
Chicago: Year Book Publishers, 1954. 



Personality Foundations 
during Infancy 

IN THE FIRST two years of life, an infant grows intensely and begins to 
react more and more as a whole person rather than as a mere reflexive 
being producing isolated, simply stimulus-elicited responses. Therefore, 
in order to understand him as an emergent personality, he must be 
viewed in his total behavioral capacity. Appraising the human individ- 
ual as a personality is a mode of integrative approach in the psycho- 
logical study of human development and behavior. In an infant, per- 
sonality refers to a cluster of potentialities for biopsychic activity and 
behavioral differentiation into traits, attitudes, and habits. 

This chapter contains a brief description of the neonatal equipment 
and a detailed analysis of personahty origins. The chapter also considers 
several theories of personality formation, discusses parental management 
of infants, and tries to explain how parents' attitudes toward their 
children exert a major influence on the early forms of personality organi- 


Each neonate enters the world with myriad innate capacities, po- 
tentialities, assets, and liabilities. These behavior constituents are now 
largely latent, but many of them will be developed during various 
phases of life. A number of them may not be stimulated by the environ- 
mental context at all, while others may be suppressed by external pres- 
sures at certain levels of their development. Interaction among internal 
and environmental factors will lay a foundation for a personality de- 



114 Infancy 

velopment at early and later phases of Hfe. As a result, each human 
individual will develop a personality of his own. 

With the exception of a very few extremely handicapped neonates, 
the infant has at least the following equipment: physique, temperament, 
endowment for intelligence associated with a capacity to learn, and a 
hereditary potential for individualization. No two individuals have the 
same set of genes and cytoplasm although the heredity and early physi- 
cal environment of identical twins are often presumed to be identical. 
Chapter 4 presented an analysis of various factors explaining why, under 
all circumstances, the environments of all infants, including monozygotic 
twins, are different in various aspects. As a result of specific environ- 
mental pressures on the internal constituents of growth and maturation, 
the variation among individuals already observed at neonatal stages 
is magnified as infants grow older. On the basis of inborn capacities 
and their organizational qualities, new tendencies, traits, and feature 
combinations emerge. The multiplicity and the rapidity of develop- 
ments occurring during the first two years of Hfe were amply demon- 
strated in the two preceding chapters. 

During infancy, changes in sensitivity and adjustment to various en- 
vironmental factors begin to evidence distinctive patterns of reaction. 
By the third year, all major personality qualities and traits have become 
more closely interrelated. This is particularly due to the increased self- 
awareness which is now developing at a considerable rate into a system 
of self and a pattern of relationships to others. 


There are two major modes of reaction in small infants. We may ob- 
serve a particular infant who is showing good adaptabihty, moderate 
sensitivity, and nonirritable, easygoing behavior. He is seldom upset 
emotionally by proper internal and environmental changes, e.g., getting 
wet, waiting for or taking in food, falling asleep, and natural tempera- 
ture changes. Another infant may be more reactive and excitable. Each 
new influence and manipulation, e.g., laying him down, putting on a 
diaper or shirt, changing his position, and feeding him, causes emotional 
tension and crying. Later modifications and refinements of these two 
approaches to reality have much bearing on the pattern of personaHty 
organization, especially in terms of adjustment and development of self- 
defenses. These approaches are the beginnings of fundamental traits 
and attitudes. 

It may be added that the traits and personality pattern shown during 
the early years of life tend to develop further and attain a relatively 
persistent structural status [22, 30, 34]. Madorah E. Smith [30, p. 179], 

Personality Foundations during Infancy 115 

in her study of six children of the same family, found many traits 
among children to be significantly consistent. The traits appraised as 
most consistent were affection, ambition, attractiveness, brightness, 
conscientiousness, sympathy, bossiness, contrariness, carelessness, irri- 
tability, jealousy, nervousness, quarrelsomeness, spunkiness, and strong 

Later developments are to an increasing degree expanding and sup- 
plementary rather than transformatory, and evolutionary rather than 
revolutionary. Apparently one of the fundamental explanations why 
the first two or three years are so crucial for conditioning later devel- 
opments is that these basic developments underlie personality growth 
and integration. Infancy is a very critical period in setting the pattern 
for later personality development. 


Since parental influences are manifold — hereditary, constitutional, 
social, regulative, and environmental — parents represent the most potent 
conditioning factor in the hfe of the child. In terms of personality foun- 
dation and early developments, the parents' level of emotional acceptance 
of the child and their resulting attitudes toward him play a leading role. 
To each infant a particular combination of the following ranges of atti- 
tudes of his parents will apply: genuine affectionate acceptance to 
hostile rejection, extreme indulgence to carefree neglect, pampered in- 
fantilization to extreme lack of mothering, complete autocracy to li- 
censed permissiveness, multiple pressures toward acceleration to dis- 
tinct nonchalance. 

The myriad complexities of behavior in the parents and others who 
surround the child inevitably tend to elicit and direct the child's behavior 
into a particular pattern. The infant learns to use various means and 
techniques to gratify his basic and derived needs. Within the family 
matrix, a child acquires tendencies to desire or fear certain objects and 
situations, and he learns what to do and what to avoid doing. Such 
learning, in turn, molds variables of his emergent personality into a 
particular structure. Later on, the child learns from liis parents reasons 
for do's and don't's. Any extensive absence of fathers, during World War 
II, for example, lessens opportunities to learn what pertains to the mas- 
culine role and favors the acquirement of feminine qualities. D. M. Levy's 
study of Maternal Overprotection [20] provides classical illustrations of 
a variety of reinforcements of specific traits in children who have domi- 
nant or submissive mothers. Dominant mothers, for example, by their 
extensive frequency of control and punishment tend to create and 
facilitate the submissive and dependent traits in their children. An 

116 Infancy 

experimental study by Halla Beloff [7, pp. 169-170] shows that anal 
traits exhibited by the mother are substantially related to the child's 
acquisition of an "anal character" marked by parsimony, orderliness, 
pedantry, egoism, desire to dominate, and related features. The afore- 
mentioned and many other studies demonstrate that infantile experi- 
ences have noticeable eJBFects in later life. For example, reinforcement 
increases the strength of the oral drive, and coercive toilet training 
heightens separation anxiety and magnifies negativistic behavior [9, pp. 

A dominant trait of the mother is likely to persist from one phase 
to another. Cleanliness may be taken as an example. A mother may 
continually feel compelled to clean the hands of her children. A child 
of two or three may realize his mother's appreciation for clean hands. 
As a result, he may begin to wash his hands more and more often. He 
will frequently expose them for his mother's approval. Soon a deeply 
entrenched habit will be developed, which may give rise to compulsive- 
ness and become a form of anxiety expression as anxiety begins to ac- 
cumulate. This anxiety may be generalized and expressed as a fear of 
bacteria when the child learns of their existence. The anxiety may ex- 
pand and affect other aspects of life. It may be expressed in religious 
fears in which the person attributes a sin to infrequent handwashing. 
He feels obliged to wash his hands numerous times, in spite of their 
apparent cleanliness, lest he should displease God and incur punish- 
ment. A mother with a perfectionistic tendency may use a variety of 
means in her dealings with the child to hurry him in learning subjects 
he is not ready to grasp. Again, a self-defensive attitude may be formed 
by the child in his attempts to adjust to his mother's preference and 
impatience. Thus, in many obvious and subtle ways, an expressed atti- 
tude of the mother calls forth particular responses on the part of a 
child until they engrain themselves, and he develops a habit which can 
be either advantageous or disadvantageous to him. 

Patterns of Child Rearing by R. R. Sears et al. [29] is a major source 
which appraises factual data on child-management practices. This book, 
based on a sample of 379 cases, points up various effects and implica- 
tions of different approaches used by American parents in rearing 

The infant has intrinsic needs for close human association, for gentle 
and affectionate handling, and for direct protection against common 
dangers and undesirable influences. His mother and father are best 
suited to help the child attain gratification of these needs and to counter- 
act various security-disturbing factors. Because of the infant's help- 
lessness and inaptitude, promotion of security on his own part is negli- 
gible. Under a favorable child-parent relationship, the parents are likely 

Personality Foundations during Infancy 117 

to become the two dominant human models as soon as the process of 
self -identification starts at approximately three years of age. Long before 
this, the parents' emotions, attitudes, habits, and other behavior patterns 
have been "taken in,*' whether or not resistance was exhibited. The ex- 
tent and quality of the ability to identify with other persons and to re- 
late to them intimately is derived in large measure from the kind of 
relationship within the family during these early years of life [3, p. 175]. 
The effects of satisfying the need for affection are deep and pervasive. 
A. T. Jersild [18, p. 894] stresses the fact that love enters into and greatly 
affects the quality of the total environment and conditions its relation- 
ship with the child. "A basic and all pervasive feature of parental love 
for a child is that the child is liked for his own sake; he is viewed as 
something valuable per se; he is respected as a personality in his own 
right. The child who is loved for himself is free to be himself." He then 
is in a position to experiment and learn for himself, to mold his own self 
in terms of his potential. 


The latter part of infancy is marked by individualization of responses, 
feelings, and attitudes. As the emotions of self -potency and self -worth 
emerge, self-initiative increases, and the child's resistances to parental 
initiative and suggestions becomes magnified. "No, no!" and "Johnnie 
don't!" are frequent expressions of the two- and the three-year-old child. 
The emergent child gradually realizes that he is an individual with a 
mind. He can make choices and has desires of his own. From now on he 
continually plans some of his activities and by means of strong emo- 
tional outbursts registers his opposition to any interference on the part 
of parents, siblings, and other children. Dawdling, stubbornness, and 
contrariness seem to constitute the nucleus of postinfantile self-assertion. 
The peak of negativistic behavior occurs early in the third year. Nega- 
tivism seems to signify an awkward stage of transition from the help- 
lessness, docility, and dependence of infancy to the relative autonomy 
and partial self-reliance of a preschool child who can feed, bathe, and 
dress himself with little assistance, who can plan his own amusement 
activities and apply a variety of means for his own goals, and who can go 
by himself to play with the neighborhood "kids" Hving within one or 
two blocks. 

The child's negativism represents a kind of fundamental conflict at 
the critical periods of self- and personality organization. The third year 
is one of the first critical years in human development because at this 
age the self-system emerges as a higher level of existence. One of 
the major principles of development is that when any new abihty ap- 

118 Infancy 

pears, it is practiced vigorously for some time until the ability is well 
learned. The same applies for self-organization. Personal likes and dis- 
likes, tendencies toward specific foods and drinks, and activity and rest 
now become self-related, and therefore are powerfully asserted against 
all threats and barriers. While at the beginning intensified negativism 
does not seem to make too much sense, it soon becomes integrated 
with the needs and desires of the emergent personality. Thoughtful and 
partially permissive handling of negativistic behavior is therefore a pre- 
requisite for adequate self-development and personality integration. 
D. P. Ausubel [6], J. Pikunas [24], H. Remplein [25], and others con- 
sider negativism not merely as a developmental necessity in promoting 
individuation but also as a distinct phase of self-development. 

It is advantageous for the young child's future if parents provide 
opportunities in which the infant may practice using his own mind in 
choosing toys, food, and clothes and in other forms of exploration. Par- 
ents should guard themselves against overcorrectiveness and strict and, 
especially, inconsistent discipline. Parental and social factors which aid 
the child in his experimentation, planning, and active participation in 
family, school, and community life promote development of his individ- 
uality and selfhood. Under adverse circumstances the suppressing effects 
of overrestriction will produce emotional strain and tend to unbalance 
biochemical and behavioral controls. 


Another fundamental capacity closely allied to personality growth 
is the early appearing ability to form and, in the light of successive ex- 
periences, to revise habits. Already during the first and, especially, the 
second phase of infancy, habit formation extends to practically all as- 
pects of the child's activity. Any regularity, system, or order introduced 
by parents readily molds natural tendencies into various habitual pat- 
terns. As soon as the habit is established and practiced for some time, 
moderate resistance is shown to any attempts to change it. New de- 
velopmental processes accompanied by the emergence of new abilities 
and skills offer suflBciently good opportunities for both modification of 
the old and foundation of the new habits. As the infant grows he is ex- 
posed to a variety of learning situations at home and elsewhere. Such a 
condition assumes a progressive and increasing role as a promotional 
factor in personality development through the accumulation of experi- 
ence and knowledge. 

Since an infant possesses a very limited number of ready-made re- 
sponse systems for gratifying his needs, it is his task to acquire many new 
and socially acceptable techniques for the expression and satisfaction 

Personality Foundations during Infancy 119 

of hunger, thirst, ehmination, curiosity, and other drives. Usually, newly 
acquired techniques and skills are extensively used, and therefore be- 
come habituated. The repertoire of habits increases with each passing 
month and year. As a result, original behavior abates. 


Parental treatment accorded to the infant during the early phases 
of life either forms a basis for security and growth or handicaps both. 
A desirable and security-forming relationship between the parent and 
infant is marked by genuine acceptance and love. Unconditional ac- 
ceptance of the infant as he is helps the parent to avoid all extreme 
forms of interaction, and it may assist much in the establishment of a 
harmonious balance: the infant is loved but not overprotected; the 
parent is firm but not dominant; infant management is elastic but not too 
permissive. The parent makes efforts to satisfy the infant's needs ade- 
quately but refrains from indulgence [24, p. 121]. The present decade is 
marked by a general decrease in severity of the infant's training and an 
encouraging trend toward tolerance of the infant's toilet controls and 
autoerotic impulses. Parents are beginning to understand more fully 
that young children are soft and pliant beings who profit much from 
lenient rearing practice. 

The infant's inner forces leading to a variety of developments and to 
a gradual self-realization may be suppressed, inhibited, and distorted 
if his fundamental needs for belongingness and love, for protection and 
respect are not understood and gratified. Various growth processes 
can be disturbed by any strong and lasting fear or hostile reactions 
which may condition the individual, in order to maintain safety, to 
encapsule himself at one particular level of maturity or even press him 
to regress. Parents have a natural responsibility to exert their own re- 
sourcefulness so as to make the choice of growth more attractive than 
the choice of fixation or regression [21]. 

Although the potentials for personality development exist from con- 
ception, the nucleus of personality structure seems to emerge when the 
neonate begins to respond to external stimuli and begins to evidence 
experiential learning. The mother's or her substitute's approach and re- 
action to the infant are one of the first lasting influences initiating differ- 
ential responsiveness on the part of the infant. This, in turn, becomes 
a major factor in the formation of first the nuclear and then the surface 
dimensions and traits of personality. Thus, when the question arises why 
infants seem to be predisposed toward the development and exhibition 
of certain traits, the answer involves parental reactions to them, as well 
as the unique constitutional qualities and features which contribute 

120 Infancy 

to more or less distinct behavioral tendencies. These constitutional 
factors, in turn, are determined by heredity and influences of prenatal 
environment. The reinforcing and suppressing influences of the various 
environmental factors are obvious yet difficult to measure. 

The neglect of parental responsibility may have powerful repercus- 
sions on many later developments. Parents, for example, may readily 
adjust to some delay in performing a developmental task. A mother may 
not care that her two-year-old infant does not make progress in eating 
new solids. She may continue providing "baby foods." As a result, feed- 
ing difficulties may arise and plague the family for many years. This 
undesirable behavior of the infant which could have been readily cor- 
rected in the second year may become more generalized and expand into 
resistance to other developmental tasks. Difficulties in adjustment may 
increase with the years. Self-dressing is another example. The mother 
may continue doing something that the infant is capable of doing. In 
this way, she deprives the growing child of his early initiative. The 
child may get into a problem when he enters school by failing to learn 
something that contributes to his adjustment. 

The first phase of infancy seems to be the "embryonic stage" of per- 
sonality formation, during which a number of major abilities ap- 
pear. The second phase elicits many peculiarly human developments, 
such as speech and imagination, which can be more readily appraised 
by specially designed intelligence tests for infants. The periods of in- 
fancy are the most formative years of a child's personality growth be- 
cause the pattern-setting occurs at this age. Individuation forms a 
basis for the emergent self -direction. 


Early in the second year, the infant becomes aware of his own bodily 
organs, some of their functions, and his capacities in performing single 
tasks. Soon he learns to differentiate clearly between his own organism 
and various environmental factors. Inner needs and organism-centered 
wants are distinguished from objects and conditions which can gratify 
such wants. If the infant is liked and respected as an individual, he will 
have an opportunity to progress in his awareness of abilities and other 
natural tendencies [18, pp. 181, 183]. ■ 

The child's self-awareness plays a leading role in organizing and uni- " 
fying needs, motives, and incentives. As the infant gains control over 
his motor functions, he begins to manipulate to an ever-increasing de- 
gree the various environmental factors in terms of himself. W. Stem 
[33, p. 444] recognizes the operation of self-willed performance in the 

Personality Foundations during Infancy 121 

acts of the fifteen-month-old infants who begin to set themselves little 
tasks which they try to accomplish. 

Throughout the latter part of infancy, the self continues to establish 
the order of priority among the infant's activities, feelings, goals, and 
ideals. Unless some kind of powerful interference or pressure reverses 
the trend, motives and actions which are in accordance with the self 
come to have the right of way. The capability for drawing on one's 
own resources for self-directed experiences expands with the following 
months and years. Self-initiated identification with one or both parental 
models and other individuals takes on much influence as the infant's 
level of maturity is advanced. 

J. E. Anderson [5, p. 416] goes one step further when he concludes 
that the child "is very much of a creature in his own right, moving 
through his own experiences and creating his own world." More and 
more frequently the child, in terms of his own self, becomes the final 
arbiter as he grows into childhood and adolescence. 

Personality foundations during infancy are wholesome only when 
parents are aware of and satisfy their infant's somatic and psychosocial 
needs, when their care is affectionate and guidance is gentle. More- 
over, parents can promote maturation by providing appropriate stimuli 
for emerging qualities through personal encouragement, in playing with 
the infant, and by means of age-related educational toys, especially de- 
signed to foster physical and mental development as well as to give the 
infant frequent opportunities for self-expression. Such positive social 
facilitation enables the infant to evidence his individuahty fully and to 
take the initiative to learn to interact effectively with the variety of ex- 
ternal factors constituting his milieu and culture. Under such circum- 
stances the individual personality becomes organized in terms of his own 
potentialities and functions at the most advanced level of development 
of which he is capable. 


Since behavior is first of all influenced by the reactional capacity of 
the total organism, the results of experimental studies are often incon- 
clusive or obscured by a lack of conceptual clarity, and give impetus to 
the nature-nurture controversy between hereditarians, such as F. Kail- 
man [17], A. Scheinfeld [28], and R. R. Gates [15], and environmen- 
talists, such as J. B. Watson [35] and R. S. Woodworth [36]. The 
hereditarians propose the theory that personality is determined by 
heredity and the resultant constitution; the environmentalists would 
have their students believe that personality is largely the result of en- 

122 Infancy 

vironmental and cultural influences. Many carefully designed experi- 
mental studies are needed to bring some statistical and conceptual 
clarifications to this still widely contested subject of key influences. 

Since S. Freud's original distinction of libido-based stages of sexual 
development (oral, anal, and genital, each of which is divided into early 
and late periods), many psychologists and psychiatrists have expressed 
belief in the great importance of such stages and periods for later per- 
sonality formation. Freudian hypotheses gave impetus to numerous 
studies, some of them affirmative and some negative. 

It is difiicult, for example, to obtain experimental evidence validating 
Freud's theory of infantile omnipotence, that of the Oedipus complex, 
or that of oral character. Infantile omnipotence, for example, refers to 
Freud's belief that the first concept of oneself emerges as a result of lack 
of external demands upon the infant and also parental readiness to re- 
spond and satisfy the infant's needs as soon as these become manifest. 
Viewing it from another angle, a full dependence of infants on their 
parents can scarcely stimulate an image of omnipotence or reinforce 
it if it is already formed. The psychoanalytic emphasis on the determin- 
ing power of the infant's early feeding procedures in later forming 
such adult characteristics as pessimism or hostility does not find empiri- 
cal support. It contradicts a better-supported hypothesis that specific 
feeding and management methods have various psychological influences 
on different children [23]. 

Freudian psychoanalysts assume that during the early phase of in- 
fancy, a considerable amount of the baby's activity consists of the 
"taking in" of nourishment and affectionate care, centering around 
the oral zone. The receptive and the later active or expulsive orality — 
biting, spitting out, and masticating — ^may be partially deprived of 
its activity through the lack of objects of gratification. The resulting 
conflict and anxiety may become fixated at this level of psychosexual 
development and lead to an orally motivated character. It is further 
hypothesized that such a person will be marked by his continual search 
for oral gratifications in a variety of forms, e.g., excessive interest in 
and compensative activities with food and drink, or potent verbal 
activity characterized by "sharp tongue," verbal aggression, and sarcasm. 

A great majority of theories on personality development assign a lead- 
ing role to the events and experiences of infancy [5, 27]. As the infant 
develops his capacity for perception and retention, certain images of 
his parents appear and stabilize. If, in the mind of the child, his parents 
are sources of protection, affectionate care, and security, the subsequent 
confirming experiences will help in engraving their images and in pro- 
ducing respective concepts, whereas the occasional contrary experiences 
will tend to disintegrate. Conversely, when early experiences of an un- 

Personality Foundations during Infancy 123 

pleasant kind predominate, the apperception of parents as threatening 
and persistive agents will be solidified. Much contrary evidence will be 
needed to repress or transform such original percepts [31]. 

Since fear is a universal response of infants and children, intense or 
frequent displeasure and frustrating situations associated with parents 
will tend to stimulate fearfulness and insecurity. They then will nega- 
tively affect the total mode of parent-child relationship, the fundamentals 
of which are established during the latter part of early infancy. The 
love impulses of the fearful infant will be exaggerated and diflRcult to 
gratify. Hence, anger, temper tantrums, jealousy, and hostility reactions 
will become predominant as the child grows into the preschool years. 
If this kind of negative relationship is imprinted upon the mind of the 
infant, it will block the responsiveness of the child to parental discipline 
and later to societal controls. Many parental attempts to facilitate the 
formation of sound habits and desirable attitudes will be ineffective. A 
parent's reaction to such difficulties in child guidance during the late 
stage of infancy and childhood will lead either to various forms of ag- 
gressive behavior or to undue dependence and a feeling of inferiority. 
These may be implanted as dominant qualities of individual reactivity 
and ego defense. 

Hence, all conditions and situations which foster insecurity and pro- 
mote undesirable intrafamily relationships will interfere with the per- 
sonality development of the child and in some instances predispose him 
toward a specific pattern of maladjustive or abnormal nature. Once 
such a pattern is stabilized, long-term growth-stimulating and reeduca- 
tive psychotherapy may be necessary to "correct" the past and to in- 
troduce steps toward goals of more adequate personality growth and 

Early in the second stage of infancy, the individual progresses greatly 
in his ability to exercise control over the basic skeletal muscle groups 
and to respond directly to the simple requests of his parents and sib- 
lings. The infant often eagerly looks for "go" and "stop," "do" and 
"don't" indications. Because of this positive attitude, the opportunity 
for toilet training presents itself. Fifteen to nineteen months of age 
seems to be the most favorable age for this. Bowel control is frequently 
achieved before the infant's second birthday, while bladder control is 
established about one to two years later. Two basic conditions underlie 
this significant accomplishment: neuromuscular readiness and lack of 
undue strain in the emotional ties with the parents. Within several 
months after bowel control is achieved, the infant usually learns to use 
the toilet f acihties with little assistance from his mother. 

It is the authors' impression that American parents are very eager 
to attempt to establish toilet control at a noticeably earlier age than in- 

124 Infancy 

dicated above, and earlier than parents in any other cultures or nations. 
Psychoanalytic and psychiatric literature points out that in doing so 
they expose their children to much additional strain and conflict which 
may predispose them toward excessive negativism, thrift, cleanliness, 
orderliness, obstinacy, and compulsive traits [4, 14]. Psychoanalytic 
theory emphasizes the close relationships between various types of feed- 
ing, toilet control, and early libidinal cathexes and the subsequent pat- 
tern of personality development. Margaret A. Ribble [27] reports the im- 
portance of breast feeding on the mother's motivation and implies that 
the arising of some digestive disturbances is linked to bottle feeding. 
Any intensified oral and anal frustration may thus lead to a disturbed 
personality pattern and to a diflBculty in overcoming the dynamics of 
the past. This disturbance may persist throughout life. It causes many 
individuals to act as if situations which have long since disappeared were 
still in existence. 

Noteworthy are E. H. Erikson's views [1, pp. 232-233] on the stages 
of child development. He assumes that each phase of child growth and 
maturation has a core problem or conflict. It has to be solved in order 
to lay the groundwork for orderly and vigorous personality development 
in the subsequent stage. The nuclear conflict between trust and mistrust, 
for example, pertains to the first or oral-sensory stage of life. Erikson 
avoids any detailed explanation of the core conflicts and their effects 
on subsequent phases of life. He also fails to elaborate on ways core 
problems should be handled. 

The hypothesis of "critical periods" in child development has been 
raised by several investigators of the field [25, 32]. The leading idea 
implied is that certain traits appear as clusters rather than individually 
at a certain developmental level, when sufficiently stimulated by relevant 
situations. When not stimulated, such traits will not be developed at all. 
If relevant stimuli are present at an earlier or later level, such develop- 
ments also fail to occur. It may be inferred that when some funda- 
mental developments do not take place, any advanced developments 
within the same dimension are impossible. Hence, a lack of emotional 
and behavioral identification between the mother and her baby may 
handicap the baby for later identifications with other individuals of 
female sex. Lack of identification with the father may impede later 
identifications with male individuals. 

The theory of critical periods readily gains support when one studies 
the case histories of psychopathic and psychotic cases. Deprivation of 
human intimacy is very frequently reported in these histories. Several 
studies contain abundant evidence concerning the possibility of such a 
developmental arrest of emotional and social-moral sectors of personality 
in favor of antisocial and other less desirable growth trends [8, 13]. 

Personality Foundations during Infancy 125 

Beginning with R. J. Havighurst [16], reference is often made 
to the developmental tasks in terms of specified achievements at various 
phases of growth and maturation. These developmental tasks are specific 
abilities and skills which an individual leams best when he has reached 
a certain level of neuromuscular, emotional, and mental development 
favoring their acquisition. For example, a child will acquire the skill 
of walking when his musculature is sufficiently developed and when he 
has mastered the prerequisite skills, such as standing and balancing. He 
needs mental and emotional incentive, a desire on his own part to take 
a step. Mastering age-related developmental tasks marks progress in 
personality growth and its integration. 

Self-preservation, achievement of physiological equilibrium, and ad- 
justment to external reality may be recognized as tasks of the neonatal 
phase. Control over large muscle groups and overcoming helplessness 
may be seen as tasks of early infancy. Learning verbal expressions and 
fundamental concepts of physical and social environment and acquiring 
toilet controls are some of the representative tasks of late infancy [24, 
p. 40]. A satisfactory completion of developmental tasks of infancy lays 
a wholesome foundation for childhood and later periods of growth and 


1. What are the major internal and external factors which lay the foundation for 
human individuahty? 

2. Define and illustrate several modes of possible infant reactivity toward selected 
environmental stimuli. 

3. Describe some traits and indicate the fundamental relationships between traits 
and habits. 

4. Why are parental attitudes and treatment accorded to an infant important for 
his development and personality growth? 

5. Explain the role habits play in personality development. 

6. Describe the role of learning in personality foundation and development. 

7. What have assertiveness and negativism to do with advanced levels of personal- 
ity organization? 

8. Enumerate some key factors making the first two years of life extremely crucial 
for the future development of a given individual. 


I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Erikson, E. H. Childhood and Society. New York: Norton, 1950. A psycho- 
analytically oriented source which deals with the period of childhood in a genetic 
frame of reference. Social conditioning processes are treated in detail. Many socio- 
cultural problems are raised. 

2. Winch, Robert F., and Robert McGinnis. Selected Studies in Marriage and 
Family. New York: Holt, 1953. A comprehensive source on the American family, its 

126 Infancy 

patterns, roles, and relationships; mate selection, adjustment, and cultural influences 
are stressed. 

3. Witmer, H«len L., and Ruth Kotinsky (Eds.) Personality in the Making. New 
York: Harper, 1952. The Fact Finding Report of the Midcentury White House Con- 
ference on Children cmd Youth is presented and collaborated by many experts from 
a variety of fields. 

II. Specific References 

4. Abraham, K. Selected Papers on Psychoanalysis. London: Hogarth, 1927. 

5. Anderson, John E. Personality Organization in Children, Amer. Psychologist, 
1948, 3, 409-416. 

6. Ausubel, D. P. Negativism as a Phase of Ego Development. Amer. J. Orthopsy- 
chiat., 1950, 20, 796-805. 

7. BelofF, Halla. The Structure and Origin of the Anal Character. Genet. Psychol. 
Monogr., 1957, 55, 141-172. 

8. Bender, Lauretta. Psychopathic Conduct Disorders in Children. In R. M. Lind- 
ner, A Handbook of Correctional Psychology. New York: Philosophical Library, 

9. Bernstein, Arnold. Some Relations between Techniques of Feeding and Train- 
ing during Infancy and Certain Behavior in Childhood. Genet. Psychol. Monogr., 
1955, 51, 3-44. 

10. Bossard, James H. S., and Eleanor S. Boll. The Large Family System. Phila- 
delphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1956. 

11. Buhler, Charlotte. The Child and His Family. London: Routledge & Kegan 
Paul, 1948. 

12. Campbell, Coyne H. Induced Delusions: The Psychopathy of Freudism. 
Chicago: Regent House, 1958. 

13. Cleckley, H. The Mask of Sanity. (2nd ed.) St. Louis: Mosby, 1950. 

14. Eissler, Ruth S., et al. (Eds.) The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. Vols. 
I-X. New York: International University Press, 1945-1955. 

15. Gates, R. R. Human Genetics. New York: Macmillan, 1946. 

16. Havighurst, Robert J. Development Tasks and Education. (2nd ed.) New 
York: Longmans, 1952. 

17. Kallman, Franz. Heredity in Health and Mental Disorder. New York: Norton, 

18. Jersild, Arthur T. Emotional Development. In L. Carmichael (Ed.), Manual 
of Child Psychology. New York: Wiley, 1954. 

19. Jersild, Arthur T. Child Psychology. (5th ed.) Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: 
Prentice-Hall, 1960. 

20. Levy, D. M. Maternal Overprotection. New York: Columbia University Press, 

21. Maslow, A. H. Defense and Growth. Merrill-Palmer Quart., 1956, 3, 36-47. 

22. Neilon, P. Shirley's Babies after Fifteen Years: A Pesonality Study. /. genet. 
Psychol, 1948, 73, 175-186. 

23. Orlansky, H. Infant Care and Personality. Psychol. Bull, 1946, 46, 1-48. 

24. Pikunas, Justin. Fundamental Child Psychology. Milwaukee: Bruce, 1957. 

25. Remplein, Heinz. Die seelische Entwicklung des Menschen im Kindes- und 
Jugendalter. (7th ed.) Munich: Reinhardt, 1958. i 

26. Ribble, Margaret A. The Rights of Infants. New York: Columbia University 
Press, 1944. 

Personality Foundations during Infancy 127 

27. Ribble, Margaret A. The Personality of the Young Child. New York: Columbia 
University Press, 1955. 

28. Scheinfeld, A. The New You and Heredity. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1950. 

29. Sears, Robert R., et al. Patterns of Child Rearing. Evanston, 111,: Row, Peter- 
son, 1957. 

30. Smith, Madorah E. A Comparison of Certain Personality Traits as Rated in 
the Same Individuals in Childhood and Fifty Years Later. Child Developm., 1952, 
23, 159-180. 

31. Stagner, Ross. Homeostasis as a Unifying Concept in Personality Theory. 
Psychol. Rev., 1951, 58, 5-17. 

32. Stendler, Celia B. Critical Periods in Socialization and Overdependency. Child 
Developm., 1952, 23, 3-12. 

33. Stem, William. Psychology of Early Childhood. New York: Holt, 1930. 

34. Terman, Lewis M. The Discovery and Encouragement of Exceptional Talent. 
Amer. Psychologist, 1954, 9, 221-230. 

35. Watson, John B. Psychological Care of Infant and Child. New York: Norton, 

36. Woodworth, R. S. Heredity and Environment. Social Science Research Council 
BuUetin No. 472, New York, 1941. 


Beginnings of Conscience (16 min) McGraw-Hill, 1957. Shows how socialization and 
social forces generate personal conscience. 

Emergence of Personality (30 min) Encyclopaedia Britannica Films, 1948. A com- 
bined version of 3 other E.B. films: Baby Meets His Parents, Helping the Child 
to Accept the Do's and Helping the Child to Face the Don't's. 

The Growth of Infant Behavior: Early Stages (11 min) and Later Stages (11 min) 
Encyclopaedia Britannica Films, 1934. Early and later responses of growing infants 
are shown, with comparison of behavior at different ages. 

Know; Your Baby (18 min) National Film Board of Canada, 1947. The family ad- 
justment to the demands of the newcomer and methods of baby care are shown. 

Life with Baby ( 18 min ) March of Time, 1946. From Gesell Child Development 
Series, a popular illustration of motor and social development from 1 to 6 years 
of age. 

Shaping the Personality: Role of Mother-Child Relations in Infancy (30 min, silent) 
New York University, 1953. Five mothers are successively shown breast feeding 
their infants. The effects of their conscious or unconscious wishes and acceptance 
or rejection of them are represented. 

Terrible Twos and Trusting Threes (22 min, color) McGraw-Hill, 1951. Behavior 
changes and some implications of these early years of life are represented. 

Your Children Walking (20 min) McGraw-Hill, 1954. Presents the technique of 
proper walking and illustrates importance of appropriate footwear. 




CHILDHOOD is a stage at which a young person expands significantly 
his self-direction in terms of his endowments and environmental op- 
portunities. The preschool years are marked by amazing progress in 
vocal self-expression, fantasy, and emotional differentiation. Appearance 
of moral and religious notions in evaluating relationships and events, 
advance of social interaction, and play activities introduce many new 
forms of reaction to environmental stimuli and situations. 

Growth of intellectual abilities and gains in independence make a 
child ready to enter school. There he meets and interacts with a teacher 
and other children of his age. In two or three years of such peer inter- 
course, he becomes ready to merge into the child's society. Parents and 
adults then, if not before, notice traits and attitudes related to these 
away-from-home ventures. The advancing years of childhood lead to 
proper peer identifications which set the pattern for later social and 
emotional identifications. The child's intellectual grasp of reality is deep- 
ened and magnified. Insight into parental and peer characteristics, one's 
own motivations, and many aspects of physical and social environment 
increases in depth. 



Preschool Age 

DEVELOPMENTS during the stage of preschool childhood depend much on 
earlier, partly passive and partly active processes of "taking in," training 
and learning activities, apperceptive assimilation, and an increase in self- 
awareness. The extent and individuality of his responses and feelings 
begin to exhibit the kind of personality the child v^ill have. Before he is 
sent to school for formal education, his resources and gifts begin to make 
their appearance. At this stage, the child continues to make varied and 
frequent use of practically all of his abilities and skills. A child is now 
capable of protecting himself against common dangers. Instead of crying 
for trivial reasons, he verbalizes his experiences in many fearful and 
unpleasant situations. Self-centered and emotionally toned behavior and 
effective use of oral self-expression are the two outstanding character- 
istics of this level of development. 


Throughout this phase, the rate of physiological growth continues to 
slow down. As a result, the child is well disposed to attempt and attain 
many additional and finer motor controls which, in turn, enable him to 
engage in an ever-increasing variety of bodily activities. In the early 
days of this phase, he can efficiently leaf through a book or magazine, 
build a tower of nine or ten cubes, go to the toilet by himself, and assist 
mother in the kitchen and garden. The child can climb, stand on one 
foot, make dancing motions, produce singing sounds, turn and run in 
any direction, stop wherever necessary, and go up and down stairs un- 
aided and alternating his feet. Whenever an opportunity presents itself, 
he attempts to draw vertical and horizontal lines and begins to identify 
the "things." Whatever the child does, he performs it with increased 


132 Childhood 

ease, expertness, and speed. Often he has a purpose in mind. Compli- 
cated psychomotor patterns, such as ABC writing, piano playing, skating, 
and swimming, all may be acquired gradually if the child's attention 
and eflFort are secured. Facility in performing basic and specific motor 
skills leads to rhythmic activity and gracefulness before this phase passes 
its midpoint [8, p. 43]. Singing and athletic activities, such as football, 
baseball, and other ball games, may now appeal to the preschool child. 
He may eagerly practice some of the skills needed in these activities. 
If parents or others pay attention to the the child's play, he begins to: 
appreciate this approval and evidences much delight in whatever he: 
happens to accomplish. As a result, he may proudly display his ability in: 
order to receive some praise. Although his "products" are crude, the: 
value of his experience is great. Therefore, the child deserves encourage- ■ 
ment. During this total stage, play activities are marked by creative en- 
deavors and dramatizations due to the increased abihty of the child's i 
imagination. In imitating other children, adults, and TV, various make-- 
believe situations are produced by the use of dolls, clay, miniature: 
furniture, trucks, balls, human figures, animals, soldiers, and household i 

A natural tendency to balance strenuous physical activities with the 
more passive play is usually noticed under ordinary circumstances, but, 
especially when visitors are present, the young child may need direct i 
parental regulation in order to avoid exhaustion. The preschool child is 
a great "show-ofiF" and his need for attention is diflBcult to satiate. 


Following the child's entrance into this stage, affective and emotional 
experience undergoes a significant reorganization and differentiation. 
Many new feelings and emotions emerge, and their range and depth 
increase and greatly affect the personality of the child. This period is 
marked by the emergence of self-centered emotions, such as shame, 
guilt, and remorse, by attitudes of self-confidence or inferiority, and by* 
the acquisition of personality-centered attitudes and sentiments of a 
social, aesthetic, moral, and religious character [8, pp. 45, 92]. 

Fear is one of the most usual affective reactions of a preschool child. ; 
Anything unusual calls forth this emotion. With increasing self -a ware- 1 
ness, personal sensitivity and vulnerability to fear expand despite the: 
fact that familiarity with and understanding of formerly strange objects 
are advanced. The child realizes that some animals or other objects of : 
which he was previously afraid are not harmful; however, now he learns ; 
about a variety of remote and imaginary dangers, such as giants, kid- 1 
nappers, bogies, accidents, and eventually death. For this reason, fear j 

Preschool Age 133 

of being alone and of the dark tends to disturb the child, and his imagi- 
nation is likely to add considerably to the awareness of the unusual and 

Anger and temper outbursts are not infrequent during these years of 
early childhood. Any unsatisfactory management of children, any de- 
privation of their needs, and any conflicts and frustration may greatly 
reinforce such reactions and make them habitual. There are children 
whose emotional sensitivity is such that they fall into anger or similar 
outbursts without any thwarting or provocation whatsoever, while others 
show a capacity to tolerate a considerable amount of probing interfer- 
ence in their activities. AflFective outbursts may also help children to gain 
the attention they need or the gratification of their whims if parents 
respond to them or are inclined toward such response. Many situations 
give rise to displays of anger: (1) all kinds of deprivation, (2) restraint 
and punishment, especially under emotional excitement, and (3) the 
frustration of initiated activity, expectations, and wishes [8, p. 95]. 

Envy and jealousy are other frequent emotional experiences of the 
preschool child. If a child has an interest in a particular object, he wants 
to have it at his disposal until something else gains his attention. Tend- 
ency to store such objects is characteristic of this age. Thus, the child 
is bound to become exceedingly envious if his siblings or friends want 
to have his treasured objects too, or even when they want to share them 
in play. 

Because of his small body and relative helplessness, the child evidences 
a strong desire for affection and attention from the persons he loves. As 
a result, he is very sensitive to any attention or favor his parents show 
to somebody else, especially to individuals of similar age. Jealousy is 
usually expressed by activities designed to regain the central role, such 
as loud and less mature behavior, seeking help where the child had con- 
trol earlier, self-punishment, and hostility toward others. 
j The need for affection is not merely a vital feeling but also a funda- 
mental human need. Many psychologists, psychoanalysts, and psychia- 
trists stress the paramount importance of receiving maternal affection and 
care during the early years of life [3, 7, 10, 11]. R. A. Spitz [11] found 
that the infant's survival may depend on the level and frequency of 
: human contact. Where this is insufficient, the infant may die without a 
sufficient medical cause. Mental developmental and psychological well- 
being are augmented by affectionate care and loving attention granted 
by parents and other individuals in constant contact with the child. 
Parental feelings and attitudes toward a child represent a major influence 
on his development and personality. 

Co-experiential emotionality begins to play a considerable role in inter- 
personal relationships at this age. Sympathy, for example, denotes identi- 

134 Childhood 

fication with another's sorrow or pain and calls forth assistance and 
affection, while empathy refers to the child's identification with some- 
one's emotional states in a variety of situations. Compassion appears as 
a vivid portrayal of emotional experience responding to the behavior 
of another. During this phase, much progress occurs in this aspect of 
emotional experience which first assists the young individual to under- 
stand others and to become a participant of the family group and later 
permits adequate interaction with other individuals and identification 
with peer groups in the neighborhood and at school. 


Speech at this age becomes one of the most valuable dynamisms of 
self-expression and interpersonal adjustment, and the child now acquires 
it with amazing ease. Verbalized behavior contributes substantially to his 
personality development, accumulation of personal knowledge, and 
socialization. The process of advancement of the speech function is char- 
acterized by gradual disappearance of infantile forms of speech, such as 
incomplete sentences, lack of rhythm, slurring, and lisping. C. Van 
Riper's book Teaching Young Child to Talk [13] is an illustrated non- 
technical source dealing with speech tasks and problems which offers 
many useful suggestions in educating a child for a better and more effi- 
cient use of language. Development of a variety of language skills in 
children between three and eight years of age is experimentally assessed 
by Mildred C. Templin [12]. Figure 11-1 illustrates the progress of 
articulation of various speech sounds during the preschool and early 
school years, based on a sample of 480 children in Minneapolis. A sharp 
rise between three and four years of age is readily noted, a more gradual 
progress during the later years. 

^ The child is now faced with at least six major tasks: (1) improving 
pronunciation and diction, (2) expressing needs and relating experiences, 
(3) comprehending the speech of others, (4) combining words into 
sentences to express thoughts, (5) building a vocabulary, using all parts 
of speech, and (6) increasing conversational skill in order to secure at- 
tention. It is easy to notice that all of these tasks are interrelated; no 
specific one should be emphasized to the detriment of any other. Unless 
emotionally or socially disturbed, the child continues to improve his 
speech performance, and the advanced patterns gradually supersede and 
become dominant. The preschool child has difficulties in enunciating 
th, j, r, s, z, h, g, and ch, often in this same (decreasing) order of diffi- 
culty. When the. child begins to use all parts of speech, he enters the 
level of adult speech. Frequently this occurs at the age of four years. 
The average vocabulary at this time includes about three hundred words 
which the child spontaneously uses and about fifteen hundred words 

Preschool Age 135 

which he can at least partially understand [8, p. 46]. This shows that the 
ability actively to employ words and combine them into phrases and 
sentences lags considerably behind the capacity to comprehend and 
respond to them. If the parent or anyone makes a verbal request, the 
child responds intelligently long before he succeeds in repeating the 
words spoken to him. There are many ways by means of which children 
demonstrate that they understand speech communication which is not 
as yet a part of their own self-expressive vocabulary. Comprehension is 
apparently one of the easier tasks to be mastered; however, the preschool 
child has a tendency to attach concrete or literal meanings to words. 
For this reason, the child may occasionally misinterpret parental and 
adult communication, including praise and affectionate gestures toward 
him. These may frighten or anger him as he interprets them word by 
word. Abilities to recognize several meanings, to abstract, to see analogy. 

Figure 11-1. Percentage of Total Possible Scores on Nasals, Plosives, Fricatives, 
Combinations, Semivowels 









5 6 

Years in age 
(Mildred C. Templin. Certain Language Skills in 
Children, Their Development and Interrelationships. 
P. 39. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 
1957. By permission. ) 

136 Childhood 

and to understand humor or metaphor are difficult tasks for him. Initial 
steps in acquiring these skills are made in the late part of this phase. 
Facial expressions, gestures, and advance in emotional rapport supple- 
ment and refine the child's distinctions in interpersonal communication. 

The most noticeable increase in vocabulary occurs in the early part 
of the preschool age and then gradually levels ofif. During this stage, in 
addition to the increase of nouns which dominated the infant's speech, 
a substantial increment of other parts of speech is observed. The number 
of words per sentence expands now at a very fast rate. Many four-year- 
olds can use practically complete sentences of four to seven or more 
words as Table 11-1 indicates [6, pp. 546-549]. 

One of the most revealing early experimental investigations of vocabu- 
lary formation is that of Madorah E. Smith [9]. The 1926 study ascer- 
tained the average size of vocabulary from one to six years of age. The 
findings indicate that a child at the one-year level knows three words, at 
eighteen months twenty-two, at two years 272, at three years 896, at four 
years 1,540, at five years 2,072, and at six years 2,562. The most obvious 
increase occurs between the ages of two and three. The Smith method of 
vocabulary assessment appears to measure the breadth of it, rather than 
the depth of the child's understanding of words. | 

Since the young child learns principally by imitation of persons in his 
immediate environment, he readily accepts the pronunciation and speech 
pattern of these persons. It is important, therefore, to insure the use of 
correct speech and sound diction by older individuals in the child's 
environment. Recently television has become of considerable assistance 
to all, especially children. Children of large families appear to be slower 
in their speech development than only children or children of small 
families because the former rely more heavily on their siblings. The socio- 
economic status of the family is also a significant factor because it means 
a rich or meager background with many or few educational advantages 
at the child's disposal. 

There seems to be no detrimental effect resulting from acquiring a 
second language provided that the child's intellectual capacity is average 
or better, that each language is taught correctly, and that there are no 
undesirable emotional attitudes involved which would make the child 
resistant to one of the languages. In the case of low mental endowment a 
single language is practically an insurmountable task, and a second 
language may turn out to be an additional obstacle. 


The growth of imagination which began in the second phase of in- 
fancy reaches a major spurt during the years of preschool childhood. 




















Tti -^ 





CO liO 



t^ 1> 

CO l> CO 



00 05 



■<** Tti 

^ "^ ^ 




''j^ oq 

CO -* "* 





CO (N 


"* rj^ 

^ ^ "^ 





!>. 1:^ 



00 CO 

(N -* CO 



CO 05 





■^ ^ "^ 





lO Tt^ 

tH 00 TjH 

















CO lO 



Tt< <N 

(M T-H rH 



CO 1> 




Ol (N 




lO -^ 


(M 00 

■"^ i-H 00 






00 00 



<M T-H 

^ c<i -H 


1— ( 

T— 1 



Ttl -^ 


O CO Ol 


Oi t^ 


1— 1 

r-l 1— 1 »-H 




O TjH 

t^ CO o 






t^ (N 



CO (N 

CO !>• Tfi 






CO t^ 











m 02 







^ -H 





— , 


7h ^^ 

« O <5 

w o <i « o 


mo < \ 


















I— 1 





1 1 

S .2 











s ^ 





^ CD 










02 o3 






.2 02 




03 O 








2 5 





^ ^ 


fe d 

02 bC 




H S 


One-hour conv( 
ation. Miscella 

Cu a> 














Crete age grou 
with adults 








d •■ 

Gifted group, 
in play situati 




















































































t— ^ 











































































t— 1 




































o o »o 

CO t^ CO 

CO T-H CQ -* N CO 
CO CO CO l>- !>• t> 



t^ Tt< O 

Tfi lO to 

>0 CO Ttt ^ 05 Tfl 
lO >0 »C iC lO »c 


r-t ^ t^ t^ 00 

^ ^ ^ 

lO Ttl TjH |> CO 1-H 

lO iC ■* »o '^ 

^ ^ "^ 

•^ -^ ■*■«*< »o uo 

O O Oi o 
CO lO -* lO 

1-H CO 


0)0 0) 

TtJ lO Tji 


CO T}H t-. 
^ ^t* ^^ 

T-i CO 


^ ^H tJH 

00 o 

lO CO 00 

CO tH 

lO TjH CO 

(N (N (N 

00 Tt^ 

00 lO o 

1—1 1-1 (N 

T-l CO 

<N (N CO CO 1-1 

lO CO <M 00 t^ 

O »0 to 05 o 

CO 1—1 T-H 1—1 1—1 

CO t^ (TO 
00 00 t^ 

CO CO O C5 00 l^ 
00 00 O Tt* "^ Oi 


to CO ^ 

P3 O <1 

p o •-- s 
•^ W O <1 


o .a 

"H "d ;=3 
O O <1 

--^ to 


Oi 05 



e3 02 

-d ^ 
^ ex 

o ^ 








"?. o 

•g ^ 






^ i s 












CO ^ 

g CO 03 

^ ^ ^ 

O 03 . 

^ ■♦^ d 

O ■- 

I S -d 
S d '^ 
?s, d S 

Q o 



d « > 

— .> eg 

.2 d -^ 
'> tJ 02 

ea d 

Q 'c^ .2 

IS -*^ 

-*3 O 83 

^ a :3 
• ^ -s 

>> d P 

-dS •:: 

O « *-| 

a <» 
t< "^ hj 

<; t a 

























CO o 

o -* 

t^ o 

05 »-H 

O 00 

05 CO 


"* 00 

O 1> 


CO 1—1 
CO '^ 

CO Oi 

00 i-H 
(N CO 

CO "* 

1-1 CO 

O t^ O !>• t> t^ 

(M <— I C^ 1— I CO CO 


W 03 

O .i3 >i -^ 

JO bfl o .!3 ^^ 

^ ^ Xi bC o .£3 

;r3 ;r3 bC txi 

fi:? Ph Oh Ph ^ <J 




1— t 





1— ( 

1— 1 

03 2 



o ^ 


O w 


^ cc 'm 






O t^ -^ Oi 
»0 lO lO CO 



>0 lO O T-H 

I— I 1— I CO 1-t 

03 c«3 

o -^ 


W O <1 <1 







1— 1 

T— 1 




























































lO lO lO 


(M 00 lO 
t^ t^ 1> 

^ CO CO 


CO ^ C^ 

t^ t^ l>i 


f-^ \ 




t^ CO lO 








CO 00 T-H 05 







»0 CO to T-H Tfl 



lO -^ lO CO 





1— 1 


00 t^ CO !-< t^ 

TjH T^ rf ■^ 







■«t ■* »0 CO »o 
















Tfl 1— 1 lO lO 



1— 1 



T— 1 

'^ lO o o o 


1— i rH C<1 t— 1 

1— t 






1-1 <N (M C^ Tt^ 


1— 1 rH (M 

T3 r^ -^ T3 








X 1^ 

O g; a; OJ 






• 2 X 



s ■§ s s 


















^ bC bC -Q 





bC ^ 


2 2^^ 







a; -^ 






t^ ^ OQ OQ 

bC bC 15 





;z; ^ ^ ^^ 

3 ^ ^ ^ 

^ ^ ^ m o ^ 














1— 1 


-O TS «^ 


§ S a 


2 2 § 




OJ -^ <u 




^ -^ .2 









tasi and D'Angelo: 
ty responses. Matche 
ite groups from mixed 
ghborhoods. Lower s 

Qses with adu 


o P 



t. S b£ 

fl !: cj 

i r -S 'S 














03 - _ 

r*^ <v? -^ 

O lO __, 

< ^ -^ 

bD "^ 

Ph s^ 

•w CO 



f3 o3 ^- 
<1 ^ ^ 

d 4 a 

^ ^ 8 

Oh bC ^ 

03 d d 
+j o) ;d 
^ -C5 a 

cj o S 

-% ^^ 

-M -tf «4-, 

a a ^ 

-d ^ 
d <^ 

d a 

8 ^ 








li d 

*" 73 

ti rd 





2 >> 
d 00 




Preschool Age 141 

Much interest is shown in make-beheve activities in which children per- 
sonify and attempt to portray excerpts from television plays and adult 
performances. Home and family, doctor and patient, cowboys and 
Indians — all may be portrayed by the use of such objects as dolls, various 
household tools, toys, and miniature make-believe human and animal 
creatures. Children secure much amusement from seeing and meeting 
children and adults, as well as animals in the neighborhood. They may 
organize parties and drink from empty cups, eat from an empty table, 
and sell, buy, and exchange their toys. All these activities are accom- 
panied by much self-centered and sociocentered conversation, exhibi- 
tionism, and many other attempts to amuse others and influence their 
physical and social environment. 

The preschool age is marked by a noticeable expansion of intellectually 
geared curiosity, the desire to conceptualize, and attempts to act in ac- 
cordance with "thought out" conclusions. Washington's cherry tree epi- 
sode is repeated within a variety of contexts. The first intellect-oriented 
question "What's that?" is now vividly supplemented by frequent "Why?" 
"How?" and "What for?" questions. The child begins to understand and 
appreciate information about the purposes various objects serve, what 
makes things "work," and where they come from. It is good for the child 
to have parents and other adults answer such questions adequately and 
in this way promote the formation of correct concepts because the child 
needs an accumulation of workable knowledge before be begins his 
formal education. Question-and-answer learning permits the exclusion 
of much trial and error. G. L. Fahey's study [4] estimates that on the 
average, questioning accounts for 10 to 15 per cent of preschool chil- 
dren's conversation. He suggests further investigations to assess the 
meaning and implications of children's questioning activity. 


When the child enters the preschool phase of life, he begins to show 
much interest in individuals of his own age. The infant's social interest 
centers on his parents. Their acceptance satisfies the desire to interact 
with others. Beyond this, social interaction is casual or environment- 
enforced as in the case of a large family. The infant experiences a threat 
whenever a parent, especially his mother, leaves him, and the fact is 
prominently on his mind during her absence despite a substitute's effort 
to entertain him. Now the child begins to care less when a parent is 
leaving him provided there are other individuals who attempt to enter- 
tain him. Group life exercises increasing appeal for him. His eagerness to 
learn various group activities and to assume assigned roles is evidenced 
in many interindividual situations, especially during the fifth and sixth 

142 Childhood 

year. Parallel play is readily abandoned for the sake of associative and 
cooperative play as soon as the child becomes acquainted with others. 
Yet if the proportion of time spent with others is extended, tears, quar- 
rels, reproofs, and occasional minor hurts usually accompany all the vivid 
forms of social interaction, pointing to the need of direct adult super- 
vision to avoid possible deterioration of social manners. 

Parents have a challenging responsibility to provide opportunities for 
early social experience. It is their task to stimulate adjustive and co- 
operative tendencies through verbal instruction and experiences. They 
may have to moderate the child's desire to dominate, to secure the lime- 
light, and to be excessively possessive, all of which interfere with progress 
in socialization. When parents perform their part, this task is likely to be 
successful because the child from the age of four on has a strong desire 
to please the adult. 


During the preschool years the child learns to recognize the bound- 
aries of his behavior. Because of parental verbal conditioning, some 
forms of activity are seen as undesirable or regrettable. At this age, the 
child can be taught moral values and principles of justice and honesty 
in fair play. In reference to some more obvious situations, the moral 
sense will respond and gradually deepen in its manifestations unless 
parents are unwilling to make any contribution of this kind through in- 
struction and example. Progress in moral conduct is largely dependent 
upon inculcation of moral concepts. These, in turn, must be closely re- 
lated to intellectual maturation and emotional identification with the 
ideals suggested. 

Religious experience often commences with interested observation of 
specific acts, such as the sign of the cross or a short prayer like grace. 
The introduction of religious articles and the explanation given to 
questions pertaining to them aflFord another opportunity for religious 

At five and six years of age if not earlier, the child is capable of under- 
standing all fundamental religious concepts, such as the idea of God as 
the Creator and the heavenly Father, the meaning of prayer, of heaven 
and angels, of hell and devils. Illustrated stories of the life of Christ and 
stories from the Bible and about the Saints can provide the material 
and a further incentive for a comprehensive religious education. The 
child's curiosity and natural susceptibility to a variety of religious ex- 
periences assist greatly in the implantation of moral guides in under- 
standing the major purpose and meaning of human life [8, pp. 48; 135 ff.]. 

Preschool Age 143 


Although infancy marks the beginning of personaHty development in 
most of its dimensions, the preschool years contribute much toward its 
differentiation and total integration. Various personality factors operating 
within the child are highly affected by environmental stimuli. Since the 
young child is consistently exposed to the social stimuli of his parents, 
other children, and other adults, and establishes strong interactional ties 
with them, his personality and natural tendencies are verbally molded 
by them. Through reinforcement, the earlier responses acquire an in- 
creasingly greater strength and promote trait, habit, and attitude forma- 
tion. Parents may enjoy and reward the relatively mature responses to 
everyday situations, including frustrations, and by doing so promote 
maturity; conversely, if they are pleased with certain immature habits 
and behavior on the part of the child, and respond favorably to them, 
they deprive him of incentives to grow. Preschool training may lack 
moral and religious instruction. It may even omit stimuli for the develop- 
ment of an attitude of self -worth. It may disregard any cultivation of the 
positive emotions and sentiments, and miss providing any more mature 
companions. Any such omission may act as a handicap for wholesome 
progress in personality development, and dispose the child toward vari- 
ous inadequacies and maladaptions to reality. Attitudes of dependence 
or inferiority may emerge as a consequence and plague the child now 
and din-ing adolescence and adulthood. 

At this stage of development, the child's beliefs, attitudes, and traits are 
also significantly affected by his association with neighborhood children 
and all other individuals he meets. If any major difference with others 
exists, e.g., in reference to discipline or language, it may be a sufficient 
reason for the formation of some kind of coarse association and may 
form a basis for an undesirable attitude. 

While the infant's awareness extends over various environmental 
factors, other persons, and certain aspects of his own individuality, the 
preschool child soon attains a very definite self-consciousness, and as the 
months and years pass, he makes significant progress in self-organization. 
His traits, attitudes, and habits become incorporated into a personal self- 
system, a new object of his observation, a new frame of reference for his 
assertion as a personality. The self is a perceiver, knower, and judge of 
the person in his over-all dimensions, qualities, characteristics, roles, and 
relationships. A. T. Jersild [5, pp. 179-180] explains self as a composite 
of thoughts and feelings which constitute a person's awareness of his 
individual existence, characterized by perceptual, conceptual, and atti- 
tudinal components. "As the child matures, his self -hood is the sum and 
substance of his own existence as a human being." 

144 Childhood 

Psychologically then, the child becomes more removed from his en- 
vironmental context and from other persons. At times at least, he may 
suspend activity in order to think and estimate or to delve into his feel- 
ings and fantasy. By disregarding some existing objects and persons, he 
may restrict his psychological frame of reference. Such self -preoccupa- 
tion is frequently superseded by a desire for social interaction. As his 
mind works, he finds out that he has a secret to tell someone he loves. 
In the case of a white lie, this should not call forth any reprimand at this 
age since the child merely experiments with his developing abilities and 
often does not make a clear distinction between sensory perception and: 
other forms of imagery. 

Landmarks of his ability and limitation as appraised or imposed by\ 
others and his environment may be perceived acutely, examined, and his 
own conclusions drawn. Loss or change, such as the loss of cut hair or a. 
tooth or a change in the typical appearance of his parent, often stimu-ii 
lates fearfulness and deep concern about self-identity and the identity^! 
of others close to him. During the fifth and sixth year, the child consoli- 
dates most of his new developmental gains and usually accomplishes' 
their over-all organization in his particular personality pattern. In such aij 
case, he becomes a more secure and self-reliant individual, who possesses 
a mode of adjustment to his problems and is able to tolerate quite a bit 
of anxiety and frustration. 


1. Specify some motor controls attained during the preschool years and indicate 
some basic implications of these achievements. 

2. Indicate some differences between toy play and make-believe play. , 

3. List and describe emotional developments during preschool years. Explain the' 
need and role of parental afiFection. 

4. Enumerate and describe the major tasks of speech development. Indicate th© 
role of bihngual education. 

5. What are some of the questions frequently asked by children? Why should 
parents answer the child's questions carefully? 

6. What social tendencies have to be encouraged at this age? Why? 

7. What makes a child a moral being? What are the indications that the pre-( 
school child is susceptible to religious experiences and concepts? 

8. Indicate some signs of the child's self-awareness. How does self-awareness aflFecl 
child personality? 


I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Landreth, Catherine. The Psychology of Early Childhood. New York: Knopf 
1958. Sectorial presentation of various kinds of behavior; includes problems inherenJ 
in the study of behavior, stresses environmental circumstances and interpersonal 

Preschool Age 145 

2. Rand, Winifred, et al. Growth and Development of the Young Child. (6th ed.) 
Philadelphia: Saunders, 1958. A clearly written text on early developmental phases; 
stresses physical factors, needs, and parent-child relationships. 

II. Specific References 

3. Bender, Lauretta. Aggression, Hostility and Anxiety in Children. Springfield, 
111.: Charles C Thomas, 1953. 

4. Fahey, George L. The Questioning Activity of Children. /. genet. Psychol., 
1942, 60, 337-357. 

5. Jersild, Arthur T. Child Psychology. (5th ed. ) Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice- 
Hall, 1960. 

6. McCarthy, Dorothea. Language Development in Children. In L. Carmichael 
(Ed.), Manual of Child Psychology. (2nd ed.) New York: Wiley, 1954. 

7. Mueller-Eckhard, Hans. Das unverstandene Kind. (5th ed.) Bonn, 1958. 

8. Pikunas, Justin. Fundamental Child Psychology. Milwaukee: Bruce, 1957. 

9. Smith, Madorah E. An Investigation of the Development of the Sentence and 
the Extent of Vocabulary in Young Children. Univer. Iowa Stud. Child Welfare, 
1926, 3, No. 5. 

10. Sontag, L. W. Dynamics of Personality Formation, /. Pers., 1951, 1, 119-130. 

11. Spitz, R. A. The Psychogenic Diseases in Infancy: An Attempt at Their 
Etiologic Classification. Psychoanal. Stud. Child, 1951, 6, 255-278. 

12. TempHn, Mildred C. Certain Language Skills in Children, Their Development 
and Interrelationships. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1957. 

13. Van Riper, C. Teaching Young Child to Talk. New York: Harper, 1950. 



Middle Childhood 

THE MIDDLE years of childhood encompass the sixth, seventh, eighth, and 
ninth years of the child's life. School readiness and the actual entering 
of school, extension of intellectual horizons, increase of moral and re- 
ligious motivation, great interest in peers, expanding independence from 
parents, and improved self-identification are the milestones in this phase 
of development. 

The phase commences with some somatic disequilibrium due to the 
continual loss of the first set of teeth and emergence of the first perma- 
nent molars, as well as susceptibility to colds and infectious childhood 
diseases. Passive withdrawal, dawdling and impulsiveness, increased 
excitability and inconsistency, oscillation and mental conflicts character- 
ize the psychological tendencies at this age for at least some time. 

Beginning with the seventh year, a slower growth in height and weight 
enables the child to gain symmetry and balance in both physical per- 
formances and mental operations. Control over the large muscles ap- 
proaches its completion, while control over the small muscles is mod- 
erately advanced. Since the child's energy amounts are great at this 
phase, he is constantly in motion, but he increases his caution. Active 
play, such as running or catching, playing ball or riding a bicycle, and 
jumping rope or dancing, may be practiced until exhaustion unless adults 
direct such activities. The child is now interested in and delighted with 
his accomplishments. The desire for appreciation from others for his per- 
formances is great. A further endeavor is readily stimulated by adult 
interest in the child's activities. 

Water, sand, and dirt play may be engaged in for hours by both boys 
and girls. Boys are very interested in constructive play, where they can 
use simple mechanical devices, such as hammer, knife, scissors, scooter, 


Middle Childhood 147 

and bicycle. Girls and boys enjoy drawing as one of the finest self-expres- 
sive activities, portraying reality as it is imprinted on their minds. As the 
child's education is advanced, drawing takes on definite meaning, form, 
and accuracy. Coloring and finger painting is another attraction to the 
child of this age, especially to the emotionally disturbed child. Many 
children take up collecting coins, coupons, marbles, stamps, and comic 


Many factors are continually shaping the personality of the preschool 
child. In all individual cases these influences vary in kind and, especially, 
in degree. Some factors exert a considerable pressure at a certain age and 
then decline in their influence as new factors enter the stage and modify 
their roles. By the time the child enters school, he has been exposed to a 
variety of family influences and to the physical and social factors of his 
neighborhood. Furthermore, he has met many adults and children who 
affected his mind's receptive apperception and motivations in countless 
ways. The afore-mentioned influences produced readiness and an actual 
emergence of certain traits, attitudes, and generalized response patterns. 
From his mother and father the child received his first training and edu- 
cation, and these were enriched by his outside contacts. Because the 
child's education is advanced at the time he enters school, the school will 
act as a supplement to the family in promoting the child's intellectual, 
social, and personality developments in their many and intricate varia- 
bles. Beyond that, the school situation is unique in many ways. Here the 
child is first entrusted daily to another adult and gets into a large group 
of peers, most of whom he does not know in any way. In this group 
situation he will spend a great portion of his day, and his abilities and 
social adjustments wiU be challenged. From this point of view, the child 
entering school is a typical beginner whose success or failure depends 
much on his level of maturity, which, in turn, implies mastery of the 
preschool tasks and a general preparation to face the forthcoming school 
responsibilities. Let us examine at least a few major categories of school 
foundation tasks and see whether or not an individual child has a satis- 
factory experience reservoir on which to rely in making new situational 
responses at school. 

The child's separation from his family and neighborhood environment 
necessitated by school entrance is successful only when the child is ready 
to make satisfactory adjustments to the novel aspects of school life. The 
child's ability and his preparation are two outstanding factors in school 
adjustment. The child's ability depends much on mental development 
and on progress in doing things for himself. While mental maturation 

148 Childhood 

can be only moderately advanced by educational home environment, the 
development of personal habits and skills is closely related to opportu- 
nity and encouragement. Praise for attempts to dress up, to button clothes, 
and to put on shoes almost works miracles in the child's mastery over his 
apparel. His success in these simple daily activities helps to establish 
feelings of adequacy. 

The child's preparation for school includes his frequent exposure to 
social play situations, in which he is taught to assume roles and to co- 
operate with others. His ability to interact efficiently with other children 
is usually indicative of a proper emotional development, including con- 
trol over the infantile forms of excitability and anger. 

Language skills are directly related to a child's education. A school 
child has to be able to communicate comprehensively his needs, 
thoughts, and experiences. His intellectual curiosity is verbalized by the 
"How?" and "Why?". These and similar questions indicate the child's 
level of understanding as well as the subject matter in which he is "most 

Prior to entering school, the child's interests have been self- and 
parent-centered. The extent of interaction and sharing has been limited 
and for the most part a one-way process unless the child was one of sev- 
eral siblings or the sense of give-and-take was stimulated by his educated 
parents. Emotional impulses and other forms of self-assertion typified 
many of his responses, while cooperativeness in playing and doing things 
together was usually of short duration. 

C. V. Millard [2, pp. 6-8] questions whether the typical first-grade 
school environment is compatible with the inevitable stormy beginning 
in a new developmental phase. The cultural demand of school attendance 
comes at a time when many children are not as yet ready in terms of 
either their maturational level or psychological development. "Even 
under the best of circumstances the inability of first-graders to behave 
consistently will result in much confusion." In school adjustment, most 
six-year-olds often appear to be regressing rather than progressing in 
knowledge and behavior. Physiological instability and new demands at 
this level produce moderate or severe strain. In kindergarten a child 
often made letters without any particular diflBculty. As a first-grader he 
may write them backwards. He may read a few lines in a story one day 
but on the next day fail to recognize any of the words. Because of his 
lack of maturity in personal-social relations, he naturally will and must 
make mistakes since he is confronted with more problems than he is 
ready to solve. His errors usually are those of going to one extreme or 
another. He becomes insistent and aggressive or meek and hesitant, or he 
may attempt tasks beyond his potentialities. In school and on the play- 
ground, he has the urge to win, to conquer, to subdue. 

Middle Childhood 149 

Explanatory and illustrative material from Mental Hygiene in the 
Classroom [7, p. 48] describes entering school as a period of stress. First- 
grade teachers know that each year they are apt to have at least one 
beginner who will cry, run home, refuse to participate in group activities, 
or cling to his mother when she brings him to school. The reasons for this 
behavior vary; one child may not be accustomed to a group, while an- 
other may have a fear implanted by some older child or adult through 
stories of punishment a teacher may inflict. 

Andrew, an only child who has just entered school this fall, is causing his 
teacher much concern. He cries, does not play with others, and runs home 
when he gets the opportunity. 

Several contributing factors are suggested in the situation: (1) probably 
he has been overprotected at home; (2) probably he is not very well; (3) 
probably he is naturally stubborn. 

The assumption that the child is naturally timid or stubborn is a mere eva- 
sion of the problem. The judgment that the child is ill is probably wrong since 
when a child is really ill, he usually runs a fever and exhibits other symptoms 
which generally can be recognized by both parent and teacher. The first re- 
sponse seems to best fit the situation. Adaptation to school is di£Bcult for be- 
ginners, especially if they have had few playmates of their own age, and if 
they have been overprotected. 

A teacher's approach in dealing with a "problem child" in school may 
be illustrated by the following brief case account [7, pp. 40-43]: 

A teacher discovered among her pupils a child whose home life was very 
unhappy. The girl came to school with a disturbed frame of mind and was 
often rude to her classmates as well as defiant toward her teacher. The teacher 
was sorry for her but felt that the standard of discipline for the room must be 
maintained. Several modes of treatment are possible in such a case: 

1. Be strict with her, punishing her when she commits an antisocial act, 
for she must learn that conformity is expected regardless of one's frame of 

2. Insist that she conform to the same standards that the other children 
follow so that they will not think that she is favored. 

3. Deal with her as a special case, attempting to make her happy in school 
and aiding her whenever possible in deriving satisfaction from her school work. 

When a child irritates the teacher by not conforming to the school routine, 
there may be an inclination to punish psychologically if not physically. If 
teachers would always attempt to discover causes of the difiiculty, punish- 
ment could often be avoided. While it is admitted that teachers must maintain 
order, there are more constructive ways of doing this than through fear. If 
conditions out of school are such that the child brings to the classroom a dis- 
turbed state of mind, sympathetic and understanding treatment is more likely 
to bring good results, or at least they will not add to the trouble. It is unwise 
to meet the unhappy, defiant child with set rules and rigid discipline. It is 

150 Childhood 

better to study and help such a child achieve satisfying companionship and 
successful accomplishment in his school work. 

A teacher may have to make many efforts in helping a child develop 
a satisfactory level of self-control by getting him to recognize that dis- 
cipline and punishment are not merely teacher-imposed, but are a natural 
consequence of his acts. 

A child with a temper tantrum was segregated from the group with the 
understanding that the group did not like to have its work and play disturbed 
in this manner. The child's recognition of the natural disadvantages of mis- 
behavior was ultimately more helpful to him than obedience enforced through 

A class may present a situation of continuing tension and frustration 
for a considerable proportion of children who are slow learners [8, situa- 
tion 1]: 

The third grade in school "X" is composed of children whose intelligence 
levels vary from the gifted to the dull. In this particular class there is a slightly 
larger number of slow learners than in a normal distribution of school popu- 
lation. Six children in the class just cannot seem to keep up with the rest of 
the class, no matter how hard they try. A few of these children are beginning 
to show what might be considered as expected reaction to such a situation 
of daily defeat by seeking an escape through truancy. 

One or two others are reacting to their frustration by aggressive, class-dis- 
turbing behavior. One child is becoming more withdrawn and defeated day 
by day. 

As is true for adults, the feeling of successful accomplishment is essential for 
children in developing wholesome attitudes toward themselves and toward 
others. Some degree of success should be possible for every student if suffi- 
cient sensibility to the need for such success is present in the minds of teachers 
and school staff and a sufficient variety of appropriate learning experiences is 

A class situation may develop in which tensions and hostilities arising 
among individuals or cliques are allowed to become magnified. 

Two pupils with potential leadership ability but with different ideas about 
how a certain field trip should be conducted, get into an argument about 
it, in which personalities clash. The argument about the field trip is settled 
by a class vote giving a fairly substantial majority to one side, but a small 
group of die-hards rally around the defeated leader and become an "opposi- 
tion group" toward all suggestions coming from outside. 

The opposition is one of feelings, not of ideas. Some aggressive expressions 
of hostility develop toward other members of the class, toward those in 
authority, toward school property. At the same time, certain personality 

Middle Childhood 151 

stresses and strains develop in some individual children as a result of this, 
even though they do not find any overt expression in the group conflict. 

Can something be done to keep group differences of opinion from becoming 
a spring board for antisocial group aggressiveness? Prevention is often an 
answer to such problems. 

Tensions and hostilities between individuals and groups can often be pre- 
vented from developing serious consequences if they are recognized at the 
beginning when the causes can be traced and dealt with more readily. 

Upon entrance to school, the child may learn for the first time that 
there are certain ethical principles and standards which must be re- 
spected in order to secure full acceptance and status within the group. 
By exposure to direct and indirect training, the child learns to observe 
rules, to accept the discipline as a necessary component of his school 
life, to play fairly, and to assist others as a means of promoting his own 
standing within the group and in respect to the teacher. The previous 
goal of securing acceptance at home is now amplified to include gaining 
the teacher's favor. 

During the first year in school, the child's abilities are magnified and 
expanded in many directions because new stimuli and new subjects are 
introduced and reinforced by the group reaction. The child is given 
tasks and projects which, in order for him to achieve good results, de- 
mand a certain amount of planning and persistence. In the case of any 
satisfactory accomplishments, he is praised by the teacher and other 
children. This tends to instill a feeling of achievement, of pride in his 
own ability, and ultimately it promotes self-confidence. The child then 
is ready for new and more difficult problems to master. 
j A teacher's guiding influence is manifold. She (or he) must use her 

/ imagination, a kind of friendly enthusiasm, and a play spirit, which 
enable her to live partially in a child's world in order to experience 
vicariously and express in her behavior the feelings, attitudes, and emo- 
tions she desires to develop in the group of children. She must make 
personal efforts to be alert, compassionate, and well balanced. Self- 
confidence and poise, high moral standards and a sense of humor, refine- 
ment and qualities of leadership are other personal attributes contrib- 
uting to her success in motivating learning and molding individuals 
and the group into a democratic pattern of living. The teacher is the 
responsible agent for every situation that emerges in the classroom. She 
has to encourage projects and activities which will reap satisfying results 
and discourage those in which success cannot be anticipated. Hence, she 
helps children to formulate their goals and to plan, execute, and evaluate 

] their performances. She needs a genuine interest and love of children, 

I knowledge of child development, and in addition a good training in 

/ educational methods and skills. 


152 Childhood 

Teachers' attitudes are basic components in the child's education. The 
following are the attitudes expressed by three teachers concerning pupil 
behavior [7, pp. 61-62]: 

1. Teachers should watch all children constantly, stopping them 
promptly the instant they get into mischief. All privileges should be 
temporarily withdrawn for the offense. 

2. When a child does what is wrong from the adult point of view, he 
should be withdrawn from the group so that he may think over his mis- 
conduct in solitude. 

3. When a child behaves in a socially unacceptable manner, the adult 
should explain what the right mode of behavior is and why it is right. 

Desirable conduct must be explained to children by means of a sympa- 
thetic discussion, without embarrassing them. A private interview is an 
excellent mode of conveying information and stimulation toward right 
conduct. Responsibility for children's mistakes in behavior is often due to 
failure on the part of parents and teachers to explain. With most children 
explanations have to be repeated several times even when the adult's 
relationship with the child is marked by rapport and understanding. 

By getting along with the group and performing routine duties and 
tasks, the child develops some freedom of action and self-reliance. Yet he 
has frequent opportunities to recognize the need of interaction and the 
desire for assistance, the two wishes promoting the process of socializa- 
tion. As the child's experience broadens, he learns to foresee and to work 
for more remote goals and in this way contributes much to his own 
maturity. Thus, going to school is one of the great milestones in the life 
of any child. 


In a series of books and articles, J. Piaget, an outstanding French 
psychologist, pioneered a major study on the child's mental development. 
By means of systematic firsthand observations and experiments, he 
worked out many techniques to gain factual data about language devel- 
opment, the process of thought, and concepts about various reality fac- 
tors. At the Maisons de Petits in Geneva, Switzerland, Piaget and his 
associates recorded most of the speech of a number of children over a 
period of a month and supplemented their free talk with questions de- 
signed to test the validity of hypotheses suggested by the analysis of 
the records. One of the final evaluations revealed the coeflScient of (or 
tendency to use) egocentric speech. For the group of children aged 
three to five the coefficient ranged from .54 to .60; for the group from five 
to seven it was down to about .45. From about seven years on the child's 
speech becomes sociocentric [10, p. 257]. Egocentrism prevents a child 

Middle Childhood 153 

from taking a point of view that he has never experienced himself. A 
child deals eflBciently with situations which he believes are true. 

When Piaget asked children, "When you go out for a walk, what does 
the sun do?," the responses indicated a conviction that the sun followed 
the children constantly. Some of the children believed that the sun 
watched over them or looked to see if they were good or naughty. At 
the age of eight, children began to show doubt about the idea that the 
sun followed them. Only much later were they ready to accept the 
theory that the sun stays in the same place all the time [9, pp. 214-219]. 

Many apparently obvious relationships are also not clearly recognized 
by children. Piaget's illustration of the Genevan children of eight, who 
say they are Genevan yet deny being Swiss, although they state correctly 
that Geneva is in Switzerland, serves to indicate this [10, p. 122]. 

A monograph on the Harvard Growth Study [6] and a later reanalysis 
of this data by E. L. Cornell and C. M. Armstrong [5] offer many in- 
sights into children's mental development as well as indicate their appli- 
cations to educational guidance of children. The desirability of classi- 
fying pupils by their growth patterns rather than by chronological age 
is brought out. A child whose IQ is 130 "grows" mentally 1.3 years of 
MA each year, while a child with an IQ of 70 "grows" 0.7 years of MA 
each year. Certainly these two children have different degrees of readi- 
ness for learning the three R's when they enter school and later on in 
their school career [5, pp. 199, 202]. 

As a child grows and learns to adapt himself better to his expanding 
environment of things and persons, he acquires more abstract concepts, 
becomes more objective and consequently less self-centered. The middle 
phase of childhood then begins to expire. 


A person in middle childhood has most of the human qualities and 
abilities at his disposal. Most of them are specialized into skills at this 
stage of growth. New fields of application open up, and the child has 
to be ready to move himself in. Most children are sufficiently confident 
and aggressive to make excellent use of their early years of education 
at home and in school. 

1. Knowledge in school subjects. Learning the fundamentals of school 
subjects, such as reading, spelling, writing, and arithmetic, is crucial at 
this level of development. The ability to apply one's expanding intellec- 
tual powers reaches science-oriented dimensions. The child is interested 
in practical application of his school subjects. Many children question 
their parents and teachers with this frame of reference. 

2. Recognizing social role. The development of effective relationships 

154 Childhood 

with parents and others is based on recognition of individual differences 
and pecuharities. The child explores and assesses others and their social 
roles. He allies with individuals who support him and develops loyalty 
to them; he also tries to come to terms with others who are seemingly 
antagonistic to him. He shows eagerness to acquire behavior and man- 
ners appropriate to his roles and sex and learns to relate himself to the 
roles of others. 

3. Emotional control. At this age, expansion of self-control is typically 
appHed to one's feelings, emotions, and drives. The child readily sees a 
need for it. He explores and uses acceptable ways of releasing energies 
pertaining to negative emotions. In this way, the child promotes his 
acceptability as a personality. A balance between readiness to help and 
to be helped is often established before the stage expires. 


Middle childhood inaugurates the years of advanced socialization with 
one's own peers. The child's desire to participate in the group activities 
of his peers is usually strong. Whenever groups of children assemble in 
the neighborhood, playground, or classroom, they soon form some lines 
of association and interaction. Socially cooperative activity comes into 
prominence. Quarreling, rivalry, and fighting become occasional rather 
than typical. Attempts to adjust to others are frequent. As the social 
interaction progresses, the individuals assume various roles, often in 
accordance with their interests and abilities. The child realizes that in 
order to be accepted he must act in a prescribed manner. Some children 
come to the fore in the appreciation of other playmates. They feel 
pleased and secure in an admiring group, but the efforts of others, espe- 
cially younger children, to join them are resisted. Some of the decisive 
factors in the constellation of attraction and rejection are linked with 
security in the home environment, common goals, values and attitudes, 
resourcefulness, and personality factors. 

Rudeness, loud talking, tattling, and the tendency to blame others are 
some of the self-protective dynamisms of insecure children. These are 
their ways of seeking to maintain their self-respect in the face of failure 
at successful group participation. Such children need satisfaction of 
their most immediate psychological needs in order to make them start 
reaching out toward more satisfactory group contacts. 

The need for others as companions grows in strength. Toward the end 
of this phase, the child approaches the "gang age." Group identi- 
fication and sentiments of pride, loyalty, and solidarity become powerful 
drives toward social intimacy of late childhood. The next chapter deals 
more extensively with the group life of the child. 

Middle Childhood 155 


Expansion of intellectual horizons on one hand and peer interaction 
on the other are two additional factors contributing to the appearance of 
questions pertaining to the domain of religion. The capacity to distin- 
guish between what is right and what is wrong gradually deepens. It can 
be applied to many situations in the life of the child if his inquiry is 
supported by instruction in moral concepts and principles. Otherwise, it 
remains precarious and at times confusing. The self-initiated practice of 
moral values and virtues, such as honesty, justice, and fortitude, may 
readily set in as the moral education advances. Embrace of others in 
such a pattern of life follows. Doing good for the sake of others begins to 
exercise some appeal. The circle of others typically includes the parents, 
family, and a few other close individuals. Then it may expand and en- 
compass individuals and groups to which the child is in some way related. 

The child's striving for approval and praise grows with age. Before 
this phase expires, fairness becomes one of the leading traits. Locating 
the person who starts any trouble means much to the child. It is impor- 
tant to get at the facts before any disciplinary action is taken. The child 
will take punishment as long as he realizes he deserves it. He is now 
more sensitive to public criticism and reproof because threats to his 
social prestige are diflBcult to accept. "Losing face" pulls a child down 
and often gives rise to feelings of inferiority. 


Increased independence from parental supervision and daily exposure 
to a large group of peers and to a teacher oflFer the child ample opportu- 
nities to develop a self-concept consistent with evaluation coming from 
several sources. Attitudes toward self are largely defined by appraisal by 
others. Parental estimation may have been somewhat one-sided whether 
favorable or not. If evaluative remarks were largely negative, the child's 
self-concept was necessarily distorted into a lack of self-acceptance and 
emotionalized self-assertion. At a later point, intra-aggressive tendencies 
began to be generated and a personal conflict felt. The situation may 
somewhat correct itself with expanding relationships and more objective 
remarks coming from the teacher and other children. A school child's 
self-appraisal is largely based on such appraisals by family and by others. 

Growth in selfhood is only in part autogenous. Much of it is ehcited 
by others with whom the child identifies himself. The child's efforts in 
correcting his behavior and avoiding exhibition of disapproved traits is 
also a factor in self-growth. Any improvement or expansion of self- 
control is a sign of increasing ego strength unless it involves repression 


156 Childhood 

of strong drives. In such a case, internal conflict develops and raises the 
level of tension. 

A child's self-control often has external origins. The child may begin 
to control his impulses when he wants to please his parent. He may 
inhibit one of his drives when he recognizes it as a reason for punish- 
ment. A child may show much ingenuity for gaining acknowledgment 
or praise. His parents' or teacher's sensitivity in responding to the child's 
eflForts may do much toward development of desirable traits and 

Parental direction of activities at this age is often helpful to the child 
in many respects. It helps, for example, toward establishment of internal 
control. External control helps him to acquire some new and useful 
habits and skills. Without some environmental conditioning the child's 
endowments are neglected. Instead, undesirable and maladjustive 
reactions get hold and often become habituated. 

Extensive conditioning, however, cuts down the child's initiative 
severely and makes him dependent on others. Such domination is likely 
to restrict curiosity and playful exploration of his environment. If re- 
stricted, the child cannot come to a full utilization of his internal en- 
dowments and assets to his best advantage. As a result, later adjustments 
and developments of self-direction become too diflBcult goals for 
which to strive. The dependent child may have little confidence in his 
adolescent drives for independence. 


1. What changes mark the entrance into the phase of middle childhood? 

2. What are the typical interests and activities at this period of development? 

3. Indicate some abilities and skills which are necessary for school adjustment in 
the first grade. 

4. Identify and describe the major findings of Piaget's studies on reasoning and 
language of children. 

5. Explain the teacher's role in the child's educational and social adjustment, 

6. What personality factors are operating in group acceptance and interpersonal 

7. Under what conditions are moral principles and virtues best assimilated by 

8. Identify the developmental tasks of this phase of life and explain one of them. 

9. How does appraisal by others affect the child's self-acceptance? 


I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Gesell, Arnold, and Frances L. Ilg. The Child from Five to Ten. New York: 
Harper, 1946. Developmental trends, interests, activities, and adjustments are pre- 
sented year by year, based on authors' observations and record of children's growth 
and behavior. 

Middle Childhood 157 

2. Millard, Cecil V. School and Child. East Lansing, Mich.: Michigan State Col- 
lege Press, 1954. Child's development is analyzed in terms of the first 6 grades; age- 
related problems and adjustment are considered and illustrated by a detailed case 

II. Specific References 

3. Berlyne, D. E. Recent Developments in Piaget's Work. Brit. J. Educ. Psychol. 
1951, 27, 3-5. 

4. Blatz, W. E. Psychological Analysis of the Children in the First Three Grades 
of School. Educ. Dig., 1958, 23, 40-43. 

5. Cornell, E. L., and Chs. M. Armstrong. Forms of Mental Growth Patterns Re- 
vealed by Re-analysis of the Harvard Growth Data. Child Develpm., 1955, 26, 

6. Dearborn, W. F., et al. Data on the Growth of Pubhc School Children. Monogr. 
Soc. Res. Child Develpm., 2938, 3, No. 1. 

7. Joint Committee on Health Problems in Education et al. Mental Hygiene in the 
Classroom. Chicago: American Medical Association, 1948. 

8. New York State Education Department, Mental Health Committee. Removing 
Blocks to Mental Health in School. Albany, N.Y., 1954. 

9. Piaget, Jean. The Child's Conception of the World. New York: Humanities 
Press, 1951. 

10. Piaget, Jean. Judgment and Reasoning in the Child. New York: Humanities 
Press, 1952. 



late Childhood 

THE MAJORITY of children attain this level of maturity at approximately 
nine years of age. This last phase of childhood proper is also referred to 
as preadolescence. It expires with the oncoming puberal changes de- 
scribed in the following chapter. The years of late childhood are marked 
by an increasing growth in critical ability, by theoretical questioning 
about causes and eflFects, by resistance to adult expectations, and by 
emotional identification with compeers. Interests and activities begin 
to reflect the child's sex more closely. Furthermore, this stage of child- 
hood is characterized by substantial gains in emotional self-control and 
readiness to assume responsibility for one's own actions. 

Rapid acceleration of peer-group influence, discussed at length in the 
forthcoming sections, makes it one of the most influential factors in the 
young person's motivation. In various respects parental and other adult 
control subsides. Time and again the parental grips are outmaneuvered 
by molding factors of the group life. Children's ability to size up both 
parents in terms of their moods and probable responses is now very much 
refined. Most older children know how and when to get certain privileges 
from them. They may eflBciently play upon the feelings and sentiments 
of either parent. When younger, they endowed their parents with all- 
seeing and all-knowing powers. Now, a dethroning process commences. 
This can be very disturbing to a parent who does not understand the 
shift that is taking place in the child's social standards and expectations. 
The preadolescent often rejects what grownups consider to be good 
manners; he criticizes everything and everyone, lacks consideration for 
parents, and behaves boisterously. All these are characteristics which 
adults find difficult to overlook. Despite these ventures, the child needs 
the warmth of an integrated home. Here he wants to heal the wounds 
inflicted on his self-esteem by some of his companions. In times of trou- 


Late Childhood 159 

ble, whether he or someone else is the cause of it, he needs the support 
of his parents. He desires a full understanding when the fruits of growing 
up turn a little bitter. 

In relation to his siblings, the child at this age is impressed by older 
brothers or sisters, while younger children are seen as inferior in prowess 
and their company is unwelcome in his thrilling exploits. Squabbling and 
rivalry among siblings are almost unavoidable. The child may be friendly 
one minute but scrappy as an alley cat the next. Occasionally he may 
derive sheer delight from embarrassing, bullying, or tormenting others, 
yet extreme forms of these acts are usually avoided. Sibling support and 
companionship is often sought. At this age they readily "gang up" 
against their parents. 


The completion of the first four grades of school usually implies some 
competence in the fundamental abilities and skills necessary to acquire 
further and advanced knowledge. Most children are now ready for a 
more complex curriculum. Their interest in extracurricular activities 
increases noticeably too. The fourth grade is often the first grade in 
which the child is pressed to use abstraction and judgment in addition 
to retention. Arithmetic and social studies begin to lead beyond memo- 
rization. Therefore, some children make a spurt ahead in their standing, 
while some others begin to have diflBculties. It is then necessary to see 
that the less able children are not left with a completely frustrating sense 
of defeat. It is better for the child when teachers try to better his own 
accomplishments, rather than motivate him to compete against the more 
endowed students. 

Now he is ready to read something for himself, to deal with fractions; 
his sense for history improves; he is ready to observe, abstract, and 
generalize; he now takes notice of individual diflFerences. He has little 
diflBculty understanding explanations whether these are related to right 
and wrong, to social manners, or to cultural matters. At this level, chil- 
dren often develop interests and ideas of their own. These are the conse- 
quences of their previous experience and present thinking, elicited by 
movies, friends, and other influences. Children are eager to learn more 
about their immediate environment, their country, other nations, and 
the universe as well. Interests and knowledge about world history, geog- 
raphy, and the secrets of nature gradually gain in depth and understand- 
ing. Their motivation to master new skills and techniques is dynamic 
and consistent. Nine- or ten-year-olds may spend the entire afternoon 
with a chemistiy kit, a book of interest, or a knitting task and work hard 
in order to learn more or to accomplish something. Much time is spent 

160 Childhood 

in group projects, athletics, and other social activities which now seem 
to take preference over school work and time spent in the companionship 
of parents. 

The progressive-education policy of not retaining a slow-developing 
child but allowing him to pass on to the next grade level soon places 
almost unsurmountable obstacles in his own academic as well as social 
self-assertion. Children who have not acquired the knowledge and skills 
of previous grades have little foundation enabling them to be eager and 
interested in the more advanced and complicated subjects and pro- 
cedures. Fear, worry, insecurity, and feelings of inadequacy all may be 
stirred up and lead to generation of anxiety which, in turn, may disturb 
the physiological and mental functioning of a child. 

Compulsory promotion is based on the child's social integration. Group 
identity, it is believed, plays a key role in the child's security, promotes 
his feelings of adequacy, and contributes substantially to his emotional 
growth and adjustment. Whether this really does outweigh the unde- 
sirable influences resulting from lack of academic success and little 
success in all other activities is indeed questionable. It is felt that such 
a situation leads to more serious academic deficiencies later, which, in 
turn, will germinate further emotional problems. 


During preadolescence peer interaction reaches its peak for the phases 
of childhood. Boys and girls show much eagerness to join others of their 
own age and status. They readily develop emotional attachments and 
experience pride in their friends and in being looked upon as a member 
of a group or organization. Group plays, team games, and seasonal ath- 
letic activities exercise much appeal and result in many vigorous engage- 
ments. Everyone feels obliged to assume a role assigned to him by others 
and to contribute to the preferred group activities. Obedience to a leader 
and conformity to the group standards in their basic respects is a general 
prerequisite for complete acceptance. Common interests, standards, and 
ideals are some of the major factors attracting children to groups. 

In order to gain excitement, engaging in adventures is frequently one 
of the objectives of group life. Much depends on the suggestion of the 
leader. The child who surpasses other members of the group in strength 
or in achievement in preferred activities usually has a direct opportunity 
to assume leadership of the group. Awareness of the likes and dislikes, 
of the interests and social ideals of other children adds much to this 
leadership potential. Friendliness, enthusiasm, daring, and originality 
are other qualities highly appreciated by children. It is not unusual when 
a child with delinquent tendencies becomes a leader and the whole 

Late Childhood 161 

group follows his ideas and contributes in the performance of some 
delinquent behavior. 

Companionship of one's peers is urgently needed and constantly 
sought. Many children come to school simply to be and play with their 
companions. Two or more children with similar needs or interests are 
likely to form an alliance for they can understand each other's desires, 
and the association is gratifying to each of them. The gang is a result 
of many spontaneous eflForts on the part of children to form a society 
adequate to meet their needs. 

Cooperation and competition run high during this stage of develop- 
ment. A child may often develop an intense drive to work untiringly in 
order to beat others, including his best friends. Motivation to make a 
showing for himself in order to gain approval or prestige is dynamic. 
When rivalry between groups is involved, he is likely to exert himself as 
much for "his side" as he will for personal recognition. Competition has 
some advantages as well as disadvantages for older children. In the 
process of competing, the child may discover capacities within himself 
which he had not otherwise realized. It also helps him to assess the hmits 
of his abilities. 

On the other hand, competition will become harmful when a tendency 
to regard oneself as inferior is produced, or when it makes many other 
children unhappy. Group activities may also take too much time, and a 
child may be deprived of the opportunity to complete his school work, 
or may be neglectful of some responsibilities to his home. Some gang 
activities are surrounded by code language and other secrecies. Much 
depends on the members' class and living district, and on exceptions to 
their codes of conduct. In the group situation the child is less inhibited. 
Therefore, some undesirable tendencies may more readily gain free rein 
when support from others is secured. For example, conflicts and fights 
with other gangs and at times with the law-enforcing agencies some- 
times occur. 

The strength of group identification increases with the progress of this 
phase. The child now begins partially to transfer his emotional identifica- 
tion from parents to compeers. Peer ties may be marked by loyalty and 
solidarity. Since the group life engraves its imprints on the personality 
of the child, the parental influence gradually declines in favor of the 
former. Naturally these two influences operate simultaneously in molding 
children's preferences, interests, and attitudes. Under desirable circum- 
stances these influences reinforce each other. More often, however, they 
conflict and oppose at least in some ways, giving rise to personal con- 
flicts and anxieties. Increased participation in a peer society seems to 
reinforce resistance to adult standards and guidance. 

The groupings at this stage are frequently homogeneous; members of 

162 Childhood 

the opposite sex are rarely if ever included in the more compact and 
emotionally toned groupings. Generally girls engage less in group activ- 
ities. For the most part their gangs are small, consisting of three to five 
girls. They usually meet at the home of one of them. Parents scrutinize 
a girl's behavior more carefully than a boy's. A more limited amount of 
freedom is granted to girls. 

By means of gang activities, a child receives some important training 
in social relationships which could not be obtained with such success 
under conditions imposed by adults. Growth in cooperation may be 
magnified and conversational skills developed. 

It has been suggested that "gang spirits" can be diverted to better- 
supervised channels of social activity through child clubs sponsored by 
schools and adult organizations. It is a truism that the Boy Scouts, Girl 
Scouts, and Camp Fire Girls exert a powerful influence upon the social 
and personality traits of children, yet it is questionable whether or not 
the adult-sponsored clubs can completely fill the need of the preadoles- 
cent to "go it alone." 

Children's clubs and camps have to insure (1) sufficient guidance to 
secure wholesome activities, and (2) enough freedom to satisfy the 
child's preference for directing his own affairs in individual and group 
situations. When the child learns ethical conduct in an organization 
under competent adult supervision, he can be trusted to be guided by 
these standards when he is away from adults. 


Sexual typing may be understood as a process of intrapsychic identi- 
fication with those personality qualities and traits which pertain to one's 
own sex. It begins with a closer identification with the parent of the 
same sex as soon as childhood commences. The boy's sex awareness at 
late childhood seems to be consistent with the lack of any significant 
sexual development during the phases of childhood. Many boys are 
interested in reading about the origins of the human individual and 
about interpersonal relationships. Some interest may also be directed 
toward the father's role. Affective attachments, however, are usually 
directed toward other boys who have similar interests and needs. Thus, 
playmates are almost exclusively boys. Girls' social and emotional ties 
are directed to other girls. At the ten-year level, the segregation of boys 
and girls is almost complete. Social contacts are marked by aloofness, 
lack of response, mocking, annoying and apparent contempt, and shy 
withdrawal. The cleavage is pronounced in the later part of preado- 
lescence. Most boys and girls at this phase find that they do not like the 
opposite sex. Disparaging remarks are more frequent than occasional. 

Late Childhood 163 

Ganging up and deriding members of the other sex also occur at this 
phase. Play activities and interests diverge sharply too. Boys prefer vig- 
orous and competitive activities, such as sports, bicycle rides, hiking, 
and mechanics. Girls* interests center on clothes, handicrafts, art appre- 
ciation, household assistance, and other quiet or sedentary activities. 
Jumping rope, swimming, and skating appear to be their most active 
plays. Probably because of her closer association with the mother, the 
girl's perception of her sex-typed role is more advanced than that of a 
boy. She is more often embarrassed when conversation includes topics 
having a sexual connotation. She thinks more about her future role as a 
mother. Her interest in boys arises earlier, yet she may continue aloofness 
or scorn. Beyond the fa9ade of indifference, she is eager to learn dancing, 
to develop her social manners and conversational skills. In many in- 
stances she is ready to interact and uses some means to attract boys' 
attention. Thus, she feels ready to make adjustments in her social rela- 
tionships with members of the other sex. 

Occasionally, strong hesitations to identify oneself with a sex-linked 
role occur before this phase expires. At the time of puberty changes, 
strivings for masculinity may appeal to a girl for some time and be at- 
tempted, yet do not gain strength as she advances into adolescence. 
Dangers of a too close and too deep association with members of the 
same sex are infrequent yet possible, especially when cross-parent re- 
lationships are poor. In the case of an absence of the cross-parent rela- 
tionship due to death, divorce, or separation, the child is deprived of a 
model from whom to assimilate the qualities and traits which relate 
to the sex role. 

Association with and clinging to members of one's own sex appears to 
be a natural tendency restraining interpersonal relationships at this 
phase so that a maturing child may have time and opportunity to ad- 
vance his orientation and adjust to his own sex. This then may help in 
avoiding conflict or confusion from contrasting urges possible at this 
age. Since significant persons in her environment usually expect a girl 
to show feminine qualities and engage in typically feminine activities, 
intimate relationships with other girls is of real assistance in meeting such 
adult demands. Furthermore, whether indirectly by providing special 
materials and opportunities, or directly by expressing their attitudes, 
adults discourage the girl's tomboyish behavior and strenuous or aggres- 
sive activities culturally associated with the role of a boy. 


At this phase, a child consolidates his personality gains of the earlier 
years. The concept of self undergoes new developments as his identity 

164 Childhood 

becomes more related to peer society. He also attains a new level of 
self-expression in advanced school work and gang activities. 

The person's experiential background has outlined the contours of his 
view of himself. Except in some cases where considerable damage to 
the concept of self-worth has been produced, the child considers him- 
self as being good and capable of accomplishing his tasks. His own abili- 
ties and assets are usually estimated in terms of school standing, athletics, 
or popularity. The child is ready to use his powers and prefers activity 
which tests his ability. He sets high standards and desires to perform 
well. The attitude toward self is thus based on an expanded frame of 
reference. Personal problems in relating to others, parents and peers 
alike, may give a child the impression he is changing for the worse. 
Parents may strongly reinforce this self-devaluation, especially if his 
efforts at self -improvement are not given careful consideration. Such 
efforts are frequent when a child recognizes the need for improvement. 
If permitted opportunities, he is able to capitalize on his own strengths 
and assets. The climate in which shortcomings are accepted is favorable 
to new growth. When faults are not accepted, he is forced to turn toward 
self-defenses by denial or rationalization. 

The child's sensitivity to the approval and disapproval of people 
significant in his eyes increases. It now more definitely encompasses the 
reactions of peers toward himself. These reactions impress him even 
more as the stage advances. The less skilled children have many diffi- 
culties asserting themselves with their peers. Hence, the need of social 
facilitation and emotional support from adults may often play a crucial 
role in an individual's self-acceptance and his over-all adjustments to 
others. Development of some special capacity may be of much help to 
him. Thus, stimulation of athletic prowess, dancing skill, or ability to 
play a musical instrument may assist in socialization and personal matu- 
ration. Relating oneself efficiently to others is something that matters 
to both boys and girls, especially the latter. Learning the skills to re- 
late efficiently, such as modes of conversation and etiquette, is a crucial 
factor in personality development. 


The stabilization of psychological gains which takes place at this 
phase is conducive to character development. Character may be seen 
as a configuration of traits that are related to ethical and moral prin- 
ciples and virtues. Yet some outside prerequisites do exist for affecting 
and accelerating the development of character. Consistency of parental 
behavior in terms of values and principles, parental discipline, and the 
moral sense of parental responsibility are some of them. 

Late Childhood 165 

Most parental behavior aflFects children. It influences them in a num- 
ber of direct and indirect ways. If parents are internally guided by a 
religious philosophy of life, they accept a certain hierarchy of values and 
act in accordance with them. Children are often instructed about such 
values and the value-based ethical principles, such as honesty, truth- 
fulness, fair play, loyalty, and responsibility to God for their personal 
acts. Emotional identification with their parents readily encompasses 
assimilation of parental conduct. Generalization and transfer of such 
behavior standards is then expanded to many aspects of a child's think- 
ing and acting. Parental, church, and social reinforcements complete a 
reliance on such guides. Codification of principles and ideals commences. 
A child at this age understands practical necessities and is ready to 
modify principles or rules to fit circumstances. 

At about ten years of age and later, most children are ready to as- 
sume increasing responsibilities toward others, such as baby sitting, 
patrolling the street crossing, or earning money by a part-time job in a 
store. Their identification with a duty or task assigned to them improves 
as the stage advances. The sense of right and wrong becomes more 
deeply assimilated. Most children will not cheat when they are sure 
of being trusted. With the advancement of control over the impulsive 
and emotional tendencies, parental and school controls assist the de- 
velopment of self-control based on ethical and moral principles. The 
foundations for adolescence and adulthood are consolidated. Religious 
motivation, when developed by instruction and example, reinforces in 
many ways the moral sensitivity. A desire to act consistently in order to 
fulfill the will of the Creator arises, and it is strengthened by religious 
practice. The child's devotion to religious practice becomes deeply en- 
trenched in his mind only if reinforced by additional instruction about 
its meaning and by example set by parents and peers. 

Moral and religious values gradually gain in power to direct chil- 
dren's behavior toward personally and socially desired goal objects. 
An increase in their guiding power makes the philosophy of life based 
on religion a manifest reality. It paves the way toward useful roles and 


At each stage of development, a certain maximum is attained some 
time before the period expires. At ten to eleven, the majority of children 
arrive at their preadolescent maximum and appear to stop for a while. 
This, then, is a time for efiicient preparation for forthcoming develop- 
mental tasks. 

Peer identification is one of the first antecedents of later adolescent 

166 Childhood 

and adult human identifications with persons of one's own age. At this 
phase, close peer associations are practically limited to members of the 
same sex. The emotional intimacy, however, reminds us of later identifi- 
cations. Frequent peer activities in large and small groups lay the foun- 
dations for a personally gratifying postpuberal crowd and clique rela- 

As a child becomes more ready to respond to the information and the 
suggestion of his age mates, as the leader or majority rule of his peers 
is responded to, the child recognizes alternatives and expands his per- 
spective. Then, in some home or school situations he may insist on act- 
ing on his own choice. Peer identification thus represents a major step 
toward self-reliance. It is noteworthy that a child of twelve or thirteen 
is occasionally concerned with and projects himself into a new cycle of 
development which will continue until the twenties. | 

Keeping adolescent developments and adjustments in mind, it is pos- 
sible to indicate some specific preparation needed at this age to lay a 
groundwork for satisfactory later behavior and personality organization. 
Fundamentally this preparation consists of instruction on the part of 
parents and learning on the part of the preadolescent person. Since the 
school takes a major role in developing children's intellectual functions, 
the home is primarily charged with moral, religious, and sexual instruction 
at this level of development. 

Throughout the phases of childhood, the growing person is at times 
exposed to information related to sexual matters. This information is 
bound to be incoherent and incomplete. Hence, advanced instruction is 
in place in order to correct and complete sex information as it pertains 
to the oncoming phases of life. The exact timing depends on many fac- 
tors, especially the rising need of the child concerned. The beginnings 
of puberal growth in height and weight may be one of the more 
definite indicators of such a need because they are succeeded by sexual 
maturation. It is felt that the parent of the same sex may serve well as 
an informant. If he feels this is too diflBcult a task for him, it is his duty 
to get a satisfactory substitute. Teachers, physicians, psychologists, and 
clergymen are often well prepared to convey this information. The instruc- 
tion is mainly concerned with the oncoming sexual developments and 
their basic implications. Books by Rev. Daniel A. Lord [3] and J. A. 
O'Brien [5] as well as some well-selected pamphlets [8, 10, 11, 13] 
may be of considerable assistance to the parent and sometimes to the 
prepubescent himself. The sex instruction presents not only the needed 
information but also seeks to convey the healthy attitudes which are so 

Explanation of some major moral implications is pertinent to the 
sexual instruction per se. Beyond this, most children need explanation 
of applications of right and wrong in various peer relationships and ac- 

Late Childhood 167 

tivities, a clarification of the concept of virtues, and an analysis of the 
relationships between moral conduct and reUgion. Such information 
may facilitate the development of conscience that, in turn, will make it 
easier to act in accordance with moral principles and virtues. The foun- 
dation of a moral character will be laid and strengthened before the 
final style of life is set. A frequent and reverent reference to religious 
values and the meanings of rehgious practices is bound to strengthen 
religious motivation and assist in making it the all-pervasive and crown- 
ing experience of human life. With moral insight and conscience and 
with a penetrating religious experience, the young person has the best 
possible resources to face the tasks of adolescence, adulthood, and of 
life itself. In childhood, much depended on what happened in infancy; 
so too in adolescence, to which the two following sections are devoted, 
much depends on the developments and adjustments during the later 
years of childhood. 


1. What are some new influences affecting the child's personality during the late 
years of childhood? 

2. Describe the child's relationship to his parents and to his siblings. 

3. How does an individual grow into child society? Describe the emergence of a 


4. What are some of the outstanding goals in child gang life? How are they 


5. In what ways do boys and girls differ at this stage? How do boys express their 
dislike for girls and vice versa? 

6. Why are children's clubs and organizations necessary? 

7. How are self-identity and self-appraisal modified by parents and by peers? 

8. What are the factors promoting character development? How does parental 
behavior affect children in this regard? 

9. What does a child need to get preparation for adolescent tasks of development? 


I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Blair, Arthur W., and William H. Burton. Growth and Development of the 
Preadolescent. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1951. A general source of pre- 
adolescent education and psychology. 

2. Gesell, Arnold, &t al. Youth: The Years from Ten to Sixteen. New York: Harper, 
1956. Maturity profiles, gradients and age trends are discussed on a year-to-year 

3. Lord, Daniel A. The Guidance of Parents. St. Louis: Queen's Work, 
1944. Many practical suggestions, vividly illustrated by examples and encompassing 
most aspects of child guidance, make this book a worthwhile source of parental 

4. Millard, Cecil V. Child Growth and Development in the Elementary School 
Years. Boston: Heath, 1951. An adequate source book on child development, learn- 
ing, and guidance during the primary school years. 

168 Childhood 

5. O'Brien, John A. Sex-Character Education. New York: Macmillan, 1953. The 
role sex plays in character development is analyzed. The need for and some practical 
steps toward promotion of sex instruction is emphasized by the book's several 

6. Strang, Ruth. An Introduction to Child Study (4th ed.) New York: Macmillan, 
1959. Age-related presentation of child development, its psychology and education. 
Part 5 deals with preadolescent years. 

II. Specific References 

7. Bernhardt, Karl S. Sex Education. Bull. Inst. Child Stud., U. of Toronto, 1954, 
16, 5-10. 

8. Brueckner, P. J. How to Give Sex Instructions. St. Louis: Queen's Work, 1940. 

9. Endebrock, Donald M. The Parental Obligation to Care for the Religious Edu- 
cation of Children. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 

10. Gruenberg, Sidonie M. The Wonderful Story of How You Were Born. New 
York: Doubleday, 1952. (For child reading.) 

11. Hymes, James L., Jr. The Technique of Sex Information. New York: Public 
Affairs Committee, 1949. 

12. Laughlin, Frances. The Peer Status of Sixth and Seventh Grade Children. 
New York: Columbia University Press, 1954. 

13. Swift, E. H. Step by Step in Sex Education. New York: Macmillan, 1948. 


Child Care and Development ( 17 min ) McGraw-Hill, 1950. Discusses adequate eat- 
ing, sleeping, exercise, and other habits, and the importance of parental attitudes. 

Children's Emotions (22 min) McGraw-Hill, 1950. Causes of common emotions and 
their handling are explained. 

Children's Fantasies (21 min) McGraw-Hill, 1956. Developments, effects, and utiliza- 
tion of fantasies for creative living. 

Children's Play (27 min) McGraw-Hill, 1956. Play activities are portrayed at various 
levels of development; the necessity of healthy play is illustrated. 

Developmental Characteristics of P re-adolescents (18 min) McGraw-Hill, 1954. 
Daily activities of a boy and a girl show various quahties and traits of pre- 

Discovering Individual Differences (25 min) McGraw-Hill, 1954. Presents the 
methods by which a 5th-grade teacher becomes acquainted with traits and features 
of the children in her class. 

From Sociable Six to Noisy Nine (22 min) McGraw-HiU, 1954. Normal behavior 
changes, problems and their handling are explained. 

From Ten to Twelve (26 min) McGraw-Hill, 1957. Characteristics of preadolescent , 
level are illustrated and guidance needs indicated. I 

Frustrating Fours and Fascinating Fives (22 min) McGraw-Hill, 1953. A small boy's 
cheerful, zigzag course at 4 and 5 in a nursery school is portrayed. 

Siblings Relations and Personality (22 min) McGraw-Hill, 1956. Relationships be- 
tween brothers and sisters throughout childhood and adolescent phases and their 
effects on personality are presented by means of series of case studies. 

Your Children and You (29 min) British Information Service, 1948. Techniques for 
developing children's habit patterns and their emotional control are shown. 




THUS FAR, the early levels of growth have been examined. Not many- 
final properties and features, as they pertain to the adult appearance 
or personality organization, have evolved. Puberty is one of the key 
stages of life at which traits and characteristics are formed which will 
be enduring marks throughout the individual's adulthood. To begin 
with, the bodily growth leads to some lasting proportions and features 
of an adult. Sexual development results in additional persistent char- 
acteristics of maleness or womanliness. Only by drastic means may 
these rather permanent traits be transformed or removed. Self-concern 
and worries about one's personal adequacy and social status intensify 
as the individual undergoes these transforming changes leading toward 
adult qualities, abilities, and traits. 



Puberal Developments 


Puberty and adolescence are usually interpreted as transitional stages 
between childhood and adulthood. Gradual but at times apparently sud- 
den expiration of what is typically associated with the child's behavior, 
appearance, and personality occurs at this stage. In addition, the 
emergence of adult traits and features with the specific masculine or 
feminine characteristics takes place. Puberty is easily seen as a phase of 
physical growth and sexual maturation, while adolescence is more 
closely related to emotional, mental, and personality developments re- 
sulting in part from puberal changes and needs. 

The concept of adolescence comes from the Latin verb adolescere, 
which means "to grow to maturity." The psychology of adolescence 
usually includes both puberal and adolescent phases of ontogenetic 
growth. The nature of the total adolescent span of life may be high- 
lighted by such designations as a phase of storm and stress; an age of 
su£Fering and frustration; a time of many problems, surprises, and life- 
determining decisions; and a period of frequent conflict and diflBculty 
in adjustment. Viewing it from a more positive aspect, adolescence can 
be seen as a stage of search for oneself marked by romances and love; 
by development of personality and character; by discovery of values, 
ideals, and full personal identity; and by attainment of adult status 
with its privileges, challenges, and responsibilities. 

Usually an adolescent becomes deeply aware of many issues and 
questions concerning himself and others: what he has to do or omit 
doing; what others expect of him, especially peers and members of the 
other sex; how much he can engage himself in experimentation and ad- 
ventures toward the new horizons of experience and of behavior; whether 


172 Puberty 

his freedom includes the right to enjoy what hfe can offer or is a chal- 
lenge toward responsibility and service to others and God. These and 
similar quests emerge from the depth of the adolescent's mind as his per- 
ceptions and interpretations of himself, of others, and of the world change. 

The adolescent often oscillates between puerile narcissism and adult 
altruism. His behavior continues to be marked by instability and inco- 
herence. He is at times confused in reference to his roles, tasks, and 
situational demands on him. Surprises and disappointments are fre- 
quent. Figuratively speaking, adolescent living is like a never-ending 
dream in the dark night where powerful flashes of light occur, yet are 
blinding rather than illuminating. For a long time the adolescent feels 
lost, before he begins to find himself at the verge of adulthood. 

During the span of adolescence, the process of growing up frequently 
involves much strain and stress, concern and anxiety, and many ups and 
downs before the final and to a large degree integrated personality pat- 
tern is acquired. An adolescent may be frequently seen as a human 
bouquet of contradictions. It is not unusual that when the adolescent 
years are exhausted, many developmental tasks are left still unfinished 
and, as a result, are carried over into the years of early adulthood. In 
this sense, adolescence represents a training ground in which an exten- 

Figure 14-1. Adolescent Population 

Millions of children 

O iCk 

1950 MM 



(Fact Finding Committee. Midcentury White House Conference on Children and 
Youth. A Graphic Presentation of Social and Economic Facts Important in the 
Lives of Children and Youth. Washington, D.C.: National Publishing Co., 1951.) 

Puberal Developments 173 

sive reorganization of forces largely determining behavior in adulthood 
takes place. These adolescent experiences vary greatly in intensity among 
individuals and societies. 

It appears that the individual experiments with most of his disposi- 
tions and resources, unfolding abilities and traits without much planning. 
As on a piano, he tries all the keys and spontaneously uses the whole 
keyboard, causing temporary disharmony, even noise. Nevertheless, as 
maturity advances, he begins to choose and combine the better tones 
and overtones into a symphony. 

As a result of the record number of births in the years 1946-1950, 
the number of school children is now exceptionally large. Proper edu- 
cational and recreational facilities for adolescents is the present chal- 
lenge to the nation because their number is beginning to swell as Figures 
14-1 and 14-2 indicate. To a significant degree, the future of the nation 
depends on them. 

Two sections of this book are devoted to the crucial span of adolescent 
development and adjustment. This and the following chapter deal 
chiefly with puberal changes, while the next two concentrate on the 
occurrences of adolescence proper. 


Puberal, or early adolescent, growth consists primarily in rapid somatic 
maturation and assumption of adult-like bodily proportions, sexual de- 
Figure 14-2. Schools Are Growing 

By 1960 enrollments will be up 8 million more 







Elementary school 
1 1 1 — 


;And expected in 1960^ 


High school 
I I I I I I I I 

I I t I I I r I I I 

2 4 6 8 

15 20 25 

Millions of children 
(Fact Finding Committee. Midcentury White House Conference on Children and 
Youth. A Graphic Presentation of Social and Economic Facts Important in the 
Lives of Children and Youth. Washington, D.C.: National Publishing Co., 1951.) 

174 Puberty 

velopments resulting in functional capacity of the gonads, and the ap- 
pearance of the so-called secondary sex characteristics which then 
clearly distinguish male and female in appearance. The onset of puberty 
in girls is frequently an abrupt phenomenon requiring emotional and 
social readjustments of an immediate nature. The onset is a less definite 
process in boys. Their need of readjustment therefore comes more 
gradually. The effects of such growth on the concept of self and per- 
sonality are pervasive and cannot be overemphasized. The forthcoming 
chapter attempts to appraise and illustrate their importance to the 

Increased structural growth at the age of eleven or twelve depends 
directly on the change of biochemical controls, which is a result of a 
change in endocrine gland functioning. Several endocrine glands par- 
ticipate heavily in effecting puberal changes. In this relationship, the 
pituitary gland located at the base of the brain may be considered as a 
master gland because it produces hormones stimulating growth and ac- 
tivity of the other glands. The hormonal activity of the pituitary appears 
to depend largely on stimulation by the hypothalamus and hormones of 
some other glands [13]. The total cycle of puberal changes seems to 
require a balanced interaction among cerebral cortex, thalamus, pitui- 
tary, autonomic nervous system, thyroid, adrenal cortex, and gonads. 

It may be recalled that the anterior lobe of the pituitary produces 
several hormones which directly or indirectly function as growth-regu- 
lating factors. Somatotrophin (STH), one of the pituitary 's growth- 
promoting hormones, controls the size of the individual and, especially, 
the limbs. Hyposecretion of the anterior portion of the pituitary gland 
at the time of puberty may cause one to remain child-like in size, while 
hypersecretion may spur the growth to giant dimensions. Research in 
endocrinology has discovered the existence of a close relationship be- 
tween the gonadotrophic secretion on the part of the pituitary and the 
sex glands. Other pituitary hormones stimulate the thyroid (TSH), 
adrenal cortex (ACTH), certain metabolic processes, and to a certain 
extent blood pressure. 

The growing activity of the pituitary's anterior lobe in terms of soma- 
totrophic hormone production introduces observable puberty changes. 
First, increased structural growth of the extremities of the body occurs. 
Arms and hands, legs and feet, and the nose grow quickly and assume 
practically adult proportions. At the same time, the heart enlarges out 
of proportion to the increase of the arteries and the trunk, with the re- 
sult of an increased blood pressure. The disproportion of heart to arteries 
and the elevated blood pressure may cause the pubescent to experience 
moments of dizziness and general weakness. Increased secretion of the 
gonadotrophic hormone activates the growth and functional maturation 

Puberal Developments 175 

of the sex glands. When the gonads^ — testes in male and ovaries in female 
— reach their maturity, they begin to produce hormones of their own 
which in turn affect the pituitary's functions by slowing down its growth- 
producing effects, and stimulate the development of secondary sex char- 
acteristics. There is an approximate one-year period of transition from an 
immature to a mature sexual status. These changes in the reproductive 
system of the adolescent greatly influence many changes in the experi- 
ence, attitudes, and behavior of the growing person. 

Another factor influencing structural growth is the thyroid gland, 
located in front of the larynx within the throat region. Its secretion, 
thyroxine, consisting chiefly of iodine (65 per cent), exercises a decisive 
influence on the metabolic process — the nutrition energy exchange within 
the organism and related cellular activity — and, especially, on oxygen 
consumption. Severe underfunction without medical care may lead to a 
general retardation of physical and mental development, a condition 
knov^^n as myxedema. Excessive function increases the metabolic rate of 
the individual, raises the blood pressure, and makes the person excitable, 
especially when accompanied by a hypofunction of the parathyroids. The 
adrenals, attached to the kidneys, increase their functional activity as 
puberty advances, while the thymus gland, located in the chest anterior 
to the mediastinum and behind the sternum, grows smaller and atrophies 
at about the same time. 

Ossification and muscle development have a considerable bearing on 
adolescent behavior because the physical strength largely depends on 
these two systems. At the age of eight years the weight of the muscles 
approximates 27 per cent of the gross body weight; at sixteen years it 
reaches 44 per cent. The greatest increase occurs with puberty changes. 
The strength usually doubles between the ages of twelve and sixteen. 
Frequently the muscle growth precedes the level of ossification. Such 
a condition is apt to contribute heavily to psychomotor incoordination 
and clumsiness. Intricate relationships between various enlarged muscle 
systems and neural extensions, stimulating their activity, add much to 
the puberal difficulties in muscular coordination. When the bone system 
develops in excess of the muscular system, discomforts, cramps, and 
aching are the usual results. 

The endocrine and other biochemical and structural changes result in 
some lack of balance and proportion within the individual, and dispose 
the puberal child toward a loss of his previous symmetry and grace. 
This is especially true in social situations. Otherwise, the young adoles- 
icent gains in muscular coordination as his performances in athletics 
I demonstrate. The repercussions of the loss of balance on the adolescent's 
inner self are manifold. Attention to structural changes increases his 
self -consciousness. The emergence of new impulses and desires, es- 

176 Puberty 

pecially those related to sexual maturation, bring out some motivational 
and behavioral oscillation and even disorientation. Yet the adolescent 
begins to search for the meanings and implications of these changes 
and makes attempts at controlling and integrating them into his ex- 
panded self-system. 


Excepting the primary sex characteristics, boys and girls throughout 
childhood are quite similar in their physical appearance. Sexual matura- 
tion at puberty makes boys look more masculine and girls start to look 
more feminine. The increasing difference in appearance is due to the 
growth of skeletal and muscular systems, and is especially related to the 
levels of growth of secondary sex characteristics. The development of the 
testes, distribution and pigmentation of pubic hair, and changes in voice 
are the significant attributes of boys. A male child's high-pitched voice 
drops approximately one octave. Breast formation from budding papilla 
to mature breast, appearance of pubic hair, broadening hips, and men- 
struation are the signs of a girl's progress in puberal growth. 

When gonadal glands reach the point of structural maturity and func- 
tional readiness, the peak of puberal changes is attained. Setting aside 
wide individual differences, the average age for girls approximates 12.5 
years and for boys 14.0 years of age. The norms depend on the criterion 
that is being used. A satisfactory but infrequently used criterion in de- 
termining the level of puberal development is the laboratory analysis of 
the amount of gonadotrophic hormone in the urine. Another criterion 
is provided by appraising X rays of bone structure. It has been de- 
termined that the puberal spurt of bodily growth and gonadal matura- 
tion tends to occur at a certain level of ossification. On the basis of CA 
(skeletal age), developmental norms have been formulated for both 
boys and girls [7]. To an expert observer, external appearance also tends 
to indicate the level of puberal maturation. 

Owing to a pituitary hyperfunction during the years of childhood, 
puberal changes may occur several years earlier than indicated. In such 
exceptional cases, the sex glands attain mature structure and function, 
the secondary sex characteristics grow, and heterosexual interests appear 
much earher. Various factors, such as glandular disturbances, long ill- 
ness, or otherwise retarded development, may delay puberal changes 
for several years too. 

Moderately precocious puberty changes usually are associated with 
some advantages. Because the precocious individuals look grown-up, 
they readily secure popularity and social prestige among their compeers. 
Very early puberty, however, makes the individual unfit for his peer 

Puberal Developments 177 

groups; yet because of his age, he also lacks acceptance in older groups. 
Delayed puberty implies a small body with less strength than one's 
faster-maturing peers. The boy or girl may be forced to withdraw from 
the groups with which he formerly was associated, and to compensate 
by association with younger age groups. This may be accompanied by 
feelings of inadequacy or an attitude of failure. With large groups as a 
frame of reference, it may be concluded that those who mature late 
are beset with more problems and troubles than those who mature 
early. Gifted and intellectually superior children undergo puberty 
changes earlier than the average group, and the average group super- 
sedes the mentally dull and borderline groups. 

When puberty changes appear comparatively early, structural growth 
is more gradual and regular than in most cases of late growth. In the 
latter, the growth may be turbulent and less integrated. Rapid accelera- 
tion in growth is often accompanied by restlessness, fatigue, and dis- 
turbances in motor coordination. It is noteworthy that puberal changes 
appear at a similar age in all races, nationalities, and cultures, but are 
mildly delayed in northern as compared to southern regions. 


The puberal spurt of growth is also marked by substantial gains in 
aflFective differentiation and attitude formation. A great increase of such 
emotional forms as moods and sentiments takes place. Increased sensi- 
tivity and depth expand the amplitude of emotional response. Stressful 
and joyful reactions to various events and situations are more frequent 
than before. While the older child is able to control his emotions to a 
considerable extent, the adolescent is largely guided by the vivid cur- 
rents of his feelings and sentiments. When aroused, emotion frequently 
gets out of proportion to the initial stimulus. Attempts to control emo- 
tional expressions are frequent but are often not successful. Ambivalent 
feeling tones represent a rule rather than an exception in persons at this 
stage of development. The adolescent often feels ambivalence, i.e., en- 
thusiasm and then despair over the same objects and events. Trivial 
changes elicit antagonistic tendencies without inhibiting the original 
feeling. Much emotional instability is exhibited in confronting family, 
school, and peer situations. Control or balance of affective experiences 
seems to be lost. The emotionally charged situations remind the ob- 
server of emotional negation and temper seen during the third year of 
life, in the dawn of early childhood. 

Transference of affection and love from parents to peers and, es- 
pecially, to members of the other sex represents a major change in emo- 
tional cathexis. This opens a new avenue for attitude formation. Many 

178 Puberty 

disappointments and much emotional tension result from this key shift 
of feeling and thinking. New adjustments at any age are accompanied by 
heightened affective reactions. Development of new attitudes takes time, 
and consolidation in new gains is a gradual process. Lack of preparation 
for the adolescent role, parental objections, and financial needs are fac- 
tors contributing to a state of emotional uneasiness. Such states in turn 
lead to a superficial release of energy which, when not behaviorally dis- 
charged, may accumulate and then interrupt functioning of some or- 
ganismic systems. As a result, organismic balance and personal health 
may be affected negatively, especially if such states repeatedly arise. 
New self- defensive dynamisms are often needed to preserve some kind 
of balance. Daydreaming and hostility are among the self-defensive 
mechanisms often used by adolescents to protect themselves from the 
threats and contradictions of the external world. 

Increased social awareness and a need for intimate peer companion- 
ship make an adolescent ready to conform to the expectations of his 
contemporaries. He takes pains to establish favorable relationships with 
various individuals and groups he comes in contact with. Full acceptance 
is highly desired. Contacts with members of the other sex, begun at this 
age of sexual maturation, start to be highly valued and seen as vital 
for the person's self-esteem. The typical lack of stability of emo- 
tion often results in a quick rejection of some earlier associates and 
a renewed search for "perfect" companionship. Strong likes and dislikes 
at this age form a basis for additional attitudes toward classes of per- 
sons and objects which earlier were neutral. These attitudes will affect 
personality and character formation in their final patterns, as will be 
seen in Chapter 17. 


Late childhood may be characterized as a healthy age. This situation 
somehow is reversed when the child begins puberty changes. Very often 
the young adolescent feels ailing and suffers headaches, bodily dis- 
comforts, and stomach pains. He may have little energy for play or 
work, feel tired if not exhausted, or be afflicted with minor disturbances 
of a psychosomatic kind. Some individuals come to a generally run-down 
condition, and are frequently bothered by influenza and sore throats, 
e.g., tonsilitis. Infrequently, "feeling ilF serves as an escape from duties 
and responsibilities to which they object. Generally there is no evidence 
of any severe illnesses related especially to this phase, and very few die 
at this stage of life. However, there is a natural physiological explana- 
tion for some of the adolescent's lack of energy, his frequent colds and 

Puberal Developments 179 

aches. First, as mentioned earlier, the additional strain on the heart be- 
cause of the slower growth of blood vessels can create a feeling of tired- 
ness, and a person with it should not be pressed into robust activities. 
More often, though, the puberal child may feel inclined to expend a 
great amount of energy, even beyond his capacity. By overexpending 
himself, coupled with other careless actions, such as an inadequate in- 
take of food, the adolescent often precipitates various forms of illness. 
Some of the surface glands produce skin eruptions and acne of vari- 
ous types, which were rare in childhood but abundant during infancy 
and adolescence. Rapid growth and bizarre eating habits are major 
causes for this. Emotional turmoil and diflSculties in social relationships 
also may be seen as frequent contributing causes. 


It is diflScult to single out and properly formulate tasks pertaining to 
the puberal phase of development since these fuse with the general de- 
velopmental tasks of the adolescent. Following a reexamination of 
puberal developments, it is found that bodily control, maintenance of 
external interests and activity, peer identification, personality and 
self-reorganization, social sensitivity, and progress in controlling im- 
pulses, especially sexual urges and emotional moods, may be assumed 
to pertain specifically to this phase as necessary prerequisites for later 
adolescent maturation. 

1. Bodily control. Pubescent developments lead to the loss of the 
child's grace, also to slump and physical discomforts. Regain of control 
over the body is then a continual task for the puberal individual. Much 
effort and bodily exercise is necessary to reach a refined control resulting 
in more mature gracefulness. 

2. External interests and activity. The puberal child is greatly self- 
preoccupied; too often he may engage in brooding fantasy and active 
daydreaming. Withdrawal into oneself at puberty is a threat to the 
individual's learning and specialization. At this stage he needs to learn 
much by activity and participation, to experiment with his own endow- 
ments in order to utilize and assess them for his present and future 

3. Peer identification. At puberty the adolescent seems to be con- 
fronted with two sets of motives: the prepuberal individualistic motive 
in which his pleasure-securing drives are powerful, and the social motive 
in which he strives for approval and interpersonal intimacy. The de- 
sire to make the best impression on others, especially on compeers of 
both sexes, becomes intense. The individual is learning to adjust his ac- 

180 Puberty 

tions so as to fit into a group pattern in order to submerse himself in it 
fully through self-identification. This developmental task is a major 
step in promoting the ability to identify oneself socially and emotionally 
with persons and groups other than parents and family. This ability is 
crucial for social adjustment during the later years of life. Finding 
human models for self-identification is a further step in the same di- 

4. Self-reorganization. It may be noted that a general breakup of 
child personality structure occurs at this phase of adolescence. Many 
reorientations, such as the changing relationship with parents and 
peers, awakened sexuality and a grown-up body, and new emotions, 
moods, fantasies, and interests lead to a reorganization of the total per- 
sonality. In the course of this reorganization, the child's attitudes and in- 
terests are largely modified or transformed. Many attempts are usually 
made by the pubescent himself to prove he does not consider himself 
a child any longer. Objections to treatment like one are frequently raised 
if parents or teachers do not follow the significant steps of puberal per- 
sonality formation. 

5. Social sensitivity. As a puberal child becomes more interested in 
peers of both sexes and seeks their approval at any price, he learns 
much about outstanding qualities and characteristics of others. Ac- 
cumulating knowledge of peer needs helps one to improve his sensi- 
tivity to the wants, preferences, and desires of peers. Concepts and 
hypotheses about social structure, conventions, and democratic pro- 
cedures are also advanced and serve to fit him better into his society. 

6. Growth of self-control. Self-control extends through vivid attempts 
to curb sexual impulses and certain emotions, especially those which 
disturb interpersonal relationships, such as anger, temper outbursts, and 
moods. While the child was largely controlled by forces from without, 
the pubescent makes efforts to free himself of such dominance so as to 
establish an internal authority upon which to rely, and by means of 
which to increase his self-direction in order to assert the individuality 
of his own personality. Growth of self-control is also related to attempts 
at developing skills in interpersonal communication, such as dancing 
and impressive conversation, and to gains in popularity and leadership. 

Puberal development can be summed up by comparing this period of 
development to a budding flower that is beginning to unfold so that it 
may reach the fullness of its intrinsic nature. This period may also be 
compared to the words of Christ when He said, "Unless the grain of 
wheat fall into the ground and die, itself remains alone. But if it die, it 
brings forth much fruit." So also the pubescent must figuratively suffer 
the death of his childhood ways if he is not to remain alone but develop 
into an adjusted and useful adult. 

Puberal Developments 181 


1. Explain the concept of adolescence. Identify several interpretations of this phase 
of life. 

2. What are some typical problems of an adolescent? 

3. Indicate the role the pituitary plays in precipitating puberal growth. 

4. Give some facts about the structural changes within the bone and neuromuscular 

5. Relate some factors or conditions which produce early or late sexual maturation. 

6. What criteria are used in estimating the level of puberal development? 

7. What are the frequent health disturbances at puberty and early adolescence? 

8. Identify several developmental tasks of puberty and explain one of them. 


I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Cole, Luella. Psychology of Adolescence. (5th ed.) New York: Rinehart, 1959. 
A general text on adolescent experience, motivation, and behavior, normal and 

2. Garrison, Karl C. Psychology of Adolescence. (5th ed.) Englewood Chffs, N.J.: 
Prentice-Hall, 1956. A comprehensive book on adolescent growth, personality, and 
social forces. 

3. Hurlock, Elizabeth B. Adolescent Development. (2nd ed. ) New York: McGraw- 
Hill, 1955. Adolescent psychology presented in a colorful fashion and documented 
by a great variety of studies. 

4. Jersild, Arthur T. The Psychology of Adolescence. New York: Macmillan, 1957. 
A general text on adolescence which emphasizes emotional development, social rela- 
tionships, and the self. 

5. Remplein, Heinz. Die seelische Entwicklung des Menschen im Kindes- und 
Jugendalter. (7th ed.) Sec. 4. Munich: Reinhardt, 1958. Analyzes puberal develop- 
ments and their repercussions on personahty. 

6. Schneiders, Alexander A. Personality Development and Adjustment in Adoles- 
cence. Milwaukee: Bruce, 1960. This excellent text deals at length with the dynamics 
underlying behavior, and with physiology, sociology, character, and guidance. 

II. Specific References 

7. Bayley, Nancy. Tables for Predicting Adult Height from Skeletal Age and 
Present Height. /. Pediat., 1946, 28, 49-64. 

8. Bayley, Nancy. Growth Curves of Height and Weight by Age for Boys and 
Girls Scaled According to Physical Maturity. /. Pediat., 1956, 48, 187-194. 

9. Dale, R. J. A Method for Measuring Developmental Tasks: Scales for Selected 
Tasks at the Beginning of Adolescence. Child Develpm., 1955, 26, 111-122. 

10. Nicholson, A. B., and C. Hanley. Indices of Physiological Maturity. Child 
Develpm., 1953, 24, 3-38. 

11. Stone, Joseph L., and Joseph Church. Childhood and Adolescence. New York: 
Random House, 1957. 

12. Strang, Ruth. The Adolescent Views Himself. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1957. 

13. Talbot, N. B., et al. Functional Endocrinology from Birth Through Adoles- 
cence. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1952. 

14. Wattenberg, Wm. W. The Adolescent Years. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1955. 



Personality Reorganization 

THE PREVIOUS chapter has pointed out the manifold developmental gains 
at the puberal stage. As one may expect, a major personality transfor- 
mation also sets in when the individual enters the adolescent phases of 
growth and maturation. Stirred up and made possible through the 
structural maturation within the glandular and neuromuscular systems, 
the personality reorganization unfolds itself simultaneously in many of 
its dimensions and facets. 


When an adult or older child puts on a new suit of clothes or merely 
a new hat, it tends to increase his self-observation, and his feelings of 
self-adequacy or inadequacy may become more noticeable at these 
times. Growth of any part or aspect of the organism is likely to pro- 
mote heightened self-awareness and stir up attitudes related to one's 
self-evaluation. It is therefore easy to understand that puberal trans- 
formations within various bodily systems will aflFect the pattern of the 
total personality and the concept of self. Growing bodily structures and 
changes in proportions, all approaching the adult's physique, stimulate 
change of attitudes toward one's self and others. New vistas of experi- 
ence and behavior appear. Feelings of self-might and self-worth may be 
magnified if growth is consistent with one's model, which is formulated 
in one's mind through observation of others in an advanced pattern of 
growth. Feelings of inadequacy and inferiority may emerge or be 
strengthened if one notices morphological differences and interprets 
them as deviations or deficiencies from the standard. At this transi- 
tional age, one is very much concerned about his appearance because 
he is now more self-conscious than before and capable of expanded 
self-evaluation. He comes to realize, for example^ that his appearance | 


Personality Reorganization 183 

is, to a large degree, a final appearance not only for this stage of adoles- 
cence but also for adulthood as well. The notions of a "glamour girl" 
or of a "muscle man" are often present but impossible to realize fully. 
Many puberal children have some di£Bculties in accepting themselves 
as they are, especially if others do not seem to completely accept them 
as they are. Oftentimes others point out an undesirable trait or a be- 
havioral peculiarity. Any critical remark on the part of companions may 
act as a factor in changing adolescent attitudes toward self and self- 

Self-awareness may select a point of reference in the general observa- 
tion of behavior patterns. It may be directed toward specific functions 
and drives which, to a degree at least, are difiFerent for boys and for 
girls. Thus, various concerns of the boy may be specific to the male 
adolescent population and usually not be problems of the girl, who will 
have concerns of her own. Awkwardness, due primarily to fast growth 
of extremities and muscles, is an early source of adolescent concern. At 
this time the male adolescent does not seem to be fit for athletics, danc- 
ing, or any other activity which involves fine muscle control. At a later 
point, speech will be affected too. The lack of control over one's voice 
and the changes in tone quality may result in some embarrassment and 
lead to pubescent reticence, in certain social situations at least, until 
this control is regained. Additional discomfort and tension periods occur 
as maturation of sexual functions take place. A boy may be disturbed 
and sometimes frightened by a nocturnal emission. 

Producing pleasurable experience and some relief of sexual tension 
by means of masturbation readily calls forth concern, guilt, and occa- 
sionally feelings of depression in most normal adolescents. Excessive 
fear, shame, and remorse may result when frenzied attempts to inhibit 
the act are unsuccessful. However, if only minor attempts are made to 
gain control over sexual fantasies and activities, the situation becomes 
unhealthy and tends toward a perversion of the sexual drive. Hence, if 
a pubescent masturbates freely and frequently without any experience 
of shame or guilt, his chances to develop normally and to remain a 
healthy personality are seriously threatened. Feelings of shame and re- 
morse are the needed forces for a growth of inner control which will 
help in redirecting some of his sexual energies toward sublimated activi- 
ties with more creative goals. Deep moral experiences and convictions 
on the part of adolescents will now, or at a later point, produce control 
and lead to a balance within the total motivational structure of the post- 
puberal personahty. 

Attitudes and emotions elicited by sexual functions unwillingly focus 
the pubescent*s attention and his curiosity on sexual matters. Like every 
new experience and ability, the sexual function is interesting and the 

184 Puberty 

drive compelling. The boy becomes concerned about the significance and 
implications of sexual changes. He may seek to know if his friends have 
the same experiences. His interest and curiosity is also directed toward 
members of the opposite sex. Possibly for the first time in his life, they 
appear as fascinating and exciting individuals, deserving attention and 
close association. His eagerness to associate with them may appear 
almost spontaneously, but more often it develops gradually. Depending 
largely on the early notions about the cross-parent and other members 
of the opposite sex, ambivalent feelings and mistrust may persist for 
several years and longer. 

When a young girl realizes the curves of her breasts are showing 
through her dress, she may become embarrassed and try to regain a flat 
chest by wearing tight brassieres. Soon, however, the feminine model, as 
pictured in fashion and other magazines, begins to appeal to her. Then 
she will be ready to do everything in her power to fit the standard and 
measurements of womanliness. Lack of good appearance and excessive 
height are problems of significance to a number of girls. The menarche 
and forthcoming menstruation may produce worry and fear, especially 
if the girl has not been informed about it in advance. The menstrual 
cycle during early adolescence is sometimes irregular. Despite the fact 
that menstruation is a sign of a normal and healthy condition, it may be 
accompanied by headache, cramps, lassitude, and a feeling of being ill. 
Increased irritability and depression are frequently other symptoms of 
this condition. The attitude toward menstruation, often acquired from 
the mother or some other informant, has much to do with the presence of 
these or other psychosomatic disturbances. Masturbation as a means of 
securing pleasure may complicate the general picture of girls' adjustment 
at this stage of life. Since girls mature sexually at an earlier age than boys, 
their change of mind toward boys, which encompasses the attitude that 
boys usually be older than themselves, interesting and worthy of atten- 
tion, also occurs about two years earlier. 

The motivational reorganization following puberal changes is marked 
by a heightened tendency to show off one's new abilities and to feel great 
pride in achievements appreciated by members of the other sex. Emo- 
tional sensitivity and strivings for emancipation from home bounds are 
the usual prerequisites for growing into adult stature. The anticipation 
of adult privileges, a more positive attitude toward others, and efforts 
at self-improvement are all closely linked with a readiness for and partial 
transition into adolescence proper. 


The ever increasing desire to show off one's aptitude and skills to 
others drives the adolescent toward manifold attempts at attaining excel- 

Personulity Reorganization 185 

lence in individual and group contests. Competitive sports, tasks requir- 
ing physical strength, popularity, and scholastic honors are some of the 
more frequent fields of adolescent self-assertion. Any type of achieve- 
ment, if acknowledged by others, raises one's feelings of self-importance 
and adequacy. Any failure may be deeply discouraging and motivate 
withdrawal from the activity. Resulting conflict and frustration may also 
elicit depression, self-blame, or anger and aggressiveness toward others. 
Nevertheless, the level of aspiration is frequently elevated at a faster 
rate than can be substantiated by any objective norms of accomplish- 
ment. Perfectionistic strivings are not infrequent during adolescence. 
These are often marked by frequent attempts at self-improvement and an 
elevation of status within peer groups and community. 

Emancipation from home bonds chiefly refers to the gain of emo- 
tional independence from the parents. The emotions of tenderness and 
affection shared with parents during childhood are now readily directed 
toward individuals of the same age. The adolescent becomes emotionally 
and socially distant from his parents. He makes many attempts to gain 
and hold the affection, confidence, and esteem of his age mates and finds 
security in peer-group identification. The deep-seated adolescent need 
for exchange of personal experiences, thoughts, and desires is best satis- 
fied by his compeers in both individual and group situations. Parental 
demands for rapport and dependence of the adolescent on them are 
occasionally met with resistance or resentment, even open defiance. 
Parental demands and home restrictions are often seen as barriers to 
outside associations and group activities. Adult privileges are expected 
and demanded with considerable vigor. Unlike the child, the adolescent 
will not readily compromise. A significant number of adolescents, 
especially those who mature early or late, may become even more 
dependent on their parents. One reason is that they are less accepted by 
their peers. 

Emotional sensitivity increases as the puberal years pass. The indi- 
vidual begins to respond emotionally to trivial causes and readily grows 
emotionally self-involved. Any difficulty or disappointment is frequently 
accompanied by increased tension and emotionally toned behavior. 

When sexual maturation is completed in its major aspects and emo- 
tional differentiation advances, boys and girls begin to assume gradually 
a more positive attitude toward parents and other adults. This is accom- 
panied by a constant but gradual improvement in their social manners 
and behavior. Considering or respecting the other side becomes more 
frequent. Altruistic sentiments begin to be directed toward many indi- 
viduals and groups. 

The adolescent often observes his lack of emotional and behavioral 
control. His fearfulness in social situations is often exaggerated. His own 
inconsistencies in feeling and behavior continue to complicate many 

186 Puberty 

interpersonal situations. As a result, he studies ways to appear more 
grown-up than he is. Occasionally he may formulate resolutions and 
outline practical steps to be followed. Such efforts toward self-improve- 
ment by means of self-control and improved performance are frequent in 
late adolescence and, at times, may point to standards approaching per- 
fectionism. A fa9ade of maturity is often established long before the 
adolescent reaches adult stature. 


Puberty is a phase of the final spurt of perceptive and imaginative 
developments. The adolescent begins to perceive minute aspects and 
relationships of various objects. He enjoys vicarious experiences by 
means of which he can go to various places, known and strange, and do 
things without being clearly self-involved. Frequently, when the puberal 
child is exposed to a frustration or disappointment, he tends to compen- 
sate by recourse to fantasy. There he has resources and abilities to cope 
successfully with any situations and events mentally produced. Thus, by 
means of daydreaming, the pubescent transcends the limits of his own 
powers, and of time and space barriers, and ventures into experiences 
that otherwise are not attainable by him. It is often a means of escaping, 
discharging existing tension, anxiety, or depression. A major theme of 
puberal reverie is a "suffering hero." In this form of imaginary excursion 
the adolescent pictures himself suffering various trials and tribulations, 
eventually being vindicated and, in a way, successful. The "conquering 
hero" represents another frequent theme of imagination which partially 
compensates the adolescent's mishaps. Boys may daydi'eam about per- 
forming an adult role, vocational success, possessions, saving a friend, 
sexual entanglements, homage and grandeur, and a variety of adven- 
tures. Girls may daydream about their attractiveness, romances, singing, 
solo dancing, and receiving a prince and his gifts. 

An experimental study by P. M. Symonds [8, pp. 218-225] based on 
responses to pictures by forty subjects from twelve to eighteen years of 
age, reveals that the themes of aggression, e.g., violence, frenzied excite- 
ment, and those of love, e.g., episodes of dating, companionate rides, 
marrying, are practically universal for adolescents. Other frequent themes 
of adolescent imagination include anxiety, guilt, depression, success, in- 
dependence, happiness, conflict of good with bad, Oedipus longing and 
conflict, and dread of sickness and injury. Apparently the aggressive 
trends growing out of frustrations at this age are goaded on by the 
adolescent's need to assert his independence and to achieve maturity. 
The adolescent is also driven by his love needs, his need for belonging 
and security, his need to be accepted by others, and his need to find in 

Personality Reorganization 187 

other persons those qualities to admire which will make up for the priva- 
tions and inadequacies which he senses in himself. 

In daydreaming, the retreat of the critical self seems to be obvious. 
This gives a free rein to the operation of underlying needs, drives, atti- 
tudes, and emotions. The creation of gratifying and joyful events, though 
imaginary, may serve as a useful catharsis. It may also serve as an 
escape or a retreat from the threatening confines of the present situation. 
Yet the obligation to stay in the grip of reality cannot be abandoned by 
frequent flights into the world of fancy. As the years of adolescence 
progress, the vicarious experiences of daydreaming become more related 
to the individual's reality and fuse with his possible decisions and activi- 
ties. Vivid imaginary anticipation of the events to come may serve the 
individual in avoiding many trials and errors. 


During puberty, the normal person undergoes a final spurt of intel- 
lectual development. There is a great increase in his ability to apprehend 
relationships, discern factors, abstract what is essential, and use abstract 
terms and symbols. The ability to learn and to solve various problems 
approaches its maximal breadth and depth. This is a reason why toward 
the end of puberty the adolescent attains practically the same scores on 
intelligence tests as an adult. 

Internally the young adolescent may feel, "Now I know everything." 
His intellect may work feverishly. A vivid preoccupation with thinking, 
experimenting, and generalizing at thirteen or fourteen years of age leads 
to the acquisition of a theoretical and very critical attitude. His curiosity 
about some existential or sexual problems may be accompanied by an 
investigation of many sources until he finds satisfactory solutions to the 
problems he is trying to solve. Puberty is marked by the beginnings of 
self-answering rather than reliance on parental judgments, dependence 
upon which was so typical of the years of childhood. 

Increased ability to abstract and generalize is evident in self-expression 
which now relies heavily on a conceptual rather than concrete perceptual 
kind of analysis. Less tangible relationships and roles are recognized. 
Various branches of science and philosophy begin to make sense to him. 
He can direct his attention and understanding to the scientific exposition 
of astronomy, cosmology, ethics, aesthetics, logic, and metaphysics. 

At the fourteen- to fifteen-year level, the adolescent fully acquiies 
formal thought and propositional logic. Now he handles most of the 
formal operations successfully, including implication and exclusion, and 
is able to set up experimental proofs for verifying his findings. While 
deduction of hypotheses appears to be easy at this level of development. 

188 Tuherty 

success in experimental induction, based on the variation of a single 
factor with the others held constant or equal, is difficult at this level of 
intellectual efficiency [5, pp. 334 flF.]. This transformation of thinking 
contributes substantially to an over-all orientation and to a further per- 
sonality growth, 


Pubescence is a developmental level at which the individual reevalu- 
ates his religious system of values and ideals. Childhood concepts, beliefs, 
and practices are minutely examined in the light of abstract and proposi- 
tional thinking. In many cases, doubts pertaining to some major tenets 
or minor implications arise. This is especially true for individuals whose 
previous religious instruction was incomplete or lacked careful planning. 
Many adolescents do not have access to religious instruction commensu- 
rate with their level of understanding and feeling. The need for addi- 
tional higher-level religious instruction is a definite necessity at early 

The influence of the peer group at this time is great. If the individual 
associates with persons of little or no religious training or beliefs, his own 
beliefs may be shaken. Parents, too, have a part to play during this pe- 
riod. By explaining the doctrines they hold on an adult level, they may 
help the adolescent to realize the role religion plays in adult life, enrich- 
ing it and giving it meaning. School and church have to add their shares 
in teaching religion for adolescent and adult needs. 

In the Catholic faith, confirmation represents a new step of readiness 
for adult obligations of professing and defending, if necessary, the faith. 
If the act of confirmation is preceded by a reinterpretation of some 
fundamental religious truths on this elevated level of understanding, 
it will tend to leave a deep impression on the adolescent's reHgious ap- 
perception and perspective. 


Motivational reorganization and growth in self-resourcefulness are two 
major internal factors conditioning changes in behavior and subsequent 
adjustment. Considering the fact of multiple growth of abilities and 
skills during adolescence, one would but expect some improvements in 
the level of adolescent adjustment. What actually happens is usually 
contrary to this. Most adolescents are now less well adjusted than they 
were during the late phase of childhood. Even adolescents who seem fully 
to apply their newly attained activities and skills usually meet barriers 
and obstacles in their path and suffer from discouragement and frustra- 

Personality Reorganization 189 

tion. The contending forces within them readily arise and lead to diflBcult 
and disappointing decisions. Either much active venture and enterprise 
or much withdrawal and passivity are liable to result in personal diflBcul- 
ties. During this transitional phase of life, some suffering and morbidity 
cannot be escaped. Many adolescents, however, are striving to "have a 
good time" most of the time. When this idea becomes closely associated 
with the presence of members of the other sex, difficulties are almost 

The increasing complexity of the social organization due to recent 
advances in technology and occupational specialization is one of the 
factors introducing new difficulties into adolescent adjustment. This is 
one of the reasons why adolescence, as a time of preparation for adult 
tasks and obligation, is a relatively long period in American culture. 

The self. The structure and boundaries of the self expand as the indi- 
vidual consolidates the pervasive growth of his organism and mental 
abilities. The puberal zeal in advancing a trait or skill entails something 
new for his self-reservoir. His attempts to focus more deeply upon his 
own experiences, thoughts, and activites in order to perceive new mean- 
ings and self-implications for future engagements contribute greatly to 
the final structure of the self. His puberal introspectiveness is later exter- 
nalized and applied to the impact of the surroundings of his cultural 
and technological environment. Through TV, radio, and magazines and 
other pictorial publications, he visualizes the world and comes to view 
it with the bewilderment or enthusiasm they elicit. Awareness of the 
inner promptings and of external barriers is keen throughout the adoles- 
cent stage. His magnified inner and outer observation creates a new per- 
spective. Although inadequate from several points of view, nevertheless 
it is an ampHfied source for his self -reference. As a result, many self- 
initiated activities are produced. When these activities encompass estab- 
lishment of new interpersonal relationships, social weaning takes place. 
For this reason, boarding schools, summer camps, and travel offer valu- 
able means for increasing self-reliance which, in turn, is needed for the 
enhancement of social confidence. 


Three case summaries from Lawrence K. Frank et al. [1, pp. 214-215, 
2A7-2AS, 284-285] have been selected to point out the prepuberal, pu- 
beral, and postpuberal levels of personality functioning as revealed by 
means of projective testing.* 

* The projective tests used are referred to by the following abbreviations : Rorschach 
test — R; Thematic Apperception Test — TAT; Drawings of the Human Figure — FD; 
Hom-Hellersberg Test — HH; and Graphology — G. 

190 Puberty 

Prepuberal: Constance 

On the surface, Constance appears rather well adjusted without serious 
diflBculties (R, TAT, HH, FD). However, this is probably due to conformity 
to the demands made on her, and for it she pays the price of overregulation, 
constant restraint, and politeness (FD). She plays the role of the happy child 
her parents seem to expect of her (R), but it is accompanied by resentment, 
restlessness, and dissatisfaction (FD) and a desire for expansion (HH). Tem- 
per outbursts are possible, and she feels guilty about her aggression (FD). 

Constance is ambitious and has high aspirations (R, FD, G), but this seems 
to be at least partially a result of environmental pressure toward accomplish- 
ment (HH). While she has good intellectual capacity (R), her fantasy is 
rather infantile (TAT, HH). She is not able to achieve on a level with her 
ambitions, which results in tensions and anxiety (R, HH, but no indication 
of anxiety on TAT) and loss of spontaneity (R, FD). The limited imaginative 
range (TAT) may also be an expression of this. She forces herself to do things 
that are more impressive and attractive than she can do in a natural way 
(HH). At times she is rather evasive (FD, R). Actually, Constance is quite 
childish and dependent (R, FD). There are strong attachments to a protecting 
home environment (R, FD), feelings of insecurity (HH, FD), and marked 
ambivalence about growing up (G, FD). She is frightened, lacking in con- 
fidence, and self-conscious (FD). Her fear of aloneness and her need for 
parental love are too strong (G) for her to loosen the parental bonds. There 
is much egocentricity (G) and emotional immaturity (TAT). While she has a 
good capacity for outside stimulation and is socially oriented (R, FD, HH), 
she is too uncertain (FD) to be able to form social relations on a mature level 
(HH). Her social needs seem to be primarily for admiration and approval 
(R, FD), and she is quite exhibitionistic (R, FD). The motive of even 
her forced intellectualization is to please and to obtain social prestige (G). 

Although her identification is basically feminine (R, HH, FD), there seems 
to be some wavering in regard to the sexual role and possibly some masculine 
protest tendencies (R, FD). There is strong veaming for acceptance by her 
father (FD), and her desire to satisfy him by acting like a boy may help to 
explain the masculine protest elements (FD). He seems to symbolize a mighty 
power in comparison with whom she feels small (HH). 

Puberal: Barbara 

Barbara is a bright girl (FD, G, R) from a relatively sheltered home (FD). 
She is quite self-absorbed (G, FD), engaged in an attempt to understand 
herself (HH). Still quite dependent (FD), she seeks security (HH) and self- 
assurance (G). She has a strong interest in furtive means of pleasing (G). 
She appears shy (R, G), passive and subdued, without real aggression. How- 
ever, the TAT indicated lively afi^ect, possible aggression, and tomboyishness; 
the FD found indications of aggression; and the HH found that she was re- 
ceptive to her inner urges but did not know how to relate them to social de- 
mands and rules. 

Personality Reorganization 191 

Barbara feels that the environment is aggressive, and she is suspicious (G), 
fearful, distrustful, and cautious (R) in her dealings with it. She has become 
quite skillful in avoiding conflict (G). She becomes evasive and withdraws 
(R), avoiding issues, arguments, and definite attitudes (G). In short, she 
avoids friction by avoiding depth (G). This type of defense may partially 
explain the apparent passivity found in the Rorschach, without excluding 
the more intense emotional life, perhaps existing on a deeper level and fairly 
well controlled, that was found on the TAT. Although she shows a capacity 
for affection (TAT), she is not demonstrative (R). She is unwilling to form 
deep attachments (G) or experience strong emotions (R) which might be 
threatening to her. Similarly, her sensitivity (R, TAT, HH) is also used for 
the purpose of self-protection (G, HH). She has a capacity for much more 
outgoing behavior (R), but she spends enormous effort in keeping uncon- 
scious content under rational control (HH). She tends to escape into day- 
dreams (R) to relieve the tension (R, FD, HH); at times, however, she may 
be very outspoken and tactless (G). The FD found indications of ambition, 
while the TAT found only the barest suggestion of desire for worldly achieve- 
ment. The apparent discrepancy here may be related to family demands for 
success. At any rate, concentration on school work is not easy for her because 
of her own inner problems. 

Barbara seems to be rather discouraged (FD, TAT), feels inadequate 
and awkward (FD). There is a fair amount of anxiety present (FD, R, G, 
HH), and she seems somewhat sad (FD) and depressed at times (TAT). 
There is a good deal of ambivalence about growing up (FD). Her childhood 
is a little too comfortable for her to leave readily (FD, R), and she is 
frightened by adulthood and confused about her future goals (FD). 

Barbara's home appears to be adult dominated (FD), with possible fric- 
tion between the parents (TAT). The mother is probably dominant, and 
Barbara identifies with her (FD, TAT). There is also rivalry with a sister 
(FD). She appears to be superficial, perhaps as a result of attempts to 
contain her vitality (TAT). 

Questions of physical maturity are most acute (HH), and there is some 
sexual wavering (FD, G) and conflict (HH). The TAT gives evidence 
of more than usual sexual maturity, connected with real feeling, while the 
Rorschach indicates that she seems to be waiting and does not yet show 
much warmth. On the whole, the picture is one of control; her curiosity (HH) 
and heightened sexual feelings are restrained (FD), and she tends to with- 
draw from sexual situations (FD). She would like to postpone the solution 
of the sexual problem (HH). There is also sexual shame (R) and guilt over 
masturbation. She is definitely feminine (G), and there is no evidence of 
rejection of her sexual role (R), but she readily entertains thoughts of being 
like a boy (FD). Apparently she envisages the boy's role as more acceptable 
to her father, more compatible with her ambition, and connected with fewer 
restraints (FD). Her overmodesty is apparently a reaction formation related 
to her strong display needs (FD, R, G), and she also seems to be afraid 
of rejection (R). 

All in all, the picture seems to be that of a girl whose problems are typical 

192 Puberty 

for her age period and economic group (R, FD, TAT) and who is handling 
them reasonably well now (R, G). Her capacities will enable her to grow 
into an adult without too much diflBculty (G) although the transition into 
adulthood will probably be somewhat prolonged (R, FD). 

Adolescent: Jean 

Jean seems to have had a happy childhood (HH) and a protective home 
environment (R, TAT). Her family relationships have been secure, and she 
considers the world a kind and friendly place (TAT). But in a typical 
adolescent manner she is vacillating between dependence on her family 
(TAT, G) and being irritable and critical of them (G), struggling for 
independence in a somewhat defensive manner (G). 

Her sound family life (FD) seems to have provided the basis for her 
emotionality (FD, G, TAT), her capacity for wholehearted participation 
(HH), and her underlying optimism (TAT). However, her independence 
has been delayed (R) so that she remains emotionally tied to family tradition 
(G). Independence appears painful (R) and threatening to her (FD, R, 
TAT), and a good deal of uncertainty results (FD). She is anxious about 
the future (HH) and seems in conflict about marriage and a career (FD). 

At the present time, she is restless (FD) and unstable (R) with fairly 
frequent mood swings (FD). She is rather excited and agitated and tends 
to overreact (R). Her anxiety and tension result in some restraint (R), and 
her fear of rebuff (FD) results in emotional caution (R, G). Since her con- 
trol is so precarious (R), occasional temper outbursts can be expected (R, 

Jean also has feelings of self-consciousness (HH), inadequacy (R), inse- 
curity (R, FD), and fear (R, G). These seem to intensify her needs for 
dependency (FD) and affection (TAT). She seems intensely afraid of 
loss of love, and from this is derived her tendency to introject those whom 
she loves (G). 

At this point, Jean feels that there is a good deal of aggression directed 
against her, and, although basically unaggressive, she responds with defensive 

Her present introversive swing (FD), with its narcissistic dreaminess (G), 
its probing and self-absoi-ption (FD), is undoubtedly a reaction to an escape 
from her inner and outer problems, for she has botli the capacity (R) and 
the need for social participation (FD), and her approach is essentially an 
emotional one (TAT). 

Jean is well endowed (HH), and has a highly original (HH, FD) and 
integrative (HH) intelligence, but she is not fully employing these resources 
(HH). She lacks confidence in her achievements (FD), and tends to be 
oversensitive to criticism (FD). She is not an "intellectual" (TAT); at this 
point she would like to substitute sensual and aflFectional life for intellectual 
achievements (FD). It is perhaps for these reasons that she projects her 
ambitions on to her future husband (FD, G) while wanting protection for 

Personality Reorganization 193 

herself (G). In contemplation, Jean is driven to extremes of relaxation (FD); 
there are moody retreats into romanticism and sentimentality (FD). (On the 
TAT, however, girlish romanticism was conspicuously absent.) There is no 
real depression (FD), but Jean's fantasy life seems to absorb her more pro- 
ductive energies (R). 

Jean is quite conscious of her body (FD) and probably somewhat unhappy 
about her figure (FD). Her tendency toward body exhibitionism is repressed 
(FD). She feels inadequate and insecure in the sexual area (R), and she is 
conflicted and disturbed about her sexual future (FD). Her strong sensuous 
desires are inhibited (G). While there seems to have been feminine awaken- 
ing (HH), it has not yet found its own personal expression (HH) and her 
affection is not yet clearly channelized in a mature heterosexual direction (FD, 
TAT). Jean is interested in bringing up a family, the maternal side of femi- 
ninity (HH, FD), perhaps because of her close afiBliation (TAT) and 
identification with her mother (G). She seems to have a strong but ambiva- 
lent attachment to her father (G) and to see him chiefly in the role of a 
protector (R). It is interesting that that is also the role which she projects 
for her future husband (G). Her relationship to her brother may also be 
fraught with ambivalence, since the TAT gave evidence of unusual affection 
for him, whfle the FD found suggestions of rivalry. 

Jean is basically sound (FD, HH) and well equipped (R). Her dis- 
turbances and conflicts are typical of adolescence (FD), and her adjustment is 
good (TAT) within its limitations (G). 

Additional case studies and detailed analysis of the afore-mentioned 
cases may be found in the Frank monograph [1]. In some ways similar 
information about adolescent boys may be secured in U. H. Fleege's 
book [4]. Fleege used questionnaires to obtain material pertaining to 
adolescents beset by many problems, conflicts, and maladjustments. 


1. What are some outstanding causes of increased self-awareness in young 

2. Select one of the frequent problems in adolescent life and indicate its implica- 
tions for personality. 

3. Why does a child's motivation have to be revised at adolescence? Why is a 
mere modification of it seen as unsatisfactory? 

4. Present some themes of puberal daydreaming. Make an attempt to explain 
why such themes are frequent. 

5. Characterize the nature of intellectual development during adolescence. 

6. What does a pubescent need to further his religious development? What factors 
are promoting a deeper religious interest at pubescent level of life? 

7. Explain how motivation and changes in abihty affect the self and personal 

8. What makes case history accounts useful material in studying adolescent 

194 Puberty 


I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Frank, Lawrence K., et al. Personality Development in Adolescent Girls. Monogr. 
Soc. Res. Child Develpm., 1951, 16, No. 53. Child Development Publications, 1953. 
Interpretation of findings and suggestions for schools and youth agencies on the basis 
of projective data applied to 100 prepuberal and 100 adolescent girls. 

2. Harsh, Charles M., and H. G. Schrickel. Personality: Development and Assess- 
ment. (2nd ed.) Chaps. 7, 8, and 9. New York: Ronald, 1959. Pertains largely to 
personality development during puberty and adolescence. 

3. Strang, Ruth. The Adolescent Views Himself. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1957. A 
text on adolescent psychology which puts emphasis on adolescent perspective rather 
than adult interpretation. 

II. Specific References 

4. Fleege, Urban H. Self -Revelations of the Adolescent Boy. Milwaukee: Bruce, 

5. Inhelder, Barbel, and Jean Piaget. The Growth of Logical Thinking from Child- 
hood to Adolescence. New York: Basic Books, 1958. 

6. More, D. Developmental Concordance and Discordance During Puberty and 
Early Adolescence. Monogr. Soc. Res. Child Develpm., 1953, 18, 1-127. 

7. Rube, P. The Inner World of Adolescence. Amer. }. Psychother., 1955, 9, 

8. Symonds, Percival M. Adolescent Fantasy. New York: Columbia University 
Press, 1949. 


Age of Turmoil (20 min) McGraw-HiU, 1953. Puberal developments and emotional 
problems of adolescents, illustrated by 6 types of personahty. 

Parents Are People ( 15 min ) Audio Productions, 1955. Portrayal of parental authority 
versus adolescent needs of independence and resulting conflicts. 

Physical Aspects of Puberty ( 19 min. ) Crawley Films, 1953. Physiological develop- 
ments of puberty, including concomitant mental and emotional changes. 

Social Acceptability (20 min) Crawley Films, 1957. Relates social acceptance to the 
successful adjustment of the average adolescent and explains adult guidance. 

Your Body During Adolescence (10 min) McGraw-Hill, 1955. Puberal changes to- 
ward manhood and womanhood, emphasizing implications of sexual maturation. 




THIS IS a period of life in which psychological and social self-realization 
for the adult level of life takes place. On one hand, personal abilities 
appear and can be appraised adequately; on the other hand, liabilities 
and deficiencies begin to stand out as organizers of problem behavior. 
Adolescence is a critical age at which many life-determining decisions 
are made. School performance, with its likes and dislikes as well as 
successes and failures, is one of the indicators of the direction of trait 
formation and later occupational interest and training choice. An indica- 
tion of the sort of adult an adolescent will become is found in the nar- 
rowing of the total number of interests and the intensification of a few 
which will be dominant in his life pattern. Much growth, but also much 
ambivalence, turmoil, and oscillation, as well as trial and error, take 
place before the adult pattern assumes its final form. Progress in person- 
ality and character development is a major index of adolescent matura- 
tion and adjustment. 



The Dynamics of 
Adolescent Behavior 

THE PATTERN of adolesccnt motivation emerges out of puberal develop- 
ments and experiences which, in turn, were preconditioned by individual 
endowments, resources, and childhood experiences. Sexual, emotional, 
intellectual, social, and moral developments in each individual stand 
out as sources of dynamic trends and behavioral tendencies. Specific 
adolescent interests, attitudes, and problems spring from them. 

In the early part of adolescence, even a strong enthusiasm and a 
heightened interest for something may wane quickly and be replaced 
by other interests, sometimes antagonistic, sometimes peculiar, but al- 
ways absorbing for some time at least. In the latter phase of adolescence, 
there are many attractions, interests, and preferred activities, some of 
which consolidate through practice and gain in depth and stability. 
Moreover, at this age they are more closely related to the individual's 
endowments and gifts, his status and environmental opportunities. Less 
oscillation and more consistency is shown as the years of adolescence 


As a result of puberal changes, the pattern of needs and need deriv- 
atives is transformed. On first sight, adolescent needs appear to be the 
same needs as those of the adult. A closer observation, however, points 
to marked differences peculiar to this stage of life. Motivational develop- 
ment in terms of needs involves many shifts of emphasis throughout 
infancy, childhood, and adolescence. The early phase of adolescence 


198 Adolescence 

may be seen readily as a climax of such changes. Gradual stabilization 
of the adult pattern takes place during late adolescence and early 

Fundamentally, human needs are generated by the intrinsic compo- 
nents of human nature. During the adolescent phase of life, the various 
dimensions of human nature are substantially advanced in their devel- 
opment. Therefore, adolescent needs, interests, and desires are as com- 
plex as they ever will be. Gratification of somatogenic needs, exemplified 
by the specific needs of energy such as oxygen, food, and fluids, is neces- 
sary for the maintenance of organismic functioning. Besides these pri- 
mary requisites for physical survival, there are the locomotive and sen- 
sory drives which affect behavior and elicit new traits. The human drives 
activated by needs make up forces which cause the individual to draw 
toward or away from something. Kurt Lewin [10], describing this attrac- 
tive or repulsive direction of drives, uses the term valence to denote 
qualities of an object by virtue of which the object enhances the power 
of the drives. 

The psychological dimension of human existence generates the need 
for affection, security, independence, and psychological integrity. Socio- 
genic needs include group acceptance, identification and group status, 
participation and recognition. The need for participation in cultural 
performances and the needs of a nousogenic and spiritual character 
may crown the total structure of human needs. Evidence of a hierarchy 
of needs may be observed in the later part of adolescence as a system 
of derived needs and compensations is established. 

During the process of advanced development, various abilities and 
skills are developed which enable the adolescent to seek successfully a 
gratification of fundamental and derived needs. The particular societal 
structure and culture in which each adolescent finds himself provide the 
media to satisfy the intricacies of the individual adolescent's needs; yet 
a poorly endowed or a handicapped adolescent may find it almost im- 
possible, in spite of effort, to maintain a satisfactory gratification of his 

It is good to keep in mind that the adolescent is not always specifically 
aware of his individual needs nor of the particular valences which are 
necessary for the gratification of these needs. For example, a careful 
medical examination may reveal the need of certain vitamins or hor- 
mones. Or again, a thorough psychological examination may indicate a 
lack of affectionate relationship which may be the underlying reason for 
excessive eating and the resulting obesity. 

Certain psychological and social needs greatly affect the adolescent 
and have far-reaching effects on his behavior and personality. A brief 
analysis of some of these needs will shed light on the adolescent life 

The Dynamics of Adolescent Behavior 199 

pattern, and may possibly make some of these adolescent drives, inter- 
ests, and desires less obscure. 

The need for security stands out in its motivational power. During 
adolescence, security is deeply rooted in the person's estimate of him- 
self — of his power and worth, his emotional balance, his social status, 
and his moral integrity [4, p. 166]. Security is largely founded on an 
attitude of self-confidence and self-control which, in turn, are promoted 
by the satisfaction of one's emotional needs. Social acceptance is a major 
factor in gratifying emotional needs. The adolescent feels secure when, 
in his quests or engagements, he is emotionally supported by his parents 
and some of his peers. The majority of adolescents lack adequate self- 
confidence when they cannot rely on their past experiences or when past 
experiences were adverse to them. Consequently, their expectancies are 
clouded with anticipation of danger and threat. They often experience 
ambivalence toward their own views and judgments. It is often difficult 
for the adolescent to make decisions because many times he wavers 
between antagonistic desires, between the need of support and independ- 
ence, between selfishness and altruism, between conformity and a desire 
to differ from others. Such experiences promote feelings of inadequacy 
which, in turn, elicit feelings of insecurity. 

The need for novel experiences may be seen as another motivational 
force driving the adolescent toward activity and self-involvement. Any- 
thing not as yet experienced attracts the youth. His curiosity to explore 
and to live his life fully is practically insatiable. The adolescent is eager 
to join various groups, to plan and make trips; his suggestibility about 
new activities and adventures is great indeed, especially if past similar 
activities were at least partially gratifying. Everyday experiences may 
often appear monotonous, and the desire to escape into something sensa- 
tional may emerge. 

The need for status is related to family, peers, and community. The 
adolescent has a deep desire to be accepted by his parents as he is, to 
be appreciated in his individuality, and to be dealt with on an equal 
basis. The intrinsic desire to belong and to share experiences with his 
peers is fundamental for the establishment of a status within his as yet 
limited community. Some adolescents do everything in their power to 
attract compeers or to attain an intimate level of association with mem- 
bers of both the same and the opposite sex. Moreover, the adolescent 
wants adult rights and privileges. Desires related to status appear to 
influence him in school and other institutions he comes in contact with. 
Many adolescents make some efforts to extend their control over commu- 
nity affairs in terms of their own needs and schemes. 

The need for physical and personal adequacy is one of the most de- 
manding needs during adolescence. Its gratification depends much upon 

200 Adolescence 

one's appraisal by others, especially peers. If a young person feels fully 
accepted by his reference groups, this need subsides; if not, self-defenses 
become intensified and make practical adjustment difficult. With a lack 
of social acceptance, tensions and conflicts are bound to arise which, in 
turn, elicit strong anxieties and feelings of inferiority. Manifold efforts 
to gain acceptance are usually made before despair and withdrawal 
become prevalent. In this way, leanings toward hostility and destruction 
are established, and violent assaults against others or oneself are made 


The powerful desire to grow and to mature in order to secure accept- 
ance into adult society and culture is marked during the latter part of 
adolescence. A recognition of developmental tasks may play a consider- 
able part in this process. However vague these tasks may be for many 
adolescents, they are gradually clarified for most individuals. Before the 
period of adolescence expires, developments and drives occur which 
move the adolescent toward a mastery of some of his developmental 
tasks regardless of whether he is clearly aware of his tasks and plans 
the means to accomplish them or is not conscious of them at all. 

Generally, several developmental tasks may be distinguished which 
pertain to the middle and late phases of adolescence: 

1. Accepting one's physique and its various attributes as something 
final and self-related. 

2. Attaining emotional independence from parents and parental 

3. Developing skills in interpersonal communication and learning to 
get along with compeers of both sexes and other people as well, individ- 
ually and in groups. 

4. Finding human models for emotional and self-identification. 

5. Accepting oneself and relying on one's own abilities and resources. 

6. Developing self-direction from within based on a scale of values, 
principles, and Weltanscliauung. 

7. Outgrowing infantile, puerile, and pubescent modes of reaction 
and adjustment. 

Much exploration and learning are necessary to move oneself ahead 
toward realization of these developmental tasks pertaining to this major 
phase of intensified living. The key sign of a person's adequacy is his 
progress in acquiring an adult pattern of motivation. 


A major characteristic of most needs, abilities, derived needs, interests, 
and desires is their dynamic tendency toward stimulating activities, by 

The Dynamics of Adolescent Behavior 201 

which they contribute to a variety of experiences of an adolescent. Inter- 
ests, as they pertain to adolescence proper, have to be first classified into 
major categories and then subdivided into typical individual interests 
and activities. This is done in order to survey them properly and to 
understand their role in the life of an individual adolescent. 

Some iaterests are self-centered and are expressed in many individual 
forms of activity; group activity is coincidental rather than basic. These 
interests and related activities may be identified as personal interests. 

Some interests, although personally motivated, are other-centered and 
directly involve participation of other individuals. Group activity is a 
fundamental means of expressing such interests. Other- and group- 
related interests will simply be referred to as social interests. 

The remaining kind of interests pertains to various cultural areas, such 
as reading, education, science and philosophy, law, music and the thea- 
ter. Such interests will be grouped as cultural interests. It might be 
interjected that some interests and activities may, under certain con- 
ditions, pertain to two or three areas; yet fundamentally they originate 
within only one of these areas and are so classified. For example, the 
adolescent's desire for recreation may be seen as a personal interest, 
yet various forms of recreation are often social in character, and a pref- 
erence for a particular form of social recreation may be largely deter- 
mined by environmental opportunities and cultural preferences. 

It is noteworthy that interest-related activities not merely exempHfy 
the underlying dynamics but also point up the personality structure and 
level of development as well. Interests and activities change with age 
and stage, yet much experimental evidence is needed to derive worth- 
while conclusions in assessing the adolescent's maturity or his adjustment 
on the basis of his interests. 


During pubescence, the adolescent is dominated by introversive and 
egocentric trends. His concern for himself is often far greater than that 
which he feels for parents, siblings, and companions. At times he is 
suspicious of others, and his relationships to them are strained and in- 
definite. This is a time when many personal interests and activities begin 
to crystallize and take a definite form. The boy is strongly motivated to 
demonstrate his bodily, temperamental, and self-adequacies, including 
all he recognizes as masculine qualities and prerequisites for his recog- 
nition as a man. Likewise, the girl begins to feel a necessity to assert 
her femininity, to promote good looks, and to improve her personahty. 

There are many individual personal interests, preoccupations, and 
problems. Several of them are of vital significance to many adolescents 
and are selected here for brief analysis. 

202 Adolescence 

Interest in appearance. During adolescence, concern about physical 
appearance stands out as a major dynamic factor. It is allied to mor- 
phological features of the organism, such as face, complexion, hair, and 
bodily measurements. Interest in appearance encompasses voice, clothes, 
ornaments, and cosmetics. 

The interests and activities associated with the change of appearance 
are magnified through the puberal bodily growth. Self-appraisal of 
bodily transformations and one's comparison to others bring forth new 
insights and some concerns. By his own experience, the adolescent 
learns that personal appearance plays a major role in social acceptability 
or lack of it, especially with the members of the opposite sex. To be 
accepted or to gain popularity, the adolescent must make efforts to con- 
form in his appearance with the patterns and expectations set by the 
adolescent and adult society at large. Since social drives are powerful, 
the young adolescent is anxious to get the approval of others. Hence, 
his attention is often focused upon himself. He critically examines his 
size, clothes, and appearance in order to compare favorably with others 
of similar age. Satisfaction with these estimates naturally raises his 
feelings of self-adequacy. If he finds a deviation, even an imaginary one, 
concern and worry appear. This concern is often so pronounced that 
teen-agers, especially girls, prefer to withstand considerable amounts of 
pain in order to correct deficiencies. They may temporarily withdraw 
from group activities rather than be exposed to unfavorable remarks and 
subsequent feelings of inferiority. Triviality and meticulousness are occa- 
sionally exhibited as the adolescent pays much attention to every possible 
aspect of appearance, and articles of clothing or adornment are adjusted 
many times. Since the postpuberal physical appearance is almost adult 
and resists change, the adolescent has to learn to control his feelings and . 
attitudes toward it. I 

Change of fashions and styles tends to produce additional worries as 
the adolescent learns to know them through the channels of adver- 
tising, television, and magazines. "What makes a woman charming?" 
is a compulsive question to many adolescent girls. Tallness, obesity, and 
lack of desired proportions are some of the more frequent problems of the 
girl. Being shorter than average and being heavy are the characteristics 
principally feared by the male adolescent. "What makes a man hand- 
some?" may be his preoccupation when the masculine qualities begin 
to impress him deeply. 

If the structure and proportions of the facial features are acceptable 
to the adolescent, he — and this is especially true of the boys — will show 
little concern about them. A very important feature is the complexion. 
Emotional turmoil and mental conflicts are often accompanied by acne 
and other skin eruptions. While it is difficult for a boy to cover up pig- 

K The Dynamics of Adolescent Behavior 203 

mentation and minor skin disturbances, girls can use creams, rouge, and 
powder to their advantage. Adolescent giils spend much time before the 
mirror in the hope of achieving an attractive complexion. 

Rarely, if ever, is an adolescent girl pleased with the qualities of her 
hair. Either the color, density, or distribution is unacceptable. Various 
means are used to modify hair and to keep it in a selected style. 
Much interest is also paid to the general hygiene of the body, 
including dental care, control of perspiration, and manicure. 

The growth processes at puberty usually aflFect the vocal mechanism 
significantly as the speech-productive organs undergo final adjustments 
to a particular language. When the pitch of voice lowers, cracks in the 
voice may occur. Difficulties in controlling the voice are frequent among 
boys, whose voices drop nearly an octave. In girls, the change is much 
more moderate, and it is not likely to cause embarrassment. Since they 
recognize that they are being evaluated not merely on their looks but 
also on the modal qualities of their voices, girls and boys strive to acquire 
pleasant voices. 

Appearance is much affected by apparel, jewelry, and other ornaments. 
Even a child is concerned with his clothes. Sometimes he refuses to wear 
a certain kind of apparel for fear of being teased by his classmates. 
Much concern is shown by the teen-ager. He has no difiBculty in realizing 
the role clothes play in the eyes of peers and in society at large. Personal 
attractiveness is enhanced by good selection of clothes for an occasion. 
In order to attract attention, the adolescent often chooses highly saturated 
hues. Something red is a frequent selection on the part of the teen-age 
girl. Styles and fashions of the season readily get due consideration. Since 
decorations on the clothes make the adolescent appear either more mature 
or sophisticated, many adolescents show much interest in them. A desire 
for novelty and surprise is an important factor in adolescent choice of 
clothing and ornaments. Usually by the time the adolescent has taken 
on the characteristics of an adult and has discarded those of the teen- 
ager, he has acquired many skills and good taste in the selection of 
desirable clothing. Then he prefers less saturated and better harmonized 
colors. In the late phase of adolescence, he is ready to evade conformities 
in clothing and hair style. Yet his self-reliance, social satisfaction, and 
eflBciency continue to remain affected by proper appearance, behavior, 
and clothes. 

Daydreaming. Fantasy is one of the universal forms of adolescent 
self-expression and escape. A strong drive for new sensations and experi- 
ences finds its partial gratification in this form of self -preoccupation. In 
daydreaming, imagined activities and the vicarious experiences following 
them usually fuse elements of past events and future anticipation. The 
more vivid an imagination one has, the more dramatized will be his 


204 Adolescence 

fantasies of his relationship to people and to the world. A noticeable 
feature of daydreaming is one's assumption of the hero or central role. 
This seemingly inflates the dreamer's self-importance, which otherwise 
may be a very diflScult task to achieve. Since during puberty and adoles- 
cence many persons suffer greatly from a lack of security, from feelings 
and attitudes of inadequacy and inferiority, from adult restrictions and 
school requirements, and from real and merely imagined deficiencies and 
stresses, escape into their realm of fantasy is a major source of relief. 
This withdrawal into a world of one's own creation offers an evasion of 
many unpleasant realities. 

It is further assumed that fantasy provides the raw material for post- 
puberal steps in self-realization. The teen-ager pictures his tasks, activities, 
and aspirations by means of vicarious and idealistic self-projection into 
future roles and activities. The formulation of a self-ideal is gradually 

Expressionism in dreams and reveries may become too frequent and 
turn into a deeply entrenched habit of retreat from facing of situational 
demands. Excessive daydreaming may deprive the adolescent of his self- 
initiative in the utilization of factual opportunities and of engagement in 
the constructive learning activities which are necessary in the process 
of developing a reservoir of abilities and skills. Puberticism is a term 
used to designate this mentally unhealthy attitude of readiness to sub- 
merge oneself in fantasies which have little relationship to reality. Ulti- 
mately, they may promote neurotic and psychotic tendencies. Some 
adolescents, though possessing good endowment, cannot properly utilize 
their potential. They may continue brooding and living in their reveries 
instead of making any reahstic steps to outgrow mental pubescence. More 
generally, day and night dreaming subside as a person takes practical 
steps toward an attainment of the higher levels of maturation so charac- 
teristic of late adolescence. 

Need of literary self-expression. Communication with oneself, or self- 
reflection, precedes and often supplements the advanced forms of com- 
munication with others. As the self -centered baby talk precedes the 
acquisition of speech, so the imaginary and literary notions precede 
advanced forms of adolescent interpersonal communication. Literary self- 
expression is a developmental characteristic for a significant minority of 
adolescents who experience a strong need to formulate their feelings and 
thoughts about personally significant events and to render them in some 
way objectified. 

Recording is one of the ways to make experiences self-observable. 
Diaries, letters, poetry, short novels, compositions of music, and auto- 
biographic accounts ra the form of short stories of real life represent the 
usual forms of literary writing at this phase of life. A need to confide in 

The Dynamics of Adolescent Behavior 205 

an intimate friend is dynamic, but many teen-agers do not as yet have 
such close friends or do not trust them enough to share all the facts and 
concerns about themselves. Formulating one's inner experiences and 
problems and putting them onto paper can be a substitution for intimate 
friendship. The diary often becomes the first silent confidant to whom 
many secret desires, behavior problems, and ambitions are told without 
the author being reproached or getting ashamed about it. Furthermore, 
the adolescent may consider his experiences, feelings, and thoughts as 
very important and thus may want to preserve them. 

Writings at puberty and early adolescence are primarily signs of emo- 
tional growth and social maturation rather than expressions of literary 
giftedness. From a psychological viewpoint, adolescent writings are 
equivalent to immature forms of conversation. The pressures of self- 
expressive drives find an outlet that offers some relief from the feelings 
of isolation experienced in this phase of psychological development. 
Writing a diary may become an habitual activity, and in some cases it 
will not be abandoned at the approach of mental maturit}'^ but continued 
into adulthood. 

Leta S. Hollingworth [8, pp. 189-90] and Charlotte Buhler [6] have 
concluded that diary writing and similar forms of literary preoccupation 
are typically the activity of adolescents with superior intelligence. A 
higher degree of introversion during this phase also seems to be related to 
a vivid fantasy and literary production during the mid-phase of adoles- 
cence. Various forms of writing are used more often by girls than by boys 
[9, p. 210]. 

Watching movies and television plays of a dramatic and comic type 
and reading novels, poetry, and stories from "real life" may have similar 
relieving effects on adolescent emotional tension and may partially satisfy 
the need of novel experiences. 

Self-direction. During childhood, a preference for the performance of 
activities which have been self-determined rather than determined by 
someone else is often seen. The desire for self-direction usually becomes 
stronger as puberty nears and is one of the most dynamic traits of the 
young adolescent. It manifests itself as a continually rising pressure to 
break away from many existing bonds and from dependence on others. 
The need to proclaim one's own mind and personality and to assert what 
are seen as one's own rights is very pronounced after the onset of puberal 
changes. Various forms of self-assertion, including aggressiveness in 
defense of one's own status or relationship, show that teen-agers are more 
self-assertive than children. A desire for optimal self-direction not infre- 
quently leads to various forms of friction between young adolescents and 
their parents. Differences of view in regard to the selection of activities, 
companions, and vocation, social tact and manners, and education are 

206 Adolescence 

frequent factors in the parent-adolescent discords. Feelings of being 
misunderstood and a desire to leave the home are produced when parents 
rely solely on their experience or authority in maintaining restrictions 
and inflexible views. Many adolescents, especially girls, find it difficult to 
achieve their vital right of self-direction. Parents usually consider their 
own advice, preferences, and controls as very important, and along with 
some educators, have difficulty in realizing the importance of self-direc- 
tion and self-reliance on the part of the teen-ager. The adolescent's desire 
for spending allowances as he chooses, for privacy regarding telephone 
calls and mail, and for the retreat of a room of his own are occasionally 
disregarded by parents. The adolescent feels hurt and distrusted when 
he is asked many questions about where he has been and what he has 
done. This overprotective practice of the parents often aims to prevent 
errors which the parents fear the young adolescent is Hable to make. 
The adolescent will make errors as he strives to act on his own, and 
through these errors he will gain experience which can be rehed upon at 
a later date. 

Vocational preference. Vocation is another major area of adolescent 
concern, especially on the part of boys. At this phase of life, the indi- 
vidual understands the general need of a vocation. Therefore, a realistic 
consideration about vocational preferences takes place in the second 
half of adolescence. Occasionally vocational training begins before the 
teen-ager completes his high school education. An adolescent is often 
aware of the vocation he would like to pursue, but, as is typical of the 
adolescent phase, there is not sufficient maturity to allow him to make a 
serious choice. A considerable minority of adolescents are confused about 
their vocational possibilities or the education needed for them. 

Many adolescents are also pressed to make an early vocational decision 
long before they are able to evaluate the many factors related to their 
own endowments and the ultimate consequences of their choice. As a 
result, a need to change a vocational selection is frequently felt and 
attempted by young adults. Public opinion surveys related to careers 
generally reveal a dissatisfaction among the majority of factory workers 
and a significant minority of those engaged in other occupations. 

Studies on adolescent occupational preferences show a high percentage 
of adolescents selecting professional vocations. This points to a lack of 
realistic self-appraisal because many of those selecting professions will 
not qualify for them [11]. 

Acquirement of occupational status is a contributing factor toward 
economic security and personal independence. It is frequently allied with 
improved adjustment and a mature adaptation to the societal forms of 
life. The achievement of a vocational status is often followed by marriage 
and acquirement of a new home. Vocation and marriage are thus the two 

The Dynamics of Adolescent Behavior 207 

last major steps toward adult level of maturity. Marriage is the vocation 
of most girls. As a result, girls' career needs decline as marriage is con- 
templated. Additional data on vocation and marriage are presented in the 
next chapter. 

Recreational activities. Play is the child's principal form of recrea- 
tion. During the course of puberal developments, child-play activities 
are largely discarded. At this age, however, the need for amusement 
and relaxation increases. Frequently motion pictures, watching TV plays, 
reading magazines, papers, and books, listening to recorded music, and 
accumulating collections are some of the typical forms of pubescent 
recreation. Athletic and creative activities, trips and youth gatherings, 
and dancing parties are added to the repertoire of diversional activities 
as the years of adolescence pass if not before. 

Recreational interests and activities are closely alHed to both socio- 
centered and culture-centered factors. Additional data on them will 
therefore be found in the following sections of this chapter. 


Social activities of the adolescent are largely aflFected by his family 
attitudes, sex, personality, disposition toward or away from introversion, 
and environmental opportunities for socialization. A bright extroverted 
adolescent may be expected to have more social interests than a less 
bright individual, whose interests will also be different from those of a 
bright introvert. Adolescent social interaction may be classified by these 
interests: (1) interpersonal communication, (2) group and party activi- 
ties, and (3) helping others. 

Interpersonal communication. As the years of adolescence pass, inter- 
personal communication expands. There is, however, a marked difference 
between the introverts and the extroverts. Extroverted persons are rela- 
tively eager to establish many forms of interpersonal communication 
in order to share their experiences, feelings, attitudes, and thoughts 
with their compeers. The introverts are kept busy with self-preoccupa- 
tions of various kinds for some time before they feel secure enough 
to establish this form of self-expression in personal matters with their 

The sharing of personal experience is a fundamental requisite for 
adolescent adjustment. Many teen-agers appear irritable and in low spirits 
when they are separated from their best companions. When the adoles- 
cent is alone for a long while or far away from his close friends, an 
accumulation of experience, conflicts, and problems takes place. He soon 
feels uneasy and is motivated for some kind of communication. Long 
letters and telephone calls usually serve the purpose of communication 

208 Adolescence 

over a distance, and they are often sufficient substitutes for the personal 

Generally adolescents prefer activities which ofiFer much opportunity 
for conversation. The desire to express oneself orally is often so vivid 
that it is impossible to follow any parliamentary procedure of talking in 
turn. Even in those places where conversation is particularly disturbing, 
such as movies or high school classes, continual chattering in a whisper 
or low tone not infrequently takes place. Much of the leisure time is spent 
with friends lounging around comer drugstores, which usually serves 
the same objective, namely conversational self-expression. In the second 
half of the adolescent span, small group conversations are frequently 
quite free and frank. 

Dating is one of the common forms of establishing more intimate 
relationships with members of the opposite sex. Since urges for this kind 
of intimacy exist, dating is used by the adolescent as a means of testing 
his popularity with selected members of the other sex. 

The subjects of interpersonal communication in adolescence run the 
gamut of the areas of human living, including ( 1 ) social events and inter- 
personal relationships, dates, and participation in athletic activities, (2) 
sex and morals, (3) jokes, movies, TV and stage stars, (4) reading, (5) 
teachers and parents, (6) dancing, clothes, and money, and (7) com- 
munity, church, and political aflFairs. Personal views and attitudes toward 
them are expressed as a matter of course. 

Verbal activities enhance the individual's art in conversational skills, 
which generates new interests and attitudes, develops broader viewpoints 
and amplifies general knowledge, thus greatly enriching the adolescent's 
personality. It prepares the ground for peer identification and social 
intimacy. All of these activities are maturity promoting and necessary for 
the later phases of life. 

Group and party activities. A major source for the development of 
social manners, graces, tact, and adolescent social attachments is group 
and party activities. Preadolescent interest in group activities enlivens 
itself in a new form at the age of postpuberty, when the individual com- 
pletes his physiological and sexual maturation. At this age, his desire 
to attract companions is expanded to include members of the other sex. 
With very few exceptions, girls and boys enjoy gatherings and group 
activities because such activities offer many opportunities to present 
themselves to their peers, to play various games, and to assume new roles. 
Whenever music can be made available, dancing may be added. Girls' 
interests in adolescent parties start about two years earlier because they 
mature earlier. Boys' interests are often handicapped by their lack of 
confidence and skill in assuming the initiative. 

Teen-agers prefer informal gatherings of their own without adult 

The Dynamics of Adolescent Behavior 209 

participation. Any formal procedure in the adult sense of the term is 
tension producing and offers little recreation to them. Therefore, many 
formal parties end in a most informal setting. Adolescents prefer to plan 
their own parties. Much deliberation is given to details, such as what re- 
freshments are to be purchased, how furniture is to be rearranged, what 
music to get, and, especially, what clothes to wear. Heterosexual associa- 
tions during such parties may represent another milestone in the total 
process of socialization. 

Recently H. A. Bloch and A. Niederhoffer [2] analyzed and interpreted 
adolescent group activities in terms of rites, rituals, and delinquency. 
Developmental needs, relationships to present-day society and culture 
were also appraised. The findings indicate that the ritual and 
stereotyped behavior in the more subtle adolescent activities play a 
decisive role in promoting feelings of security and a sense of adequacy. 

Interest in helping others. Interest in helping others is usually 
dynamic during the phases of adolescence. It might be inferred that an 
adolescent's sensitivity to the needs of others is related to his own 
problems and diflBculties. A person in need or distress soon becomes a 
source of considerable concern for the adolescent even if the person is a 
complete stranger. His sympathy is undivided when it concerns a friend. 
Most adolescents are capable of identifying themselves with a man or a 
group in distress, become ego-involved, and may throw themselves 
enthusiastically into suggested action. Altruism and charity permeate 
many of their activities and often outbalance the tendency to discriminate. 
Severe social injustice and oppression of persons, nations, or religions 
elicit an urge for assistance and a drive to reform the existing ills. 

In applying his powers and resources to helping others, the adolescent 
is ready with advice and service as well as sacrifice. Various social services 
attract the minds of the adolescents. Since the teen-ager is quite gullible 
and easily suggestible, persuasive speakers may elicit their energies for 
any kind of radical ideas. Without considering the sacrificing support 
of the youth, the success of European communism, Nazism, and fascism 
could not be explained. Youth fell prey to their advanced propaganda 
techniques. Moreover, the extremist, with his ideologies, seems to have 
a specific appeal to adolescents. The will to reform may be elicited and 
readily directed toward various parts of the environment: home and 
school, community, state, and the world at large. 


The adolescent is capable of responding specifically to various dimen- 
sions and factors of his own culture as well as culture in general. As a 
result, views and interests related to cultural factors, such as education. 

210 Adolescence 

religion, science and philosophy, reading matter, entertainment, law, and 
politics, emerge and grow as the adolescent level of development is 
advanced. Intensification of cultural interests is more closely allied with 
late adolescence and early adulthood. 

Education. Education is a process in which the adolescent is deeply 
involved. Not only does it account for a major portion of his daily 
activity, it also serves as a major testing area for his rapidly expanding 
modes of intellectual and social adjustment. The curriculum, teacher's 
personality, group relationships, and extracurricular activities are all 
factors aflFecting him directly. 

Because curricula differ from one school system to another, because 
his powers of intellectual inquiry and reasoning advance so rapidly, 
and because he frequently displays considerable idealism, many impor- 
tant issues arise for the adolescent. To what extent, for example, should 
purely academic subjects be studied, especially when such topics are 
not directly related to vocational aspirations? What is the responsibility 
of the school with regard to preparing the individual for special trades 
or professions? What duty, if any, does the school have in teaching 
certain fundamental moral and religious concepts? What emphasis 
should education place upon the development of personality traits and 
social skills? How should various subjects be taught in order to make 
them most effective? What are the traits most necessary and desirable 
for a teacher? These and many other questions confront the adolescent 
as he continues his education. 

Because of his tendencies toward idealism, together with his inability 
to perceive many practical problems, the young person often expresses 
considerable criticism of modern educational systems and educators. 
In many such cases, to be sure, such criticisms are not without merit. 
The questions raised, the answers proposed, and the personal reactions 
to these, however, provide significant information regarding the person- 
ality dynamics and level of maturity of the individual. Resistance to 
school authority and its rules is one frequent response observed among 
young persons. Coupled with this is the reaction of truancy. On the 
other hand, frequent attempts to assist and identify with teachers may 
be seen. Some idealistically inclined adolescents even seek to introduce 
various reforms within the school, including its educational philosophy. 
The magnitude of the problem of reconciling the conflict between school- 
oriented tasks and personal desires, however, is clearly revealed by 
recent studies which show that approximately half of the young persons 
in this country possess a moderate to strong desire to discontinue their 
education before the state law permits. 

Religion. Religion penetrates all aspects of human life — personal, social, 
economic, and cultural. Whether in a positive or negative sense, it is a 

The Dynamics of Adolescent Behavior 211 

major motivational force during adolescence. Religious reevaluation 
occurs, and the great majority of adolescents respond sensitively to 
religious truth. They may worry about some religious issues, since these 
are variously explained. Although most adolescents believe in God and 
life hereafter, doubts are frequently reported regarding some specific 
dogmas of faith or some practices. The transition from childhood religious 
concepts to a mature acceptance of religious values and practices is not 
smooth for many adolescents. Yet in many cases the religious reevaluation 
is a gradual process rather than an abrupt and deeply emotional change 
of experience and attitudes. When developed, a deep and abiding faith 
has emotional, moral, and intellectual constituents, and it affects the total 
individual. Religious maturation is often completed at the college level 
since college education often favors a development of a religious philos- 
ophy of life. Religion is a source for the most comprehensive philosophy 
since it embraces goals and relationships of the individual during this 
life and identifies the life hereafter as a chief purpose for which to strive. 
For the adolescent, then, religion is a source of ideals and goals. When 
its values and principles are clearly comprehended and incorporated into 
the total personality, it motivates and directs behavior. Moreover, it 
enables the adolescent to evaluate his experiences and conduct and to 
recognize their ultimate meaning to him as a responsible individual. 

Science. Science, as well as philosophy, appeals to the adolescent as 
his intellectual capacities approach the adult level. Adolescents often 
imagine science and science-oriented philosophy to be a source where- 
from he can gain final answers to his questions. Scientific source books 
and encyclopedias may be seen as major sources of human wisdom. 
Adolescents may make some efforts to contact these references in order 
to gain specific information. Naturally they often fail to realize that each 
bit of progress in science opens many new issues and questions, that 
scientific knowledge at best only approximates the truth but usually 
does not reveal it. 

In late adolescence, capacity for conceptualization and theorization 
increases markedly. However, because of the adolescent's inexperience, 
the findings of science, as compared with those of revelation, often appear 
to him to be in conflict. 

Reading matter. Reading matter affects youth in many ways, and an 
adolescent's reading choices tend to reveal his areas of interest and con- 
centration. Books, magazines, and pamphlets commonly read by adoles- 
cents show their level of interest concentration. The frequency of reading 
sex magazines seems to indicate a lack of balance in present adolescent 
reading. The lives of famous historical personalities, literary figures, and 
Saints, however, fortunately rank high with a significant number of 

212 Adolescence 

The reading matter and pictorial arts used by adolescents offer much 
material for their vicarious experiences and recreation. These materials 
also aid in the process of adaptation to the American way of life. At the 
same time advertising elicits many new desires and wants. In this way it 
may become a conflict-inducing force since adolescents often lack finan- 
cial means to follow the whims elicited by advertising. 

Entertainment. Entertainment basically serves the purposes of distrac- 
tion and recreation. It encompasses music and theater, radio, TV, motion 
pictures, and creative and athletic activities. Normally the adolescent's 
interest is directed toward most of these, yet environmental facilities and 
financial factors may restrict his participation to two or three areas. 
Adolescents need a variety of recreational activities to absorb their 
energies and apply their abilities and skills. A balanced repertoire of 
such activities furthers the physical and mental stature of the individual. 
Since many recreational activities are social in character, the adolescent 
finds opportunities to test his social graces and skills. 

Law. Law of the state and ordinances of the community are related 
media of social control with which the adolescent comes in contact. Since 
the teen-ager did not have any say of his own in the process of legislation 
or the establishment of the law-enforcing institutions, he is likely to 
disregard and come in conflict with some specific regulations. The expres- 
sion of his aggressive tendencies may also infringe on a law. Adjustment 
to some laws and regulations may be a slow process for a significant 
minority of the adolescents. They may fail to realize that only the most 
primitive societies can afford to act on custom. The intricacies of social 
intercourse in a highly specialized society require regulations and law 
in order to preserve order and to protect the rights of the individual. 

Politics. Politics, another area of culture, affects the adolescent and 
elicits his interest in political and diplomatic affairs concerning his 
country and its relationships to other states. The teen-ager is often curious 
about elections, international conferences, reforms, coups d'etat, and 
revolutions. Travel on his part may strengthen his curiosity to gain 
knowledge about other cultures and nations and may promote global- 
minded views instead of the frequent provincial isolation. The question- 
ing of legal authority may be interpreted as evidence of the adolescent's 
general search for autonomy and independence. 

In studying the factors of adolescent motivation, one should bear in 
mind the pivotal relationship between the frequent and powerful prompt- 
ings from within and the situational opportunities of the adolescent's 
milieu, both of which mold and direct his energies and drives into 
adequate or inadequate patterns of activity and experience. The following 
chapter on personality development brings together many clarifying 
facts and interpretations on this point. 

The Dynamics of Adolescent Behavior 213 


1. Identify a psychogenic need and indicate its valences during the phase of 

2. What do human needs have to do with the development of adolescent 

3. List several developmental tasks of adolescence and explain one of them. 
What might be some of the results if certain developmental tasks were not mastered 
throughout adolescence? 

4. Enumerate several personally centered interests. Select one for your detailed 

5. Identify social interests. Explain one of them as it applies to the different 
phases of adolescence. 

6. What are the cultural areas which elicit adolescent interest and concern? 
Select one cultural area for detailed analysis. Relate it to the present-day adolescent 

7. What is the role which interests and interest-based activities play in the 
process of adjustment of an adolescent? 

8. Explain what cultural interests have to do with personahty and character 
formation during adolescence. 


I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Ausubel, David P. Theory and Problems of Adolescent Development. New 
York: Grune & Stratton, 1954. This large volume on adolescent study emphasizes 
development of ego and personahty. 

2. Bloch, Herbert A., and Arthur Niederhoffer. The Gang. New York: Phil- 
osophical Library, 1958. The ganging process is analyzed in primitive and modem 
settings; puberal and adolescent "rites" and their imphcations are stressed. 

3. Hurlock, EUzabeth B. Adolescent Development. (2nd ed. ) New York: McGraw- 
Hill, 1955. Two chapters deal with interests; several chapters analyze factors in 
personality development. 

4. Schneiders, Alexander A. Personality Development and Adjustment in Adoles- 
cence. Milwaukee: Bruce, 1960. Chaps. 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14. A good exposition 
of interests, values, and related motivational factors. 

II. Specific References 

5. Amatora, Sister M. Free Expression of Adolescent Interests. Genet. Psychol. 
Monogr., 1957, 55, 173-219. 

6. Buhler, Charlotte. ]ugendtagebuch und Lehenslauf. Jena, 1932. 

7. Frank, Lawrence K., and M. Frank. Your Adolescent at Home and in School. 
New York: Viking, 1956. 

8. HoUingworth, Leta S. The Psychology of the Adolescent. New York: Mac- 
millan, 1928. 

9. Kuhlen, Raymond G. The Psychology of Adolescent Development. New York: 
Harper, 1952. 

10. Lewin, Kurt. Principles of Topological Psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill, 

11. Stevenson, R. M. Occupational Aspirations and Plans of 443 Ninth Graders. 
/. educ. Res., 1955, 49, 27-35. 



Development of 
Personality and Character 

PERSONALITY evolves by a gradual process of development and maturation 
of the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual qualities of an 
individual. Each of these aspects of growth and development are inter- 
related; they act and are acted upon by each other, and each quality 
relates directly or indirectly to the person's total responses to his environ- 
ment. The individual's unique configuration or pattern of responses to his 
environment is called personality. 

These major aspects of personality — physical, mental, emotional, social, 
and spiritual capacities — have certain needs or tasks that must be fulfilled 
before further development can take place. Physically, a child or adoles- 
cent needs food and exercise for somatic development. Emotionally, an 
infant or child needs affection and security. Mentally, socially, and 
spiritually, the child needs opportunities to develop skills which can be 
mastered only by frequent experiences. One or another of these aspects 
of development may present conflicts for the individual at various times, 
the solution and mastery of which leads the individual to a greater degree 
of maturation. A system of traits, attitudes, interests, habits, and activities 
is slowly formed as a result of the many experiences encountered by the 
child, and these qualities and characteristics tend to give the personality 
a certain observable pattern. 

Adolescence is a key phase of final personality development and inte- 
gration. A fully mature personality is possible only when all major 
growth factors have had an opportunity to develop toward their maximal 
capacity. It is of paramount importance that an individual goes through 
each successive level of development before a final integration of 


Development of Personality and Cliaracter 215 

personality structure can take place. The pattern of personality as set 
in childhood is revised during the phases of adolescence when new factors 
and experiences enter the individual's life and affect personality organiza- 

Briefly, some of the new factors and experiences which arise in adoles- 
cence to alter the personality are (1) rapid physical changes, (2) sexual 
maturation accompanied by new emotional urges hitherto unknown to 
the person, (3) a greater awareness of self resulting in a desire for self- 
direction marked by a reevaluation of standards, aims, and ideals, (4) 
an intense need for sociaHzation with emphasis on heterosexual friend- 
ships, and (5) numerous conflicts arising from the fact that the adoles- 
cent is part child and part adult. 

Relative stabilization and integration of personality are reached during 
the years of late adolescence and early adulthood when the person finds 
his place in society and has gained control over his feelings and himself. 
Some individuals, however, may never reach maturity in all dimensions 
of their personahty. 

Lack of personahty development can often be caused by a low bio- 
logical and mental endowment but also by remaining too long in any one 
of the childhood or adolescent stages of development, which is often due 
to the lack of proper parental guidance. Remaining immature usually 
involves fixations and a lack of an experimental attitude. These fixations 
restrain flexibility and learning, and so lower the maturation of person- 
ality. Trivial difiiculties in adjustment during childhood may later become 
more powerful influences generating problems and antisocial behavior. 
Early frustrating and conflict-producing experiences leave deep imprints 
which act as organizers of anxiety, hostile attitudes, and destructive 


Adolescents are unequally endowed in both major and minor capaci- 
ties, in physical capabilities and mental powers. Tlie repertoire of ac- 
quired abilities and skills differs extensively too. Aspirations formulated 
during the phases of adolescence are usually high. Many young persons 
are striving for goals and achievement levels which are out of reasonable 
proportion to their endowments and acquired abihties. Analyses of ado- 
lescents' goals and ambitions are often remindful of neurotic and pre- 
psychotic inconsistencies. Since their aspirations are unrealistic, they often 
fail to attain the goals they seek, which then ehcits deep disappointment. 
This is often accompanied by feelings of self-inadequacy tinted with 
depression or excitement. 

The resultant conflicts and frustrations bring forth either constructive 

216 Adolescence 

or in some ways unsatisfactory reevaluations of oneself and society. 
Hostility and aggressive tendencies may accumulate and grow into 
powerful forces leading to struggles against societal regulations and, 
especially, against persons of authority. 

Many adolescents and young adults have diflBculties in discarding un- 
attainable and too idealistic notions of their aspirational structure. Ego 
weakness and lack of self-understanding apparently contribute much 
toward this distorted picture. Parental pressure toward raising status is 
also an important factor in promoting discontent. An adolescent's ap- 
praisal of his level of endowment and capacities usually lacks in depth 
and applicability. Repeated failures only may make him aware of some 
deep inconsistencies in self-appraisal. Attuning of aspirations to abilities 
and skills is a major task in avoiding severe conflict situations and in 
promoting personality development. 

The realization of one's inner life, of promptings related to one's en- 
dowments and assets as they form a frame of reference for selfhood, con- 
stitutes the core of adolescent personality development. The inner life is 
elevated by a magnified self-awareness and a tendency toward reflection. 
As a result, questions arise about phenomena and events wholly accepted 
before. The adolescent reevaluates himself, his feelings, beliefs, desires, 
and joys. He also considers and reestimates his companions, parents, 
teachers, education, and the world at large. They appear now in a new 
light. He ponders his future and his place in society, his relationship to 
God, and his religious obligations. Frequently he is concerned with his 
present status and problems of adjustment due to the inconsistency of 
his emotional responses, which are unpredictable and likely to lead him 
into personal troubles. The efficient utilization of intellectual powers for 
self-study is a prerequisite for the advancement of personality organiza- 
tion into its highest operation. The resultant behavior may be seen as a 
major index of personality development. 

Adolescent personality growth is marked by a progress toward more 
adequate social responses to fellow adolescents of both sexes and adults 
as well. A desire to acquire permanent companions of the other sex and 
to follow the adult pattern of social interaction is a cardinal sign of per- 
sonality growth. Vicarious exploration of interpersonal relationships in 
movies, biography, and fiction give way to a more realistic approach. 
Girls, and to a lesser degree boys too, begin to think about qualities 
desired in a prospective life partner. Gradually their heterosexual associa- 
tions and friendships become more selective because some more realistic 
notions about later life appear. The adolescent is very dependent on his 
peers as a group for support and encouragement. This dependence is a 
deep social need for at times it seems to the adolescent that these asso- 
ciates are the only people who fully understand him. Their capacity for 

Development of Personality and Character 217 

understanding is strengthened by experience of similar changes and 
trials. Quite frequently, peer approval is of utmost importance, even to 
the point of causing conflicts with parents and other representatives of 
authority. The adolescent's selection of emotionally and morally mature 
friends is highly desirable because the standards and values of the peer 
group have a strong and lasting influence on each of its members. Gen- 
erally, adolescents who are raised in a morally acceptable and emotion- 
ally mature environment will tend to seek friends of this level — they do 
not need vicarious "kicks." 


Values and their derivatives are intrinsically related to meaning. V. E. 
Frankl of Vienna introduced a very useful concept, the "will to meaning." 
This term finds a specific application in the adolescent's quest for values 
and virtue during this heightened period of experience. The self is not 
merely a core of personality but also the center in one's personal search 
for standards and ideals. Before adolescence begins, some values and 
attitudes have been embraced by the child and preadolescent. If emo- 
tions and sentiments are adequately developed, an adolescent's response 
to externally embodied values will be magnified during the later part of 
adolescence. Through repeating individualized responses to values and 
ideals as these are portrayed by his peers, parents, and community, an 
adolescent develops new traits and attitudes. New views and convictions 
are added when intellectual abilities are set into action in the total proc- 
ess of reality evaluation. There is common agreement among experts in 
the field that values, attitudes, and ideals act as prominent organizers of 
behavior as soon as an adolescent assimilates them. Through experience, 
the adolescent is able to bring his scale of values into focus and to set 
standards based on these values. He must, however, rely upon himself 
for this analysis so that he can properly evaluate his goals in life and 
ascertain the means necessary to obtain the goals. 

As has been pointed out, a primary source of information pertaining 
to the interpretation of meaning and values is the social environment 
of the adolescent. Values and meanings are "taken in" from significant 
persons such as parents, teachers, and peer-group leaders. Peers begin to 
rank high as an adolescent moves to free himself from parental and adult 
influences. Occasionally, life-determining decisions are the results of inti- 
mate friendships. In the advanced years of adolescence, societal and 
cultural norms and expectations gain substantially in their conditioning 

Late adolescence is an age during which the formulation of a value 
scale often becomes final. Many adolescent difficulties can be traced to 

218 Adolescence 

the fact that our society has no set norm of values. As a result, the ado- 
lescent is unable to understand the importance and place of religious and 
moral values and activate them in his own plan of grow^th and adjust- 
ment. More than occasionally the ultimate source of value or sanction 
remains unidentified. An illustration of this may be taken from the v^ork 
of the Educational Policies Commission of the National Education Asso- 
ciation of the United States and the American Association of School 
Administrators [2, pp. 18-30]. The commission has attributed supreme 
importance to individual personality as the basic moral and spiritual 
value in American life. If this is the case — continues the Commission — 
the other leading tenets include these: 

1. Each person should feel responsible for the consequences of his 
own conduct. Moral responsibility and self-direction are marks of 

2. The human mind should be liberated by access to information and 

3. Excellence in mind, character, and creative ability should be 

4. Each person should be oflFered the emotional and spiritual experi- 
ences which transcend the materialistic aspects of life. 

The advice to help people "transcend the materialistic aspects of life," 
with the indication that "the individual personality is supreme" in value, 
sheds little light to help the child, adolescent, teacher, or parent as the 
authors fail to give concrete suggestions for putting the advice into prac- 
tical use. Also, such questionable interpretation of "supreme value" is 
sufficient to call forth a conflict or promote an ambivalent attitude 
toward identification of supreme values. Too often education leaves the 
adolescent to act on his own resources. It is difficult for him to solve 
educational and culture-reinforced conflicts. It is possible that some of 
these unsolved conflicts lead to the formation of the neurotic personality 
so common in our time. Since a hierarchy of values is not formed, many 
traditional values are rejected and the empty sphere is not filled with 
acceptable substitutes. Therefore, a conflict situation emerges in which 
the involved person is referred to as unrealistic. What to do in situations 
where suggested tenets conflict, for example, the principle of equality 
versus respect for excellence and self-direction versus a common decision, 
is not sufficiently explained. The development of a full human nature im- 
plies the necessity of a religion-oriented scheme of values. The school 
should serve as one of the main channels for this scheme. 

Two added theses, (1) that the teaching of values should permeate 
the entire educational process, and (2) that all the school's resources 
should be used to teach moral and spiritual values [2, pp. 55, 60], are 
excellent, but impossible in terms of the tenets already mentioned. The 

Development of Personality and Character 219 

same applies to the demand for "the pubhc school to teach objectively 
about religion without advocating or teaching any religious creed" [2, p. 
77]. Increased confusion is bound to result when the assumption is made 
that American education must be derived from the "moral and spiritual 
values which are shared by the members of all religious faiths." The 
religions vary too much to agree on a common course for teaching re- 
ligious living. A basic course suitable to all religions would be much too 
vague to be of any significant help to the individual student professing 
a faith. It is felt that a course in religion common to all faiths would 
present many controversial issues without offering concrete guidance. 

Two further quotations may shed some light on the issue of religious 
education as seen by the Educational Policies Commission: 

To omit from the classroom all references to religion and the institutions of 
religion is to neglect an important part of American life. Knowing about 
religion is essential for a full understanding of our culture, literature, art, 
history, and current affairs. That religious beliefs are controversial is not an 
adequate reason for excluding teaching about religion from the public schools 
[2 pp. 77-78]. 

The Commission comes to the conclusion that the public schools will con- 
tinue to be indispensable in the total process of developing moral and spiritual 
values, and that they can and should increase their effectiveness in this 
respect [2, p. 100]. 

The authors agree with this conclusion and consider teaching of re- 
ligion in schools as a factor crucial to the development of a mature per- 
sonality and moral character. Why should religion be any more isolated 
from daily Hving and learning than reading or arithmetic? The more 
religious ideals and principles can be integrated into the curriculum, the 
more meaningful this aspect of daily living will be for future living. This 
is one advantage of private and church-related education. However, just 
because pubhc schools are not sectarian and their teaching of a common 
course in religion is not feasible, should educators feel they can disregard 
the need for religious education? If a method has been found in the 
public school system for teaching controversial issues and tenets in social 
and other sciences, then there should also be a plan for teaching religion 
whereby each student could receive instruction in his own faith. An 
example of a satisfactory solution is offered by the Public School System 
of New York City which has a released-time program wherein children are 
dismissed early one day each week to attend religious classes at a nearby 
parochial school, church, or synagogue. 

Adolescent attitudes. The formation of adolescent attitudes is closely 
related to the home environment, experiential background, parental 
values and interests, socioeconomic class, the neighborhood in which the 

220 Adolescence 

adolescent lives, and his race, original nationality, and religion. The 
school he attends may also have a considerable bearing. The adolescent 
is most directly influenced by peer opinion, evaluation, and interest. 
While most adolescents exhibit a considerable ability to resist the in- 
fluence of other factors, they appear almost defenseless against the spirit, 
standard, and planning of their peer reference groups. 

Since most of the factors which affect adolescent attitude formation are 
intricate and vary considerably from class to class and within each major 
section of the country, it is difficult, if not impossible, to sketch briefly this 
aspect of adolescent development. Under the surface of a great variety, 
however, there are several general and permeating attitudes which mark 
adolescent behavior in each generation. 

Emancipation from the home is a general tendency leading to the 
change of the childhood attitude pattern. A marked increase of abilities 
during puberty favors autonomy and increased self-direction. 

Self- direction is not only a goal which the adolescent desires but also 
a prerequisite for attaining adult status. In early and middle adolescence, 
the major impetus appears to be freedom from parental control. Only 
when this is satisfactorily achieved can the task of liberating himself 
from peer-group domination be undertaken by the adolescent. Both 
influences, as major determinants of behavior and attitudes, must be 
subordinated to self- or inner-direction before the years of adolescence 

In the part of adolescence when the individual's major concern is to 
direct his own life as opposed to parental direction, the peer group is not 
as yet seen as a directing force but rather as a supportive element in the 
parent-adolescent conflict. The adolescent more and more expects and 
demands privileges of an adult. Frequent among these are the use of the 
family car, the selection of his own clothes, and the lack of a curfew. 
These are the problem areas in the adolescent's striving for autonomy. 
Although it is true that the demands may be out of line with the 
adolescent's level of maturity, it is also true that parents often try to 
maintain their authority and control over various areas of their children's 
lives beyond the time at which it should be relinquished. 

Adolescents must be given the opportunities to make many of their 
own decisions if they are to be able to make them satisfactorily as adults. 
The mistakes they make in adolescence can be corrected and, more im- 
portantly, profited from. If decision making is not allowed the adolescent, 
he will be ill equipped as an adult to direct efficiently his energies and 
talents toward worthwhile goals. More immediately, his need for inde- 
pendence will be severely frustrated, and will foster the development of 
negative attitudes toward parents and authority in general. The limits 
of the adolescent's sphere of self-direction must be increasingly widened. 

Development of Personality and Character 221 

beginning with the first indications on the part of the adolescent that he 
is eager to take over the direction of his own hfe. Parental prudence and 
experience must determine the limits of the adolescent's autonomy. 

In this area, the adolescent's attitudes toward self as well as family and 
peers are changing rapidly, and parental understanding and discreet 
guidance can do much toward shaping these attitudes into healthy, 
socially accepted modes of expression. 

At the time of puberty changes, and in early adolescence, individuals 
are particularly susceptible to prejudice. This is due to several factors. 
The volatility of emotions is extremely high during this period. Emotions 
and behavior are often far out of proportion to their stimulus because of 
the changing physiological and psychological dimensions of personality. 
Also, emotional control is low and often inadequate, in part because of 
the lack of integration within the personality. The extreme sensitivity of 
the adolescent at this stage often produces feelings of inadequacy, in- 
security, and inferiority. These feelings are intolerable to the individual. 
Often compensation, in the form of attitudes of hostility and prejudice 
toward other groups, is utilized as an ego defense dynamism. This "scape- 
goating" and projection, although a relief of tensions for the adolescent, 
is a form of maladaptive behavior which hinders rather than helps the 
individual in his progress toward maturity and personality integration. 

Adolescents at this stage of development are suggestible and easily in- 
fluenced by the attitudes of others, particularly the peer group. If one 
member, especially the leader, of an adolescent's peer group has strong 
feelings of prejudice, these undesirable attitudes will be readily assimi- 
lated by the others. 

The prevention of attitudes of prejudice is much easier than their cor- 
rection. Proper example on the part of parents, wholesome attitude 
formation during childhood, association with members of other groups, 
and parental promotion of the adolescent's feelings of adequacy and 
security all will act as deterrents to the formation of these attitudes. If, 
on the other hand, the adolescent is predisposed to prejudices by parental 
word and example, diffuse feelings of hostility will be elicited and pro- 
jected toward various groups of persons. Destructive tendencies may 
readily arise and various antisocial activities may result. Therefore, 
attainment of social maturity will become a task diflBcult to achieve. 

Following is a case abstract which points to defective foundations for 
adolescent personality formation. 

John is a tall, rather handsome high school senior, aged seventeen. He 
is currently in a home for boys, having been placed there by a juvenile court 
for several violations of the law, ranging from truancy to car theft. 

John has an extremely negative attitude toward authority and has difficulty 
relating to the other boys. He often becomes involved in disciplinary prob- 

222 Adolescence 

lems, and evinces no interest in conforming to what is expected of the other 

John has an above-average intelHgence but lacks motivation to settle down 
and apply himself. He has almost a complete lack of frustration tolerance, and 
is extremely impulsive. Throughout his school years, John has often been at 
odds with teachers and school authorities. 

John's early home life may be seen as largely responsible for his problem. 
His father was an alcoholic and punished him severely for real or imagined 
infractions of any rule. John's mother, on the other hand, was too lenient, 
and admitted that John too often had his own way with her. John feels that 
his father was no good, and is to blame for his problems. 

The pattern of John's adjustment to life is hazardous. The outlook for him 
is not promising since he lacks satisfactory relationships with others, and 
his negativism is deeply internalized. 


A marked heterosexual interest appears at the age of thirteen or four- 
teen in girls and at about fourteen or fifteen in boys. This interest and 
curiosity are closely related to the individual's sexual maturation oc- 
curring at puberty. Girls desire to attract attention on the part of boys 
and vice versa. A desire to make frequent social contacts and attain com- 
panionship also arises at this age and continues to increase as the years 
of adolescence pass. Since most schools are coeducational, young persons 
make a variety of contacts with members of the other sex throughout the 
years of school. Each sex learns much about the characteristics and in- 
terests of the other sex. 

The early and middle stages of adolescence are marked by a strong 
interest in members of the other sex in general rather than in a single 
individual. Therefore, group activities exert a strong appeal. Since boys 
are curious about "anyone wearing a skirt," and girls are interested in 
"anyone wearing trousers," this phase is marked by a "girl-crazy" and 
"boy-crazy" attitude in heterosexual relationships. Toward the end of 
adolescence, the heterosexual interest begins to center on one particular 
individual of the other sex. When one or two romances fail, girls in par- 
ticular become cautious and more selective before "falling in love." At 
the point of attaining adult maturity, sex drives and erotic sentiments 
fuse into a single and powerful force of motivation, leading toward an 
increased desire for associating fully with "the only one" and a desire for 

During early, group-conscious adolescence, dating is a frequent form 
of heterosexual contact. It is marked by conversation and such activities 
as attending shows, dancing, and frequenting drugstores and restaurants. 
Observation and a deeper insight into overt personality traits of the 

Development of Personality and Character 223 

opposite sex result. When the impressions are positive, they call forth 
affection and love identified by some investigators as infatuation, or 
"puppy love." Somewhat like this is "love at first sight." The persons are 
not as yet sexually and emotionally mature enough for a long-term inti- 
mate association. Through their expectations of finding an ideal com- 
panion, they are readily *liurt." Envies, jealousies, and quarrels occur and 
readily lead to the arousal of antagonistic emotions. A break of each 
intimate association elicits some feelings of inadequacy or depression. 
This is often accompanied by a total reappraisal of the self -concept and 
one's own status, which, in turn, strengthens one's struggle toward 


Adolescent behavior often conveys a surface impression of gay and 
carefree activities marked by rollicking antics and enthusiasm for living. 
Beneath the shiny veneer of adolescent self-expression, however, the 
trained observer notices marks of anxious and desperate hours of young 
persons undergoing a decision-making and problem-solving period of 
development. In learning to adjust to his own changing body and motiva- 
tion, assailed by new yearnings, aspirations, and desires, the adolescent 
is subjected to struggles within himself. Life is presenting new goals and 
different evaluations; he becomes increasingly aware of new relationsliips 
to parents and peers which the previous modes of responding do not 
suflBciently serve. Problems in adjustment spring from many sources, such 
as utilization of new abilities and urges, feelings of love and hate, rest- 
lessness and discouragement, adult wants and childhood drawbacks. 

During adolescence mental conflicts arise from a variety of causes. 
DijBficulty in gratifying psychological and social needs is one of them. 
The need for new experiences to which to apply newly acquired abilities 
and skills is an urgent need at this age of rapid and many-faceted de- 
velopments. Avid curiosity and a desire to know and understand all 
aspects of reality transcend earlier horizons in most directions. Dissatis- 
faction with the daily routine and current situations enhances the 
tendency to seek thrills and the sensational. This may lead at times to 
desperate risks involving a severe disregard of law and convention. 
Adolescent excitement at times ignores all limits. Although the needs 
for self-assertion and appropriate recognition are common to all indi- 
viduals, their great amplitude and striking power in the adolescent make 
them especially strong sources of conflict and dissatisfaction. Strong 
desire to associate with others results in joining or forming cliques, clubs, 
fraternities, sororities, and other formal and informal groups. Intensified 
group activity at times interferes with school and home responsibilities. 

224 Adolescence 

Conformity to the accepted standards of communication, dress, and 
manners often suppresses individuality. Sexual impulses and heterosexual 
strivings may conflict with moral and religious principles. Turmoil and 
uncertainty handicap the adolescent's attempts to bring personal strivings 
into accord with social and cultural demands. The "tough-minded" ex- 
trovert may openly rebel against parental pressures or social regulations. 
The "tender-minded" introvert may attempt to escape his dilemmas by 
retreating into reverie. Erection of a shell of ego-protective dynamisms 
may follow. A lack of emotional balance, fluctuating high and low spirits, 
exhibitionistic tendencies, and restlessness are frequent traits of ado- 
lescent personality. The presence of any, single or combined, aggravates 
the nature of conflict and produces tension and a need for discharge. 
External situations, such as quarreling parents, being nagged and teased 
by a member of the family, having to be in school, and being misunder- 
stood or rejected by peer groups and others, add much fire to the internal 
stress. Regression to a puerile level of adjustment or aggressive resolu- 
tions of the mental strain may occur spontaneously. A lack of proper 
recreational facilities for the key adolescent interests- — social, athletic, 
and creative — favors regression. The adolescent is a complex personality, 
and a multitude of influences affect his search for status and for gratifica- 
tion of his basic and acquired needs. Frustrations and conflicts are 
practically inevitable and bring the need of intrapsychic self-defense 
into focus. 

The thwarting of drives and impulses related to the satisfaction of un- 
derlying needs is closely associated with the rise of emotional dynamics. 
Affective responses arise when internal or external limitation, inhibition, 
or obstruction of a drive or desire continues. The increasing intensity of 
emotion may result in violent and disorganized behavior directed 
against one of the felt sources of deprivation. 

Ambivalence. The concept of ambivalence represents the presence of 
antagonistic tendencies toward the same object or situation. The young 
adolescent is often torn between admiration and denial, attraction and 
repulsion, frenzied activity and idleness. His bipolarity of emotion and 
thinking points to a lack of harmony and fusion among his various psy- 
chobiological drives. This is especially true when the sexual drive be- 
comes involved before sexual and emotional maturity is attained. Lack 
of perspective and moderation seems to reinforce the states of doubt and 
ambivalence. Not infrequently adolescents (and even some adults) can- 
not make any important decisions by themselves. Often their closest 
friends make decisions for them. 

Self-defenses. The level of adolescent development permits unre- 
stricted introception of sundry modes of responses, the self-defenses by 

Development of Personality and Cliaracter 225 

means of which the person attempts to reestabHsh a temporary balance 
between internal forces and regulations and external pressures. 

Excessive use of self-defenses may involve a variety of dynamisms 
which, because of their use, are gradually incorporated into the self- 
system of a growing person before he is able to assess their full con- 
sequences or implications. Some of these dynamisms are compensation 
and substitution, rationalization and displacement, introjection and pro- 
jection, fixation and regression, sublimation and identification, and 
repression and reaction formation. Let us clarify some of them which 
are applied by many young persons. 

Rationalization is a dynamism the use of which begins in the early 
years of childhood and occasionally continues throughout life. It is a 
mode of self-justification by finding reasons to excuse oneself from criti- 
cism or punishment. Various factors in a situation are misinterpreted by 
an individual in order to secure a consistency between his own expecta- 
tions and the estimations of others. 

Projection refers to a dynamism whereby personal weaknesses and 
undesirable qualities and traits are attributed to other individuals and 
other external sources. Thus, some undesirable factors of the self are 
unconsciously treated as though they existed in another and not in one- 
self. For example, traits of dishonesty and hostility are often projected; 
when this occurs, lying and aggressiveness are seen by the individual as 
characteristics of others. 

Any reversion to an earlier, less mature level of functioning signifies 
regression rather than situational response. When an individual is ex- 
posed to a frustrating or very strained experience, his mature mode of 
adjustment may not be adequate. Some more primitive tendencies may 
be used to protect the self, and if the source of frustration or stress is 
not removed or resolved, this response pattern, properly called regression, 
may become habitual and pennanent. The level of regression may be 
estimated in terms of the number of years a person's behavior and in- 
terests regress, just as intellectual development can be expressed by 
means of mental age. 

Neurotic tendencies. Fierce and prolonged conflict situations lead some 
adolescents, those with neurotic tendencies, to mental disturbances and 
an inability to integrate their personality variables into a unique func- 
tional system. As a result, anxiety intensifies and forms a basis for a 
neurotic pattern of behavior. Of the various forms of neurosis, the 
adolescent level of maturity appears to be more liable to conversion 
reactions, anxiety attacks, and obsessive-compulsive behavior. In more 
extreme cases of maladjustment, psychotic reactions, such as hebephrenic 
or catatonic schizophrenia may emerge. 

226 Adolescence 

Insistent, irrational ideas or actions which the subject may recognize 
as illogical, but which are nevertheless attended to because of the tension 
reduction they bring, are responsible for obsessive-compulsive behavior. 
The tension brought about as a result of trying to ignore or suppress 
these urges is almost unbearable to the individual. The underlying cause 
of this behavior is usually a deep sense of inferiority or guilt which 
creates tension and expresses itself symbolically in ideas or behavior 
which relieves this tension. 

Adolescents often experience guilt over the new feelings and urges 
which arise naturally as a result of puberty changes. Menstruation in 
girls and nocturnal emissions in boys often produce guilt which in some 
cases leads to obsessive-compulsive behavior. This is especially true when 
knowledge of these phenomena is incomplete or entirely lacking, or when 
negative attitudes toward matters pertaining to sex have been developed. 
Once again the importance of sex information prior to puberty is clearly 

Frequent and unnecessary hand washing is a compulsion usually in- 
dicative of a deep sense of guilt, often attributable to sexual factors. Of 
interest is the fact that guilt may be projected into the future. That is, 
the hand washing or other compulsion may be an immediate defense or 
an attempt to prevent proscribed actions which the adolescent fears he 
or she will commit. Anxiety is easily seen as a contributing factor in 
these cases. 

Obsessions are irremovable ideas which constantly impinge upon a 
person's consciousness and seriously disturb his eflBciency and adjust- 
ment. The content of these ideas may be almost anything: fear of insan- 
ity, sexual fantasies, or hatred for parents. These ideas readily arise in 
adolescence, in part because of puberty changes, heterosexual attraction, 
the need for independence from parents, and other age-related factors. A 
lack of complete sexual information or the concomitant moral instruction 
necessary to satisfactory sexual adjustment, overcorrective or domi- 
nating parents, and lack of self-knowledge and experience may all con- 
tribute to obsessions and consequent maladaptive behavior in adoles- 
cence. If discovered early enough, obsessions or compulsions may be 
successfully treated. But often they are not made known in time, and 
persist throughout adolescence and into adulthood. In these cases 
psychotherapeutic treatment is necessary but its success is less cer- 

Anxiety is an unrealistic and morbid fear of threats and dangers to the 
life of the person. It is out of proportion to any stimulus and is usually 
undifferentiated and diffuse. Adolescents, because of the multitude of 
adjustments and decisions which they must constantly make, and be- 
cause of their level of maturity and lack of pertinent experience, are 

Development of Personality and Character 227 

easy prey to this type of emotional disturbance. The tensions resulting 
from physiological changes, lack of muscular control, and the indecision 
and ambivalence in many areas of their lives readily lead to intensifica- 
tion of anxiety. When these tensions or anxieties accumulate, and if their 
energy is not otherwise dissipated by activity such as athletics, anxiety 
attacks may be the result. 

Anxiety attacks are detrimental to both the physical and mental well- 
being of the adolescent. They produce the same physical and physi- 
ological excitation as does fear, and mentally they are even more debil- 
itating than fear in that the anxiety-producing stimulus is not a specific 
object or event which can be dealt with or from which the adolescent 
can flee. On the contrary, the adolescent does not know what he is afraid 
of, or what catastrophic event is going to take place; rather, the fearful 
feelings attach themselves easily to any forthcoming event. Yet when the 
event has passed, the anxiety remains. 

Calm and deliberate reassurance is often of great help in allaying 
anxiety. If the adolescent can be convinced that his fears are shared by 
others, and that others are surmounting these fears and adjusting satis- 
factorily to new situations in spite of them, he may be helped. If the 
anxiety is rooted deeply in the personality, then counseling and psycho- 
therapy may be the only means by which the adolescent can rid himself 
of this aflfliction. 

Conversion reactions are essentially a symptomatic externalization of 
an inner conflict or anxiety which is usually not recognized by the indi- 
vidual. The conflict is usually of such a nature that it is unacceptable 
to the conscious mind and is expressed in physical symptoms. These 
symptoms may be of many types: amnesia, writer's cramp, hysterical 
paralyses, anesthesia, and neuromuscular convulsions are a few. There is 
no organic basis for conversion symptoms. They are not physically or 
neurologically caused. Rather, they are purposeful, unconsciously 
adopted metiiods of resolving the conflict. Cardiac disturbances, severe 
pain, or nausea may be utilized by an adolescent as a more or less honor- 
able method of escaping stress situations. 

Conversion reactions, one of the most common of the neuroses, are 
usually found in individuals who have habitually reacted to reality 
in an evasive or escapist way. A strong reliance on defense dynamisms 
is also usually a part of the individual's past. 

Adolescents, because of their lack of personality integration, absence 
of pertinent experience, or other related factors, may adopt this method 
of maladjustment in order to relieve their conflicts. Antagonistic tend- 
encies, such as the need for independence and the duty to love and obey 
parents, may be another contributing factor. A combination of strong 
moral precepts and sexual fantasies may produce yet another conflict 

228 Adolescence 

unacceptable at the conscious level. If the adolescent is unprepared 
for his new needs and urges, they may be repressed, remain dynamic, 
and after accumulation, express themselves in conversion symptoms. 

The prevention of conversion reactions begins in childhood. The indi- 
vidual must be taught to face and deal with reality. Once a pattern 
of evasion and escape is built up by the individual, the problems and 
conflicts of adolescence may prove too much for an already precarious 
adjustment. Dealing with these problems after such a pattern has taken 
hold is very diflBcult, because the individual is usually unwilling or un- 
able to bring the conflict to the surface where it might be understood 
and dealt with efiFectively. 

Delinquent trends. Delinquent trends often appear as reactions to 
continual frustration and prolonged lack of success. Some adolescents 
tend to respond to situational frustration by verbal or physical aggres- 
sion. Aggressive behavior involves some form of attack, such as using 
abusive language, or provoking or striking another person. According to 
N. R. F. Maier [8, p. 101], when a frustrated person strikes another 
individual, he is doing so not to remove him as an obstacle or to injure 
him, but because he is frustrated and too tense. Removal of the 
obstacle or infliction of injury is secondary. At times, the immediate re- 
sponse to frustration may be an apparent self-control and toleration of 
the situation, yet the elicited aggressive tendencies may show up later. 
Thus, various aggressive reactions may be temporarily delayed, com- 
pressed, disguised, displaced, or otherwise deflected from the original 
source. When tolerated frustrations accumulate, a slight provocation 
may lead to a violent or destructive response. J. Dollard and N. E. Miller 
[4] believe frustration to be always accompanied by aggression. Granting 
the possibility that some aggressive energies can be compensated for, or 
sublimated and constructively expressed, it may be expected that during 
this period of increased conflict and frustrated opportunities some adoles- 
cents will turn to delinquent activities as a means of discharging such ener- 

Books and magazines and motion pictures and TV shows empha- 
sizing sex and violence, when not balanced by moral and religious edu- 
cation and an integrated family life, are powerfully exciting causes of 
delinquent activities. Several frequent modes of such activities may be 
distinguished. Truancy is a form of withdrawal from reality in order to 
avoid subjectively unpleasant tasks in the classroom. It is one of the 
most common delinquent activities. Misbehaving at home and school and 
offenses against others and society are other typical forms of adolescent 
delinquency. For some adolescents, however, conflicts and the resulting 
frustrations can serve as valuable assets for the building of ego 
strength and character nobility, and for advancement of discriminative 

Development of Personality and Character 229 

power and personal judgment. This frequently happens when the 
adolescent is supported by influences emanating from a good home. 
Cheating and stealing at home and at school, destruction of property, 
association with "rough gangs" and a tendency to get involved in fights 
are some typical forms of delinquent behavior resulting from frustration 
and tension. In the school situation, one may refuse to adjust himself 
to the regulations of a teacher and may insist on doing what he pleases. 
In many instances, adolescents steal articles which they cannot use. The 
stealing is frequently directed against persons whom they dislike yet 
against whom they hesitate to manifest overt aggression because of a 
fear of punishment. When control against aggressive impulses is in- 
adequate, cruelty and sex offenses may come into prominence. 


In many ways, his limited capacity to draw upon his own resources, 
to reason for himself, and to act upon his own decisions is substantially 
amplified by the adolescent's development toward optimum levels of 
functioning. Adolescent advances in self-discovery are marked by three 
interrelated steps: (1) search for a human model, (2) choice of prin- 
ciples and ideals, and (3) formulation of a philosophy of life based on a 
value system. A favorable and mature understanding of oneself can be 
achieved through modeling one's energies and dynamics after a more 
mature and well-structured personality. It cannot be assumed that all 
youths necessarily pick out good models. Much depends on their drives, 
needs, and goals, on their environmental circumstances and socioeco- 
nomic levels. To a large degree, this is a subconscious process. 

In respect to social attraction and identification, the stage of puberty 
is a somewhat disoriented period in adolescent life. The personality 
structure of the child, including its self-identification, is about to be lost. 
The emergence of a new structure takes time. In order to bring himself 
out of this confusion and the difficulties arising from considering what to 
do and not to do, how to achieve something and whether it must be 
achieved, the adolescent's attention unconsciously becomes directed 
toward others, compeers and older persons, who appear to embody some 
or most of his sensed or partially assimilated values and ideals. The 
finding of such a person is accompanied by a partial following of the 
example set by him. Some identification with his attitudes, views, and 
behavior occurs, and a link toward the stabihzation of motivation is then 
established. Any deep identification with another individual lays a mile- 
stone in the process of forming the adolescent personality. 

Hill's findings [6] on 8,813 children in Alabama show that many older 
urban children select for their idols and ideals famous historical figures 

230 Adolescence 

and persons in the public eye: 54.7 per cent. Persons from their imme- 
diate environment — parents, teachers, and acquaintances — also rank 
high as a source of models: 35.1 per cent. Since considerable changes 
occur at the adolescent level, similar studies are necessary for the assess- 
ment of adolescent identifications. 

The adolescent's self-ideals are often developed from contacts with 
personalities who impress him and call forth desires to be like them in 
some ways at least. Such personified ideals are sought after. Television 
and motion-picture stars compose a large source of choice for the adoles- 
cent of this generation because he usually sees them in a favorable light. 
Identification with others is a major factor acting for establishment of a 

Toward the middle of adolescence, a high level of abstract and sym- 
bolic thinking is developed. It enables the teen-ager to draw many in- 
ferences and comparisons. Therefore, when he sees and admires the good 
conduct of some individuals, he also recognizes the ethical principles 
and at times the hierarchy of values behind such actions. This, of course, 
greatly helps him in assimilating the principles and ideals by which he 
wants to live. Principles and ideals, when assimilated, contribute to the 
process of stabilization by acting as guides toward goals and as 
standards for objectives identified by the goals. 

The latter part of adolescence is a phase during which a philosophy 
of life is formulated, but which is dependent upon events and occur- 
rences of childhood. Most adolescents construct their Weltanschauung 
on the basis of religion. The Catholic faith oflFers a comprehensive 
authoritative perspective for a healthy philosophy of life. Many 
Protestant denominations allow their members to choose whatever phi- 
losophy of life appeals to them through their private interpretation of 
the Bible. Some persons adopt an ideology in which the state and nation 
take the place of God and religion, while others attempt a plan of life 
based on various sciences and philosophies, as for example, the hedon- 
istic philosophy whereby a person seeks pleasure as an end in itself. 
Owing to the conflicts, confusions, and perversions of our present culture, 
the process of Weltanchauung formation may extend well into the years 
of adulthood, or the Weltanschauung may remain unformulated 


The process of acquiring a rational design of living is also a process of 
character formation. Character, in psychology, refers to the general 
structure of ethical motivation acquired in the course of development. 
It is exemplified in one's adherence to a scale of values and ethical prin- 

Development of Personality and Character 231 

ciples. Consistency of behavior and conduct are external signs of internal 
character structure. 

The latter part of adolescence is a major phase of character develop- 
ment. It is largely influenced by a person's experiential background 
and his direction of his own dispositions, endowments, abilities, and 
other resources. Experiential background includes most importantly the 
example, instruction, and discipline of the parents. Character has its 
roots embedded in early childhood experiences, in which the parents' 
influence is very strong. It is believed that the foundation for a person's 
character structure is well laid by the age of five or six years. Other 
influences in early childhood which affect character are conflicts en- 
countered by the child, such as repeated failures in school which may 
lead to truancy, dishonesty, and contempt for authority. Lack of physical 
supplies, such as food and clothing, may lead the child into habits of 
stealing. Pleasurable and satisfying events also affect character develop- 
ment and usually promote desirable character traits if the pleasure is 
lawful and not excessive. The type of neighborhood and its mores and 
standards make an impression on character as the child tends to assimi- 
late what he is exposed to. 

In Children Who Hate [9], F. Redl and D. Wineman describe their 
work with children ten years of age and younger whose personality 
and character were warped by their social environment. These children 
had become so accustomed to rejection and hate that they could not 
love or were afraid to love. After a year or more in an atmosphere of 
kindness and patience, these young boys still retained much of their 
hostile attitudes and destructive behavior. 

Important as background experiences are, their influences are modifi- 
able by other factors, one of which is the individual's disposition. This 
can easily be seen in many cases of siblings or twins who are reared in 
the same environment and have similar family influences, yet habitually 
react very differently to practically identical situations. One child may 
become submissive when corrected by his parents; the other child may 
become angry and resentful. Individual dispositions would seem to 
account for many differences in a person's reaction pattern. 

During adolescence, self-direction becomes a major influence in char- 
acter development. Self-awareness and strivings for independence, com- 
bined with the realization of approaching adulthood, make the adoles- 
cent carefully weigh his behavior, endowments, and weaknesses with 
the present and future in mind. He searches for meanings and aims of 
living. He decides what kind of a person he wants to be, taking into 
account the ethics of his society and community, morality, religion, the 
wishes of his parents, and the attitudes of his friends. He attempts to use 
self-control and self-appraisal in cultivating the traits he desires. While 

232 Adolescence 

self-control can be advanced by personal eflForts, self-appraisal depends 
largely on the estimation of others. The opinions of peers, parents, and 
others may greatly disturb him. Boys and girls anxiously look for the 
favorable appraisal of their compeers, yet they also feel exposed to the 
evaluating remarks of adults with whom they happen to come in contact. 
Reflecting the views of others, one consciously or unconsciously takes 
steps in self-evaluation and self-change. Personality depends much on 
what concept of self emerges as the years of adolescence pass. 

Adolescent progress in personality formation is also related to the 
changes and developments of adolescent interests, especially in so far 
as these approach the adult level of maturity. Chapter 16 dealt exten- 
sively with the interests of the adolescent phase of life. The following 
chapter will attempt to define key signs indicating personal maturity at 
the postadolescent level. 


1. What has adolescent personality development to do with (a) developments 
during childhood, and ( b ) social adjustment? 

2. Define some relationships between personality and the self. 

3. What are the key sources from which an adolescent assimilates values and 

4. Identify some major factors contributing to school difficulties in teaching moral 
values and religion. 

5. What processes and activities indicate progress in self-discovery? 

6. Describe a philosophy of life and its bearing on adolescent conduct. 

7. Explain character and indicate some major internal and external factors mold- 
ing its development. 


I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Havighurst, R. J., and H. Taba. Adolescent Character and Personality. New 
York: Wiley, 1949. Development of various personahty and character traits in a 
typical American community is presented. 

2. National Education Association and American Association of School Admin- 
istrators, Educational Policies Commission. Moral and Spiritual Values in the Public 
Schools. Washington, D.C.: National Education Association of the United States, 
1951. The need of moral and spiritual values is emphasized, and means to develop 
them within the school context are discussed. 

3. Wuellner, Bernard. A Christian Philosophy of Life. Chaps. 8, 10, and 17. 
Milwaukee: Bruce, 1957. A scholarly exposition of Christian philosophy from a 
Cathohc point of view. 

II. Specific References 

4. DoUard, J., et al. Frustration and Aggression. New Haven, Conn.: Yale 
University Press, 1939. 

5. Frank, Lawrence K., and M. Frank. Your Adolescent at Home and in School. 
New York: Viking, 1956. 

Development of Personality and Character 233 

6. Hill, D. S. Personification of Ideals by Urban Children. /. soc. Psychol, 1930, 
1, 379-393. 

7. Gesell, Arnold, et al. Youth: The Years from Ten to Sixteen. New York: 
Harper, 1956. 

8. Maier, N. R. F. Frustration. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1949. 

9. Redl, F. and D. Wineman. Children Who Hate: The Disorganization and 
Breakdown of Behavior Controb. Glencoe, 111.: Free Press, 1951. 


Age of Turmoil (20 min) McGraw-Hill, 1953. Six young adolescents representing 
different personality types are used to illustrate emotional and social turmoil. 

Discipline During Adolescence ( 16 min ) McGraw-Hill, 1957. Results of too little 
and too much parental control are dramatized. 

Emotional Maturity (20 min) McGraw-Hill, 1957. Dramatization of a high school 
boy's immature behavior and his diflBculties in channeling his emotions into con- 
structive activity. 

Facing Reality (12 min) McGraw-Hill, 1954. Demonstrates an adolescent's use of 
the con&non defense and escape dynamisms to avoid the realities of hfe. 

Is This Love (14 min) McGraw-Hill, 1958. Contrasts romances and personahty 
traits of 2 college girls. 

Meaning of Adolescence (16 min) McGraw-Hill, 1953. Shows major developments 
and related difficulties as well as means to cope with them. 

Meeting the Needs of Adolescents (19 min) McGraw-Hill, 1953. The story of a 
14-year-old boy and his 17-year-old sister indicates what parents can do to help 

The Teens (26 min) National Film Board of Canada, 1957. Normal behavior of 
3 adolescents is portrayed and interpreted. 

Toward Emotional Maturity (11 min) McGraw-Hill, 1954. Decisions of an 18-year- 
old girl in Ught of her background. 




ACHIEVING adult status was a key task of the first two decades of life. 
Each level of development was interpreted as a significant contribu- 
tion to it. Thus, the infant, child, and adolescent years ahke served as a 
foundation for adulthood's adequacies or shortcomings. 

At the outset, adult life typically involves the acquisition of a vocation, 
selection of a life mate, and integration into the social and cultural struc- 
ture and dynamics of the society in which the person is to function. The 
maintenance of the adult status is linked to the consolidation of person- 
ality structure, development of character, and further self-realization, 
especially as they are related to the role in life assumed by the indi- 
vidual. The four chapters of this section serve the purpose of presenting 
the psychological aspects of maturing and living through the adult years. 



Achieving Adult Status 

PROGRESS in mastering the developmental tasks of adolescence is a sign of 
advancing in maturation toward the adult level. The integration of ac- 
quired abilities and skills in a functional system is another key to re- 
sponding with mature behavior. A major role, however, is played by 
the modes and techniques of adjustment, which one continues to acquire 
and perfect during the later years of adolescence. Child and adolescent 
experiences in their entirety represent a developmental matrix in which a 
reorganization of forces which determine behavior in adulthood takes 

Without a continual willingness to learn and perform, a store of knowl- 
edge and skills cannot be established. Without sufficient incentives, 
learning may remain inefficient. Accomplishments without peer approval 
or praise may lose meaning for the adolescent himself. Stabilizing feel- 
ings of self-adequacy and self-reliance are additional ingredients nec- 
essary for a fruitful exploration of various areas of human endeavors. 
A maximal use of abilities and skills exists only when the individual is 
not disturbed by anxiety, and is capable of being realistic about his 
liabilities and handicaps. Any undue emphasis on liabilities and defi- 
ciencies acts as an impediment to adult maturation. The capacity and 
the willingness to assume adult-related activities and responsibilities are 
other marks of readiness to approach and enter an adult mode of life. 
Balancing daring aspirations with one's endowments, abilities, and assets 
is also a factor in promoting one's integrity and self-acceptance. 


The ability and the desire to respond in mature ways under varying 
circumstances have many facets. First, a mature response implies sur- 


238 Adulthood 

passing the infantile and childish levels and vicissitudes of behavior. Fre- 
quent seeking of help and privileges may be indicators of infantile help- 
lessness. Excessive irritability and emotional outbursts as responses to 
stress, disappointment, or deprivation also suggest immaturity. Con- 
stantly looking for excitement, adventure, and the sensational may be 
a sign of puerile motivation. Extensive daydreaming and a lack of sense 
for reality evaluation suggest pubescent traits. 

Puberticism may be seen as a level of existence which may be difficult 
for many youths and adults to outgrow. A pubescent level of motivation 
may remain deeply entrenched within the personality structure of some 
individuals who are entering the years of adulthood and even later. 

During the postadolescent years, a person may learn to exhibit an 
external "fa9ade of maturity." Internally the individual may be fre- 
quently moved by anxieties and by ambivalent feelings. He may reject 
facing some of his problems and use fantasy and illness as means of 
escape from unpleasant situations and other challenging events. Moodi- 
ness and emotional oscillations are also signs of a preadult level of living. 
The lack of readiness to assume one's own sexual role and the lack of 
those sentiments which foster deep and permanent human companion- 
ship are signs of immaturity if shown when the adolescent advances 
toward adult years of life. 

Experimenting with various roles and relationships is a necessary 
workshop for the realization of one's limits and hidden strengths. Most 
adolescents enthusiastically enter into new relationships and assume 
roles offered to them. They show signs of eagerness for intellectual, 
emotional, and social enterprise in order to find out for themselves how 
they really want to live and what jobs and positions are best suited to 
them. Certain tendencies toward particular roles and interpersonal rela- 
tionships appear to be determined by attitudes springing from the as- 
sumption of earlier roles during the years of childhood. Studies by J. H. 
S. Bossard [3, 4] contain some interesting material on the selection of 
roles in large families. A later-bom child finds some roles already taken 
by his older siblings; for example, one of the child's brothers has the role 
of the "responsible," while another is good in scholastic performance, 
and a third is the troublemaker most of the time. An identification with 
any such role may have some far-reaching effects on the child's future 
selections of vocation and civic role and on his popularity. 

Adequate development toward an adult level of functioning is often 
disrupted by continued ambivalence, mental conflict, and excessive use 
of self-defenses. Frequent use of any dynamisms in self-defense, especially 
under somewhat normal conditions, is an indicator of a difficulty in 
responding in mature ways. Such use is a barrier in the process of grow- 
ing toward adult maturity. As the period of early adulthood continues, 

Achieving Adult Status 239 

doubts about self-adequacy subside. Suicide thoughts, if any, and ideas 
about '*being abnormal" or "going crazy" disappear in most cases. 

At the adolescent level, the foundations for maturity may be seen in 
the adolescent's readiness and ability to respond and perform on an adult 
level. Development of adult interests, readiness to assume some adult 
responsibilities, and the acquisition of knowledge for much later use are 
indicators of partial ascendance into adulthood itself. 


One of the important areas of adolescent striving toward adulthood 
pertains to vocational training. Today most vocational training takes 
longer than it did in the past, transition to a di£Ferent vocation is more 
difficult once the training is advanced, and the disadvantages are con- 
siderable in a late change of vocation. 

Vocational choice involves a vital decision: in many cases it will affect 
the individual all his life. The adolescent knows he needs a vocation. He 
is also aware of the fact that a vocation is a condition for the economic 
independence for which he is striving. 

Many factors must be considered in the selection of a training program 
and in the choice of a future occupation. Several choices have to be made 

Figure 18-1. Teen-agers, School, and Employment 


" 50 




>-Out of school 

>ln school 




(Fact Finding Committee. Midcentury White House Conference on 
Children and Youth. A Graphic Presentation of Social and Economic 
Facts Important in the Lives of Children and Youth. Washington, D.C.: 
National PubUshing Co., 1951.) 



before one arrives at a definite selection. The question whether or not to 
continue in high school is one of the early decisions. Despite the fact 
that a great majority of parents — about three-fourths — urge their adoles- 
cent boys and girls to complete their high school education, approximately 
50 per cent of adolescents in the Unite^ States did not complete this 
education in 1950. Figure 18-1 identifies the related data and points to 
a sharp decline of school attendance after sixteen years of age at the mid- 
century. Despite this fact there are signs indicating that the United 
States is approaching a realization of the ideal of universal education. 
Larger numbers of youths are going to school not only because the 
population is growing but also because a larger proportion of school-age 
children continue their education at high school and college level. 
Figure 18-2 depicts data on elementary and high school attendance in 
the past and the present. Many states have revised their laws concerning 
school attendance up to seventeen and eighteen years of age. 

Child labor laws protect children and young adolescents against work 
likely to hinder well-rounded development, and increase children's 
chances of remaining longer in school. The Fair Labor Standards Act sets 
sixteen years as the minimum age for work during school hours and for 
occupations in manufacturing at any time. At present, most states permit 
working during nonschool hours. 

Many adolescents who withdraw from school feel pressed to take full- 
time jobs. Part-time employment satisfies students who are in part sup- 
ported by their parents. Withdrawal from school at times implies hesita- 
tion on the part of parents to supply an older adolescent with financial 

Figure 18-2. People Are Getting More Schooling 

Median school 

years completed 



People born q 
about... 1890 1900 1910 1915 1920 

(Facting Finding Committee. Midcentury White House Conference on Chil- 
dren and Youth. A Graphic Presentation of Social and Economic Facts Im- 
portant in the Lives of Children and Youth. Washington, D.C.: National 
Publishing Co., 1951.) 

Achieving Adult Status 241 

means of existence. Availability of jobs is of crucial importance and will 
greatly determine whether the individual can find the job suited to him 
and hence make a satisfactory adjustment to his occupational life. The 
choice of jobs is further limited by an incomplete education or a lack of 
occupational training in a trade school. The inaccessibility of trade schools 
is also an important factor in acquiring skills sought by industry. 

Over two-thirds of employment service counseling is administered to 
youths under twenty who face vocational problems. Applicants usually 
receive more than one interview with a counselor and one or more 
aptitude tests. Figure 18-3 indicates that in 1950 these services were 
given in approximately seventeen hundred local centers of the United 
States Employment Service to a monthly average of 45,000 adolescents. 
The complexity of vocational choice is reflected in approximately 100,000 
distinct occupational designations in the United States. There is apt to 
be some trial and error unless a person has formed definite vocational 
goals based on a realistic appraisal of self and of the requirements of a 
given occupation. Limited knowledge of occupational requirements adds 
stress to the vocational aspirations of a majority of adolescents. 

As the percentage of high schools having vocational guidance services 
steadily increases, the possibility of a satisfactory choice in terms of one's 
capacity also improves. This is chiefly due to vocational aptitude testing. 
An adolescent is likely to put much value on such testing results since 
his vocational interests are often confused. E. K. Strong, Jr., [8] found 
that only after the age of twenty-five years do vocational interests become 

Figure 18-3. Counseling Youth 

Among 65,000 persons counseled each month.... 

45,000 are youths with vocational problems 

(Fact Finding Committee. Midcentury White House Conference on 
Children and Youth. A Graphic Presentation of Social and Economic 
Facts Important in the Lives of Children and Youth. Washington, 
D.C.: National Publishing Co., 1951.) 

242 Adulthood 

well crystallized. It is unfortunate that a majority of people have to make 
a definite vocational choice earlier than this age. Vocational training is 
often completed early in this phase of development. Within the age 
limits of early adulthood, most individuals, frequently after several trials 
and changes, settle down and continue to work in the same occu- 


In terms of time, vocational employment is often accompanied by 
selection of a spouse, and this, in turn, by the establishment of a home. 
Despite the fact that these activities involve difficulties and problems, 
they all contribute substantially to the establishment of full-fledged adult 
status and adjustment. Figure 18-4 indicates that the average age for 
marriage is decreasing in the United States; in 1955 the age stood at 
about twenty. The usual age diflFerence between men and women is 
narrowing down to approximately two years [10]. 

In late adolescence or early adulthood, strong and lasting identifications 
with a peer member of the other sex occur. Such attachments are fre- 
quently mutual and offer deep ego gratifications. They also promote the 
feelings of adequacy and security of most individuals. The percentage of 

Figure 18-4. Brides and Grooms Are Younger 








(Fact Finding Committee. Midcentury White House Conference on 
Children and Youth. A Graphic Presentation of Social and Economic 
Facts Important in the Lives of Children and Youth. Washington, 
D.C.: National Publishing Co., 1951.) 

Achieving Adult Status 2A3 

companionships and romances progressing to mutual love and marriage 
rises steadily and reaches its peak at an early part of this phase of matur- 
ation. While many persons in the early twenties are sufficiently mature 
to assume marital and parental responsibilities, a significant number of 
individuals are apparently not as yet ready for marital life. Quite a few 
have been damaged in their earlier development by the attitudes of their 
parents. The selection of an incompatible partner often indicates this. 
Personal security demands and parental and popular pressures may move 
one forcefully toward contemplating marriage. During the later part of 
early adulthood, pressures usually intensify, especially for girls. Thus, 
the voluntary acceptance of this new role may be questioned in some 

A paradox appears when the following two factors are brought into 
consideration. The time needed to complete adolescent growth and 
maturation increases with the elevation of the cultural level and the rising 
standard of living. In present American society, completion of puberal 
changes does not imply adult competence as it does in most primitive 
societies. Within the bounds of the twentieth century, the span of adoles- 
cence has increased with each generation. The law of readiness implies 
delay of the age of marriage with each increase in the age of maturity. 
Yet each generation gets married at an earlier age. Apparently many get 
married before they are psychologically ready to do this successfully. 
Marriages are often preceded by too short a period of courtship. This 
increases the chances of incompatibility in the need and trait structure 
of the individuals involved. All these factors are contributing causes 
of discord and separation. Statistics indicate the percentage of separa- 
tions to be actually increasing from generation to generation. 

Table 18-1 

Estimated Divorce Rates in the United States 

Number per 1,000 

















source: Vital Statistics of the 
United States: 1955. Vol. I, table 
Q, p. 63. 1957. 

Statistical findings indicate that divorces are more frequent in states 
with lenient divorce laws, among city families, especially those marked 

244 Adulthood 

by lesser education, in the laboring class, and in cases of teen-age and 
interfaith marriages. Table 18-1 shows that divorces per 1,000 marriages 
stepped up from 79 in 1900 to 246 in 1955. Divorces are frequent within 
the first few years of marriage. Freedom for entering the marriage rela- 
tionship and freedom to give it up are apparently two related key factors 
promoting family instability and consequent deprivation for an extensive 
percentage of children and adolescents of adequate familial ties. 

Frustrations in the expectations of marital happiness may occur on 
psychological grounds. The dominance relationship may be one of them: 
both partners may have strong tendencies to dominate each other. Then, 
congruity is difficult to establish. An example of incongruity may be seen 
in intense strivings for independence on the part of both partners. Lack 
of similarity in interests and activities may present an obstacle to the 
mutual sharing of marital life. 


From Georg Simmel's theoretical assumptions [7] to present research 
by sociologists and psychologists, race and religion have usually been seen 
as the most decisive factors segregating males and females into accept- 
able and unacceptable categories for courtship and prospective marriage. 
Experience gathered from thousands of families indicates a difficulty in 
sharing married life without sharing a basic identity in appearance and in 

Similarities in age, socioeconomic background, endowments, and 
acquired abilities are likely to favor the permanency of a marital relation- 
ship. These factors are helpful in promoting mutual enjoyment of the 
same activities, especially if love above the level of infatuation or mere 
romance pervades the relationship. 

A congruity of the specialized personality need systems will assist in 
deepening this relationship beyond the level of mere companionship. 
For example, persons with high assertiveness tend to be congruous with 
persons having receptive traits as dominant characteristics of their person- 
ality. Persons with strong strivings toward excessive independence may 
better fit the needs of those preferring dependence and submission than 
of those with similar strivings. R. F. Winch [11, pp. 96 flF., 101 ff.] 
originates and presents supportive data for the hypothesis of comple- 
mentary rather than similar need patterns promoting marital adjust- 
ment. Reciprocity of needs enables the fullest possible personality 
development within the family structure. Nevertheless, in terms of basic 
interests, abilities, and values, it appears that similarity of partners is a 
major force contributing to marital stability. 

Success in selection also depends on the degree of similarity on the part 

Achieving Adult Status 245 

of the partner to one's concept of the ideal mate. The image of the cross- 
parent plays a role in building such a concept. Any appreciated qualities 
of the mother deeply impress her son and act subconsciously as pre- 
requisites for the ideal mate. Significant members of the other sex also 
contribute to shaping contours of the concept. As the "dream model" 
tends to stabilize during adolescence, it begins to act as a factor in the 
boy-girl relationships pertaining to mate selection. 

The selection of a mate is greatly influenced by the individual's 
popularity among members of the other sex and by his attitudes and 
ideals concerning appearance and personality of an ideal life partner. It 
has been found that men rank appearance, contiguity of interests, and 
cheerfulness much higher than women do; to women, intellectual abilities, 
educational status, and social ease are of prime importance. Necessarily 
the intensity of romantic love tends to outrank all other considerations, 
especially on the part of young persons contemplating marriage. 

Marriage represents a major transition which challenges personal 
maturity and adequacy. Personal problems, if present, readily produce 
family problems. Growing obligations, an incongruity of cardinal person- 
ality traits, lack of preparation, and sexual incompatibility are other 
obstacles to marital adjustment. Frictions in the parental family during 
childhood, heightened self-defensiveness, and present financial difficulties 
may add much to discord and unhappiness. If there is a psychological 
similarity and congruity, however, marriage may foster the personal 
adjustment of both partners. Similarity in background, age, religion, 
abilities, and interests are other significant factors in the over-all adapta- 
tion to the marriage relationship and in later growth of personality with- 
in the matrix of marital life. 

Ernest W. Burgess and L. S. Cottrell's study [5, pp. 354-361] of 526 
couples in the Chicago area, with an average age of 26.1 and 23.4 for 
husbands and wives respectively, points up the greater significance of the 
husbands' background than the wives' for adjustment in marriage. 
Apparently wives, on the average, make much more adaptation to their 
husbands than husbands make to them. The majority of wives attempt 
to achieve their aims in subtle and indirect ways, while the husbands 
often act directly and impose their expectations and demands on their 

This and L. M. Terman's investigation [9] of 792 husbands and wives 
in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, with a mean age of 38.8 
and 35.8 for husbands and wives respectively, reflect the important role 
of the earlier environment of family affection upon the pattern of adjust- 
ment of young adults to married status: 

1. Happy marriages of parents are positively related to happiness in 
the marriage relationships of their children. 

246 Adulthood 

2. Close emotional ties with cross-parents and absence of marked con- 
flicts with both parents are also positively related to the person's adjust- 
ment in marriage. The child's response patterns pertaining to aflFectional 
relationships are largely reproduced in adult associations, and deeply 
affect the marital relationship. 


A marriage counselor usually realizes that marital conflicts spring 
either from severe incompatibilities or from personal problems of one or 
both parties. Lack of maturity is a frequent personal inadequacy. A hus- 
band, for example, may continue to be attracted by other women. Jealousy 
reactions are called forth, and may fortify themselves as an obstacle to 
a mutual understanding. Perfectionistic strivings on the part of the hus- 
band may be expressed in remarks indicative of dissatisfaction with the 
wife's actions, or an occasional criticism of her methods of doing routine 
tasks. Frequently, these may lead to more disruptive arguments and gen- 
eral discord within the budding family structure. Conflict sometimes may 
be related to previous vocational or other aspirations of the wife, who 
feels disappointed with substituting marriage for them. The wife's finan- 
cial demands and pressure on the husband to achieve a better-paid posi- 
tion are other frequent factors. Generally several undesirable factors or 
traits work together in disrupting the harmony or in making it impossible 
to establish. Counseling may aid much in familial integration. 

Higher education and socioeconomic class apparently favor extensive 
social participation and adaptability to others, in marriage relationships 
as elsewhere. Although sexual and economic factors are often a source 
of family friction, they are primarily symptomatic of deeper causes of 
marital discord. General lack of preparation and personaUty traits, such 
as pessimism, a critical attitude, dominating behavior, and neurotic 
tendencies, contribute to family dissension. The belief in romantic love 
with the "one and only" tends to produce disappointment and frustration 
as well. The so-called "sexual incompatibility" is now usually recognized 
as symptomatic rather than etiological in marital discord. 


The pattern of adult society and its way of life may or may not appeal 
to an individual in his teens or even in his twenties. Some individuals 
have a strong wish to continue hving within the style set by adoles- 
cent peers despite the fact that in age they have reached adulthood. 
They may continually express criticism toward adult direction of societal 
and cultural affairs. They may remain engrossed in some typically adoles- 

Achieving Adult Status 247 

cent activities and in other ways indicate their opposition to what is 
conventional. Contempt of authority may be frequent. 

The great majority of young adults, however, appear to have little 
diflBculty in accepting societal and cultural norms and act in accordance 
with the expectations based on these guides. But in many respects cultural 
norms are in a state of flux, so that the need of self-reliance is great, and 
many postadolescents experience anxiety in acting on their own judgment. 
Reliance on support from otiier persons is not readily outgrown. 


There are many factors which in countless ways affect the adolescent 
and young adult in terms of his status with his peers and other 

Physique, in terms of its comparative measures, is one of the major 
influences. While children of the same age do not differ conspicuously in 
terms of their height, adolescents may differ greatly in height and in many 
other quantitative aspects. To begin with, some individuals, girls as well 
as boys, may have puberal transformations at an earlier age than their 
age mates. A typical eighth-grade class will consist of many adolescent 
girls, yet some girls may lag in development and only be entering the 
prepuberal phase of accelerated growth. There may be several post- 
puberal boys in the class, while most of the boys are still children and 
conspicuously small by comparison. Such a situation is confusing to all 
of them since their strength, interests, and motor coordination will now 
differ markedly. Quite a few of them will have blemishes and skin erup- 
tions; others may become acutely aware of their voice changes, especially 
when these changes are accompanied by frequent breaks. Embarrass- 
ments and tensions may mount high when their attempts at self-assertion 
fail more frequently than before. Some may be upset by unforeseen 
sexual phenomena. Doubts about self-adequacy emerge more frequently 
as their social acceptance decreases. The situation becomes more grave 
for certain individuals as they enter high school. They may have unex- 
pected difficulties in making new friends. Physical differences are im- 
portant in the selection of friends, like attracting like. 

The situation in school applies in some ways at home and in the 
neighborhood. Although the adolescent-parent relationships may be very 
good for several years, conflicts quite jFrequently result as soon as the 
adolescent strivings for independence are magnified. Young teen-agers 
often want concessions and privileges pertaining to adult status. They 
may gain some limited objectives, but their parents will not consent to 
every wish and demand. Awkwardness in motion seems to go hand in 
hand with social awkwardness. Intrafamily frictions often develop as the 

248 Adulthood 

adolescent girl desires to become womanly by the use of cosmetics and 
women's dress and the adolescent boy tries to show his manliness by 
attempting to smoke and drink. Selection of friends, late evening social 
life, money, and the use of the family car are frequent points of a teen- 
ager's conflict with his parents. The atmosphere of the home, its educa- 
tional and socioeconomic level, and its morale all have a major bearing 
on the total family relationships. 

Surveying various districts of any large or medium-sized city impresses 
one by its variety, beginning with slum areas and ending with extremely 
exclusive neighborhoods. Families with similar income and status tend 
to live near each other. This then creates certain general attitudes and 
an atmosphere related to the class of people in the neighborhood. 
The child and adolescent may have many advantages in some districts 
and many deprivations in others. Lack of recreational facilities may be 
one disadvantage, presence of delinquent models another. With his as yet 
limited resources, the teen-ager must cope with these disadvantages. 
His status is affected and modified by these cultural influences, plus 
the personal factor, i.e., whether he is a master of his own driving forces 
or is a mere responder to the outside influences and situations. Each 
adolescent is probably a mixture of both, yet one of them may prevail. 

In the modern nexus of cultural and scientific advance, excessive reliance 
of the maturing person on science is not infrequent. Science is often seen 
as the way of knowing. Partial or complete exclusion of other key ways 
of knowing, such as religion, philosophy, and the arts, may follow. In 
such a case, a significant detraction from any wholesome evaluation of 
experience and relationships to others occurs. Lack of perspective results, 
which, in turn, promotes compartmentalization and denial of some dimen- 
sions of reality. As a result, personality development remains incomplete 
in its structural aspects and a lack of maturity will mark many of its 

Personahty growth usually continues throughout early adulthood, and, 
in some respects, it may progress to the end of life. If ordinary develop- 
ments did take place and childhood or puberal conflicts were resolved, 
one may become increasingly self-directive and more objective with 
the passage of time. With many abilities and skills acquired, one continues 
to be in a position to select new goals challenging him as a person. 
Related activities result in added gratifications, which, in turn, enhance 
his ego strength and security. 

It is advantageous for the maturing person to capitalize on the preced- 
ing phases of development. The smile of infancy, attention to others, 
autonomy and experimentation of the preschool years, aflBliative trends 
and vivid emotions of childhood, and the zest for adventure and idealism 
of adolescence may be incorporated into his personality picture. During 

Achieving Adult Status 249 

the years of adulthood, much should be added to it. Self -application for 
one's chosen goals, continuity of effort, sensitivity to the needs of others, 
and foresightful planning all point to an adult design of living. Adult 
self-reliance will be related to acquisitions from religion, philosophy, 
social sciences, and the arts. It will be supplemented by information and 
counsel gained from other adults of personal stature or professional 


Few would argue against a need of adolescent guidance, yet not many 
would agree on its exact methodology. Since the adolescent is no longer 
a child, parental and educational demands should be different from those 
on a child. Several ideas may be kept in mind in attempting to clarify 
an adolescent's need for guidance. First, an adolescent is in a state of 
rapid development. This development is pervasive and encompasses 
many factors and dimensions of his personality. Whenever a factor is 
changed and reshaped, any noticeable influence can deform it more 
readily than when the same factor is stable after an adolescent has 
acquired an advanced level of individuality and personality organization. 
Some molding influences may therefore be incongruous with what has 
been developed up to this age. One's past experiences and controls must 
be respected in addition to his type of personality. The maturing person 
usually needs many good influences to support him in his strivings for 
a higher level of self-realization. He needs much information in order to 
acquire new knowledge and to form new perspectives and vistas and thus 
to contribute to his resourcefulness. 

Since an adolescent's feelings of adequacy are often exposed to threats, 
he may need particular consideration before any advice is given. Audi 
alteram partem (listen to the other side) is a guide for fairness to the 
adolescent. Authoritative control is usually resisted by the adolescent 
because it is usually identified as a threat to self-independence. On the 
other hand, the democratic method may not be particularly good for the 
adolescent because he is often not ready for any compromise. 

Modified informed permissiveness seems to be the best approach. 
Adolescents and young adults alike often need information, especially in 
the complex situations of modern life. Since one's desire to learn often 
runs high, his attention is usually satisfactory or good and he will benefit 
from the information about alternatives in a permissive atmosphere. A 
deep positive attitude toward granting freedom of expression and choice 
usually appeals to the adolescent. Permissiveness is not necessarily indul- 
gence, and so the approval of each alternative action is not implied. 
Permissiveness is modified in terms of the adolescent's needs and tenden- 

250 Adulthood 

cies about which the guidance worker, parent, teacher, counselor, or 
camp leader must previously secure competent information from reliable 
informed sources. 

Illustrative materials and underlying principles from Removing Blocks 
to Mental Health in School [6, situation 17] will be used here to deal 
with some specific problems of adolescent guidance. 

Mary was up against a tough problem in making out her study program for 
the last year of junior high school. She had an expectation of going to college, 
and if she was going to take algebra she had to take it in the ninth grade 
since it was not offered in senior high school. Mathematics had always been 
Mary's stumbling block and had caused her so many emotional upsets in 
junior high school that her parents thought it might be better to postpone 
algebra for a year. This was impossible if Mary was to pursue the college 
preparatory course. What should the school advise? Should Mary run the 
risk of further emotional disturbance and take algebra in the only grade 
where it was ofiFered or should she skip it and run the risk of not getting 
the mathematics required for college entrance, with the anxieties thereby 
incurred? This is a typical educational problem. How many students are not 
quite ready for a specific course when they are in the grade in which it is 
most conveniently scheduled? 

Should not some attention have been given before the condition developed 
to the point of "so many emotional upsets in junior high school"? Was the 
school aware of these upsets? Is this not the type of a situation in which a 
school psychologist, if available, could have been of assistance? With or 
without such service, might a case-study approach to Mary's problems, if 
applied earlier in their development, have thrown any light upon the under- 
lying reasons for Mary's upsets, and have indicated possible changes in her 
school program to ease the pressures Mary felt? 

Another educational problem can be cited. 

Sally had never been able to cope successfully with her high school courses. 
She had, however, remained in school long enough to be considered eligible 
for graduation with a diploma. She had been given minimum passing marks 
in most subjects because her teachers realized she was doing the best she 
could. Sally got along well with people and appeared to be happy. She 
seemed undisturbed by her low level of skill in typing, her inability to 
make an acceptable transcript of stenographic notes, and her vagueness about 
the content of other courses. When she applied for a job, she was accepted 
as a high school graduate and assigned to work which she was completely 
unable to do. As she was discharged from one job after another, she became 
more and more resentful of other girls' successes, less and less easy to get 
along with, more suspicious of her fellow workers, and more vaguely anxious 
about herself. How will Sally end up — as a neurotic? as a shrewish wife 
and a nagging mother? At the same time, her employers wonder what is 
happening to the schools: "How can the schools graduate pupils like this?" 

Achieving Adult Status 251 

A lack -of confidence in the schools develops among certain businessmen in the 
community when they encounter graduates who fail to measure up to the 
normal standards. 

How can the school solve the dilemma of giving pupils like Sally recogni- 
tion for reasonable effort and regular attendance without creating an un- 
realistic self-confidence in their abilities and giving employers a false under- 
standing of what the credentials mean? 

This quoted registration procedure contributed to the following 

"... and so the pupil and parent should study the attached 'List of High 
School Offerings' and choose the curriculum which the pupil is to pursue. 
The choice should be listed on the 'Curriculum Choice Blank' and returned to 
the vice-principal with the parent's signature indicating approval." 

Mrs. Smith had no difficulty in making a choice for Lisa. She had always 
admired her own sister's career as a nurse and wanted Lisa to follow in 
the same path. Lisa wished to please her mother and so, as suggested in the 
material sent home from school, she chose the "straight college entrance 
course" as preparation for her nursing career. 

Lisa worked hard and made a fair record the first term in high school, 
even though her science and algebra required tremendous effort which 
resulted in memorization rather than real understanding. She missed the art 
classes in which she excelled in seventh and eighth grades but tried to 
find a little time at home in which to sketch fashions and make "outfits" 
for paper dolls. How far will Lisa go before she discovers that she will not 
likely succeed in nursing? 

These cases illustrate a few of the many problems involved in counsel- 
ing and guiding adolescents. Since many steps of preparation for adult- 
hood are being taken at this period of development, it is most important 
that proper guidance be available. The maturing person should be 
encouraged to come out of himself and to accept greater responsibility 
in exercising his will for his own advantage and that of the community. 


1. What are the adolescent characteristics indicating readiness to enter the level 
of adulthood? 

2. Why should an adolescent experiment with various roles? 

3. Why do ambivalence and self-defenses often indicate a lack of age-related 

4. What is the role played by a vocational preparation during adolescence? 

5. List and explain some major factors operating in vocational choice. 

6. Enumerate several factors contributing to marital happiness. Analyze one 
of them. 

7. What are some major influences affecting adolescent status? Explain some 
implications of one of them. 

252 Adulthood 

8. Why does an adolescent need increased permissiveness of his parents? 

9. What are some fallacies in adolescent guidance on the part of (a) parents, 
(b) educators? 

10. What are some of the modem means profitable, if applied, in guiding the 
maturing person? 

11. Explain how an adolescent develops self -direction from within. 


I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Fishbein, M., and E. W. Burgess. Successful Marriage. (2nd ed.) New York: 
Doubleday, 1955. A comprehensive source on personal and other factors involved 
in marriage relationship. 

2. Wattenberg, Wm. W. The Adolescent Years. Chaps. 6, 8, 12, 18, and 19. 
New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1955. Foundations of adulthood are discussed. 

II. Specific References 

3. Bossard, James H. S, Parent and Child: Studies in Family Behavior. Phila- 
delphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1953. 

4. Bossard, James H. S., and Eleanor S. Boll. Personahty Roles in the Large 
Family. Child Develpm., 1955, 26, 71-78. 

5. Burgess, Ernest W., and Leonard S. Cottrell. Predicting Success or Failure in 
Marriage. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1939. 

6. New York State Education Department, Mental Health Committee. Removing 
Blocks to Mental Health in School. Albany, N.Y., 1954. 

7. Simmel, Georg. The Sociology of Georg Simmel. (Translated by Kurt H. 
Wolf.) Glencoe, 111.: Free Press, 1950. 

8. Strong, E. K., Jr. Vocational Interests of Men and Women. Stanford, Calif.: 
Stanford University Press, 1943. 

9. Terman, Lewis M. Psychological Factors in Marital Happiness. New York: 
McGraw-Hill, 1938. 

10. Vital Statistics of the United States: 1955. Vol. I. 1957. 

11. Winch, Robert F. Mate Selection: A Study of Complementary Needs. New 
York: Harper, 1958. 



The Concept and 
Criteria of Maturity 

THE "miracle'' of Structural growth and functional maturation continues 
for almost two decades before the human individual begins to approach 
sectorial and global maturity. As we have seen in Chapters 5 through 17, 
the total process of development is marked by many aspects, factors, 
phases, steps, and particular tasks. Maturation, as was pointed out in 
Chapter 2, refers to the emergence and particularly the increase of 
functional abilities and mental powers. Beyond this, it implies age- and 
phase-related relationships and behavior indicating a relative freedom 
from anxiety and restraints that spring from conflicting and emotionally 
charged experiences of previous levels of life. 

In growing up, the organism and personality reach and begin to 
operate upon successively advanced levels of maturity. It is good to bear 
in mind that an adult may act at a top level of unfolded abilities only 
when the situation calls for it, for example, in a political debate among 
civic leaders. When the same adult finds himself among children, he may 
act in a childish manner. The teacher often has to use a low level of self- 
expression to make himself understood or to initiate activities based on 
age-group interests. Responding to a situational demand, he merely faces 
reality and acts appropriately; this naturally does not mean he regresses 
into immature forms of behavior. 

Usually children and adolescents are striving for matiu-ity as this is 
modeled and illustrated by their parents and other adults. A young girl 
may wear lipstick, speak about marriage, and in many other little ways 
indicate her desire to become a mature person. A young boy may try to 
step into his father's shoes and enact "Father" by fitting himself into 


254 Adulthood 

some aspects of the parental role or by showing preference for adult 
interests and activities. 

The three major effects of matm'ation are ( 1 ) expanded ability in learn- 
ing, ( 2 ) higher efficiency of performance, and ( 3 ) recognition of meaning 
and value. The mature person is, then, characterized by his readiness to 
utilize his reservoir of abilities and skills as means of desired self-expres- 
sion and accomplishment. Maturity, ultimately, refers to the adequacy 
and completeness of integration; it is a phase at which human capacities 
and personality traits are not merely developed but functionally united 
as well. 


A survey of psychological and related literature indicates that the 
process of human maturation is a typical subject matter of developmental 
psychology. Furthermore, it is analyzed in volumes on personality, mental 
hygiene, and adolescent psychology. Maturational orientation seems to be 
adequately presented in the works of E. Aeppli [1], A. L. Baldwin [8], 
and, especially, P. Lersch [5]. 

Lersch develops a complex developmental and organizational structure 
of the human being. Fundamentally this structure is characterized by two 
interpenetrating operational levels, conceptualized as "endothymic 
ground" and the "F'-related or personal superstructure. The former is 
derived from the Greek endon, meaning within or internal, and thymos, 
meaning emotionality as a frame of mental experience. Endothymic 
processes and promptings make individual life deep, resourceful, and 
creative. The "I"-related function refers primarily to self-control status 
in the light of reason and volition. Thus it performs the function of 
marshaling and directing endothymically elicited energies into the pur- 
suit of personal aspirations and goals. 

G. W. Allport [2] devotes a chapter to the mature personality. He 
outlines maturity in terms of a variety of autonomous interests, self- 
objectification, and a unifying philosophy of life. L. P. Thorpe and W. W. 
Cruze [34, p. 613] identify maturity as "a goal toward which most children 
and adolescents constantly strive." They identify the mature person as 
"one who has attained physical maturity and who, at the same time, has 
developed certain attitudes, interests, and ambitions which differ con- 
siderably from those characteristic of childhood and adolescence [34, p. 
594]." Evidence of maturity is seen in sectorial maturation of various 
developmental aspects [34, pp. 604-612]. Generally, most writers on 
maturity [4, 19, 26] present data on physical, sexual, emotional, and 
social maturation, but fail to integrate the data in terms of personality so 
as to arrive at their principal meaning to the individual or to see fully 

The Concept and Criteria of Maturity 255 

their societal significance. In recognizing the great need for a concept 
of psychological maturity, H. A. Overstreet [26] notes the past contri- 
butions have been leading to this "master concept of our time," which 
is "central to our whole enterprise of living." It remains, however, an 
open-end task for future research. 

It is noteworthy that recently there have been several large volumes 
published on both personality and developmental psychology which 
basically avoided this challenging subject. Examples of such studies 
include those by G. Murphy [23, 24], R. Stagner [32], C. M. Harsh and 
H. G. Schrickel [18], D. C. McClelland [22], S. L. Pressey and R. G. 
Kuhlen [27], and L. P. Thorpe and A. M. SchmuUer [35]. 


Setting many qualified maturities apart and designing measures to 
appraise them separately is impractical at the present time. It will pro- 
duce at best questionable results unless it is supplemented by a synthetic 
correlation of the data. Indexes of maturity may be attained by means of 
laboratory evaluation of various bodily systems. For instance, X-ray 
records may indicate the developmental stage of ossification. Medical 
examination, including laboratory analysis of gonadotrophic hormones, 
may produce indexes of sexual maturity. Moreover, psychometric tests, 
e.g., intelligence tests, will show the level at which certain mental abilities 

The Vineland Social Maturity Scale [11] is another typical example of 
the sectorial approach. The Vineland Social Maturity Scale is constructed 
on the model of the Stanford-Binet and is designed to appraise social 
adequacy. The items are grouped into age levels — from early infancy to 
the age of thirty years — representing progressive personal-social matura- 
tion and adjustment in terms of self-help, self-direction, locomotion, 
occupation, communication, and socialization. Answers by the subject 
or one who knows him well are converted into an age-related 

When one scans A. GeseU's normative scale of maturation from one- 
year-oldness to fifteen- and sixteen-year-oldness [15-17], one cannot fail 
to observe the increasing complexity of understanding and behavior, of 
self and interpersonal relationships. According to Gesell, developmental 
diagnosis "is a matching of observations and of norms. When the matching 
is guided by ample clinical experience, it has the vahdity of true measure- 
ment [14, p. 8]." Following his directions the examiner attains a Develop- 
mental Quotient, or DQ [14, pp. 111-117]. This quotient is based on the 
ratio between maturity of motor, adaptive, language, and personal-social 
behavior and the chronological age of the subject. The four behavior 

256 Adulthood 

aspects are deJBned and tested on Gesell's developmental chart [13]. 
The Buhler and Hetzer tests [9] use a similar approach in the appraisal 
of the early developmental status of behavioral and mental maturation. 
Multidimensional evaluations of mental and personality factors may also 
come from the application of projective techniques, especially if the 
Rorschach method, the Thematic Apperception Test, or the more com- 
plex drawing techniques are used by experts in projective psychology. 


Another approach in appraising the level of maturity is offered by 
means of the global criteria of maturity, more hypothetical yet sufficiently 
useful for the purpose of practical evaluation. 

Differential responsiveness. Intellectual development and, in particular, 
various avenues of learning enable the child and the adolescent to expand 
and improve their understanding of the many realities of life and their 
dimensions, including their relationships. The child's early forms of 
exploration and his subsequent modes of questioning and reading are 
important means for his acquisition of knowledge. The variety of experi- 
ences to which the growing person is exposed contributes substantially to 
the extension of familiarity with the many details of his environmental 
matrix. A child may discover that certain types of antisocial behavior, 
such as lack of sharing or attempts to dominate, lead to unpopularity 
with his playmates. As a result, the child may learn to control such 
aspects of behavior for the sake of preserving friendships. He may de- 
liberately test reactions of others to various situations, thereby employing 
a form of experimental procedure and reasoning. Insatiable desire to 
gain knowledge and to acquire a variety of skills, supplemented by 
formal education, serves as a motive to increase and refine a person's 
judgment and discriminating abilities, enabling the individual to give a 
fluent verbal description of a concept. While many individuals reach a very 
elevated level of discrimination, many others remain at various lower 
levels. Therefore, the level of discrimination serves well as a criterion 
of maturity. A vocabulary test with words having many meanings and 
connotations, including the abstract and symbolic, may be used as a 
direct measure of differential responsiveness. The relationship between 
popular, or usual, and original, or unusual, responses on the Rorschach 
may also serve the same purpose. 

Lack of differential responsiveness on the part of youths and adults is 
frequently indicated by certain popular misconceptions, such as those 
of the identical similarity of doctor and physician, teacher and instructor. 
For a certain student, anyone who lectures may be a "professor" or 
anyone of the faculty may be unqualifiably referred to as "Mr." Similarly, 

The Concept and Criteria of Maturity 257 

any clergyman may just be "Father." All musical performances may be 
identified as merely melodies or songs, and all female dancers as 

Facing reality in all of its aspects, anticipation and prediction of 
future action based on past experiences and experiments cannot reach 
an adequate level without progress in responding specifically to various 
situations. To illustrate this point, let us suppose a small child was pushed 
down by a young boy. If the child does not perceive this incident as a 
specific situation, he may tend to expect similar aggressive acts by other 
boys, thus exhibiting a lack of differential response. Progressive improve- 
ment of sensitivity and refinement of apperceptual and conceptual inter- 
pretation constitute a sine qua non in such a process. Accumulation of a 
variety of experience and knowledge represents a capital gain for feelings 
of adequacy and self-reliance. A mature response in various situations 
depends on previous experience and the range of one's information per- 
taining to each situation. 

Interdependence. Gaining in autonomy and independence from signifi- 
cant persons in an individual's life is a kind of "psychosocial weaning." 

Late infancy and preadolescence are characteristic in this respect. At 
about the two-year level a new attitude becomes dominant which is 
marked by excessive resistance to parental control and suggestion, stub- 
bornness, and attempts at contrary behavior. The infant begins to feel he 
has a mind and will of his own and starts to exercise them. On the other 
hand the puberal adolescent transfers his emotional affiliation from 
parents to his compeers. This gain of independence is a major sign of 
maturation, yet one may remain fully dependent on a clique or his "best 
friend" and feel lost when separated. In approaching maturity, however, 
the adolescent must break away from his identification and severe de- 
pendence on the compeer group in particular and "compeer culture" in 
general in order to integrate himself in adult society and culture as a 
self-reliant individual. 

In the years of early adulthood, a person will not reach a satisfactory 
level of autonomy if, for example, he as a husband is now dominated by 
his wife or children, or if she as a wife is largely subjected to her hus- 
band's influences. Thus, a mere transference of dependence cannot be an 
indicator of maturity. Viewing this matter from another angle, complete 
independence can only be attained as a form of extreme autocracy or 
withdrawal from reality. In order to reach a high level of maturity, a 
balance between dependence and independence must be established. 
Hence, a gradual motion from the receptive dependence of infancy and 
childhood to the creative interdependence of the adult stage, and ulti- 
mate reliance on a will higher than one's own, one's parents', or one's 
compeers' — namely, on the will of the Creator of man — points to the true 

258 Adulthood 

maturity. Continual interdependence is possible only through the ability 
to love and direct this all-penetrating emotion in various degrees to vari- 
ous values, individuals, and objects. Marriage, for example, requires an 
interdependence of the partners through love. If this love cools, one or 
both partners depend less upon the other, and they become more inde- 
pendent. The lack of Christian love between employer and employee 
and also between nations exemplifies the uncertainty of interdependence 
resulting from an absence of charity. Unselfish love is the cause and 
eflFect of true maturity. Love develops maturity and maturity develops 
love. An experienced present-day psychiatrist has stated, "The more love 
is the driving factor in life, the more integrated the personality will be." 

Participating activity. Without personal and active engagement, little 
can be performed or learned. Much passivity, spectatorship, and "letting 
others do it" restrict self-initiative and the use of energies which, if not 
utilized, lead to physiological and mental tension. Experience with chil- 
dren shows that they frequently enjoy being challenged and usually 
work at the top level of their ability, while adolescents and adults often 
refuse to respond to many such opportunities. Activity that chal- 
lenges major motor and mental abilities should become a daily engage- 
ment, producing enjoyment and fun. Self- gratifications are impossible 
without creative participation in various spheres of activity. A satisfactory 
self-knowledge and active engagement of one's abilities and potentialities 
helps one to mold oneself into a human model related to one's individual 

Foresightful application of knowledge and experience. In the process 
of formal or private education, self-examination should be frequent so as 
to improve discrimination in terms of what is worth knowing and how 
this knowledge is applicable. To foster broadmindedness, the individual 
needs to study alternatives in order to expand his perspectives and vistas 
in an over-all evaluation of various implications and possible conse- 
quences. Overviews or summary evaluations preceding important de- 
cisions are likely to enable one to perceive danger signs relative to 
oneself and others, and may considerably improve the predictability of 
events. This, in turn, will facilitate making better choices and acting on 
the basis of long-range goals, rather than relying on short-term advan- 
tages or satisfactions. 

Communication of experience. Development of the ability to verbalize 
and satisfactorily relate experiences, especially those wliich are emotional 
in character, provides an additional predisposition to personal adequacy 
and adjustment. Apparently many adult individuals continue to have 
difficulties in conceptualizing and communicating emotional aspects of 
their personal experiences. This is a frequent observation of psycho- 
therapists. Hence, as the individual grows up and matures, he has to 

The Concept and Criteria of Maturity 259 

make progress in vocabulary, diction, and in effective interpersonal 
communication, and he must be able to establish proper relationships 
which will offer frequent and satisfactory opportunities for this kind of 
self-expression. It is a task of the adult to advance to a more abstract and 
conceptual level of communication. 

Sensitivity to the needs of others. Infants and children are sensitive 
to their own needs and interests. Their behavior forcefully indicates their 
presence or absence. A young child is likely to cry excessively when he 
loses either an enjoyable person or object. Yet the needs or interests of 
their siblings or parents are readily disregarded, if felt at all. A child 
takes away a new toy given to his sibhng and indicates little awareness 
of his cry. An adult need has to be presented in a particular way in order 
to make it understood by a child. When the mother is being examined 
by a physician whom the child recognizes as a doctor, his concern 
grows. It may be interpreted that the fear elicited grows less on a basis of 
identification with the mother and more from an expectation by the infant 
that he will be examined thereafter. Sensitivity to the needs of others grad- 
ually develops during childhood but does not reach any depth before ado- 
lescence. The adolescent self-preoccupation is usually transformed into an 
examination and consideration of others. This observation of others often 
leads to deep insights relative to the needs of others. Yet an adolescent's 
activities for the gratification of others' needs are frequently interrupted 
by the emergence of his own acute desires. Behavioral priority for his 
own needs usually prevails. A young adult may attain a level of control 
which permits him continual service to the needs of others. Estimation 
of others' wants improves now, and the responses are less often inter- 
fered with by reappearing egoistic considerations. Versatility in relat- 
ing to others greatly expands at this age. 

Sensitivity to the needs of others tends to decrease with advancing age. 
At a later age, self-concern deepens and usually controls the direction of 
personal interests toward others. They become more often disregarded 
and forgotten in favor of self -preoccupation and gratification of one's 
own drives and inclinations. 

Dealing constructively with frustration. One of the major signs of 
maturity is the increasing ability to delay the gratification of psychosocial 
needs and to control or tolerate considerable amounts of disappointment, 
deprivation, anxiety, and frustration in general. In recalling and examin- 
ing some past frustrations, one should draw some positive lessons or 
values for future activities and learn about the possibilities of avoiding 
them altogether. 

The adolescents' standards and ideals on the one hand, and drives of 
emotional and sexual character on the other, often do not readily fuse 
into an integrated and consistent conduct pattern; therefore, disillusion- 

260 Adulthood 

ments, frustrations, and conflicts occur which are Hkely to disturb the 
individual in a variety of ways and situations. As the adolescent becomes 
better able to cope with and solve these conflicts, he advances toward 
the attainment of maturity. 

Adequacy in self-control status. A satisfactory handling of affection, 
emotion, and sexual and other impulses has to be achieved during the 
stages preceding adulthood. The personal direction of life energies to- 
ward well-chosen activities and goals and adequate standards of conduct 
and ideals signifies self-control and character. These, in fact, are the 
signs of maturation of a higher order. A tense, ill-tempered, envious, 
suspicious, and hostile person is both uncontrolled and immature. 

Willingness to assume responsibilities. The person has to develop his 
abilities and advance his readiness to assume personal responsibilities 
pertaining to his status, duties, and obligations. Progress in anticipating 
and in setting long-term objectives has to be shown during the years of 
adolescence and early adulthood. Frequently willingness to assume re- 
sponsibilities involves sacrifice and courage on the part of the adolescent 
or young adult. He must learn to overcome fear of failure, disregard 
feelings of disgust or apathy, and ignore comments from his peers when 
his responsibilities must be fulfilled. These and other conflicts must be 
met and solved in a rational manner before the young adult can develop 
a personality that is reliable in fulfilling duties. 

Character. During the years of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, 
the individual is exposed to a variety of societal, cultural, and moral 
factors and has a long-term task in integrating his behavior with them. 
Since moral maturation is often misunderstood or neglected, some clarifi- 
cation is needed in this area of development. Moral maturation com- 
mences when a child begins to show some obedience to the dictates of his 
conscience and when it becomes his own judge in the daily activities 
and organization of living in general. Progress in moral maturation is 
marked by an increase of freedom and will power to choose the good, 
yet selection of the bad is not excluded. The habitual choice of the good 
points to moral perfection, and it is an ideal for adolescent and adult 
alike. Hence, the morally mature person guides himself and is largely 
self-determined. In order to induce control over his instinctual urges, 
impulses, and undesirable emotions, he can utilize and control various 
brain mechanisms and neuromuscular systems. An individual may use 
self-control by substitution, whereby he replaces an unacceptable 
thought or desire with a more acceptable one, or by suppression, whereby 
he forces a thought out of consciousness by distraction. The individual 
may use neuromuscular control by refusing to give vent to an impulse, 
such as refusing to strike when he is angry. In such use of control, self- 

The Concept and Criteria of Maturity 261 

imposed principles and values take precedence over his own convenience 
and gratifications in satisfying biological, emotional, and social needs 
[25]. When a number of ethical and moral principles are assimilated and 
start acting as effective behavior organizers, man begins to evidence 
character, which is one of the ultimate indicators of advanced matura- 
tion and of adult personality. 

Self-reliance. Adequacy in facing novel situations improves as the 
person gains self-control through his past training, education, and other 
influences and begins to profit from them. Achievement of success in 
dealing with present situations promotes the feelings of self-might and 
self-worth. Such feelings inflate the ego, and as a result, the individual 
will hesitate less in applying his own resources. Consequently, the organ- 
ization of the individual's energies for various life activities becomes a 
smooth process. A person is neither mature nor self-reliant if he seeks 
excessive assistance from others or if he expects or unduly requests 
privileges. Maturity rather implies considerable independence from 
others and primary reliance on oneself. 

Harmony. L. Klages [21, pp. 310, 337] originates and H. Remplein [28, 
pp. 415-417] elaborates on the concept of the niveau of personality. A 
high niveau is seen in the similarity between a personality and a piece of 
art filled with experiences of life, originality, and equilibrium between 
vitality and Geist, the rationality that channelizes the energy toward con- 
structive goals and purpose. Harmony implies integrity and its main- 
tenance of order under stressful conditions. 

Weltanschauung. "Unifying philosophy of life," G. W. Allport's term 
[2], or "rational design for living," the phrase employed by M. B. Arnold 
and J. A. Gasson [3], both refer to this criterion of a mature person. 
Allport comes to the conclusion that religion represents the core of an 
adequate philosophy of life. "Religion is the search for a value under- 
lying all things, and as such is the most comprehensive of all possible 
philosophies of life [2, p. 226]." 

Acquiring a religious belief and its practice offers the means for a 
fundamental integration of human experience since it conveys meaning 
and value to all human activities. Philosophies with a lesser frame of 
reference are incapable of performing this. The famous psychoanalyst 
and psychologist C. G. Jung, after many years of clinical practice, came 
to the realization that unless a patient seeks and regains a religious out- 
look, psychotherapy is principally unsuccessful [20, p. 264]. Another 
psychoanalyst tells us of this important relationship. "In my experience, 
lack of religious faith or loss of faith has often proved to be a serious 
indication of a disordered person [33, p. 283]." In this respect. Bishop 
Fulton J. Sheen indicates an important relationship: "Anxiety increases 

262 Adulthood 

in direct ratio and proportion as man departs from God [30, p. 19]." 
Father John A. Gasson [3] emphasizes love of the Creator of men as the 
final remedy, "In the actual and active loving of God, the person finds him- 
self in the most suitable condition with respect to himself, with respect to 
his environment, with respect to inner tendencies, 'for them who love 
God all things work together unto good.'" Hence, the rational design of 
living representing the Christian hierarchy of values establishes a com- 
plete coherence between the natural and supernatural, between the 
person's self-imposed ethical principles and his religious experience. 


In terms of the presented criteria and their basic implications, a mature 
individual is a person of chronologically adequate physiological, sexual, 
mental, and ego development who: 

1. Has abihty to respond differentially in terms of his needs and out- 
side factors operating in his situation. 

2. Channels his tensions, impulses, and emotions into constructive be- 
havior, and directs his behavior toward achievement of positive long- 
term goals, yet retains the basic sensitivity, emotional driving strength, 
and the degree of satisfaction and enjoyment of early adulthood. 

3. In reference to his parents and peers, establishes interdependent 
patterns of relationships, and is able to impress and influence them and 
to maintain his role and response flexibility. 

4. Is satisfied by and derives enjoyment from his status and occupa- 
tion; continues to develop and expand a reservoir of abilities, skills, and 
viewpoints; learns to recognize his own assets and limitations; and seeks 
compromise and creative solutions. 

5. Is at home with reality in most of its aspects; and has learned to 
see himself and others with objectivity, humor, and patience. 

6. Contributes in his own way to the community, his nation, and 

7. Feels satisfied with his own design for living and his assimilated 


It is well to notice that the presented criteria of maturity are related 
and overlap to an appreciable extent and that therefore, for practical 
estimation, one may need only three or four of them to come to practical 
conclusions in terms of a particular person under consideration. The 
criteria need to be considerably modified for a child or adolescent. 

The Concept and Criteria of Maturity 263 

Moreover, any strict application may readily lead to a perfectionist 
interpretation. Human strivings for a higher level of integration, con- 
sistency, adequacy, and progress in maturity during adulthood do not 
make them perfect; mediocrity usually prevails. There is always much to 
be desired in terms of human potential for creative and integrative activ- 
ities when closely observing the spectrum of interpersonal, intergroup, 
and international behavior. Murphy's Human Potentialities [24, pp. 129 
S., 243 ff.] points to many possible extensions of creative activity to new 
dimensions and fields by developing and applying powers contained in 
the "three human natures," namely, biological, social-cultural, and that of 
creative understanding. 

Maturity and adjustment. These appear to be two inseparable attri- 
butes of life activities. Without satisfactory progress in maturation, ade- 
quate adjustment to oneself, to others, and to God is inconceivable. Age- 
related maturity is a determining disposition toward proper responses 
and relationships, even when many situations are frustrating, depriving, 
or otherwise adverse. 

There is, of course, no one-to-one relationship because adjustment has a 
larger frame of reference and involves interaction of factors which may 
make mature responses impossible; for example, a drunkard husband 
lacking moral or religious motivation is an individual to whom wife and 
children may not be able to adjust, yet the lack of such adjustment can- 
not serve as a sign of the wife's immaturity. 

It is conventional to indicate that maturity promotes mental health 
and general welfare since it safeguards the individual from prolonged 
conflicts, troubles, and anxieties. It provides stimuli for familial and 
communal improvements because a mature individual acts as a corrective 
influence in some ways at least. 


1. Analyze the process of human maturation in the hght of adolescent develop- 
ments and then explain its end product, maturity. 

2. How well is the concept of maturity defined and accepted as a subject matter 
of developmental psychology? 

3. List several sectorial indexes of maturity. Select and examine one of the 
global criteria of maturity. 

4. Explain the relationships between reason, conscience, and moral maturity. 

5. How does independence contribute to personal maturity? What is the rela- 
tionship between interdependence and adult maturity? 

6. In what ways does the philosophy of life or a rational design of living promote 

7. What are the outstanding characteristics of a mature person? How will such a 
person cope with the problems and some adverse situations in his life? 

8. Indicate some relationships between (a) maturity and adjustment, (b) ma- 
turity and mental health. 

264 Adulthood 


I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Aeppli, Ernst. Personlichkeit: Vom Wesen des gereiften Menschen. Erlenbach, 
Germany: Rentsch, 1952, The development of personality, especially toward its end 
phase of maturity, is thoroughly presented. 

2. Allport, Gordon W. Personality: A Psychological Interpretation. Chap. 8. New 
York: Holt, 1937. Extension of the self through interests, self-objectification, and 
the unifying philosophy of life is discussed. 

3. Arnold, M. B., and J. A. Gasson. The Human Person. New York: Ronald, 
1954. Person and personality from the broad Christian point of view under con- 
sideration of various disciplines are discussed and the need for spiritual life is stressed. 

4. Cole, Luella. Attaining Maturity. New York: Rinehart, 1944. Sectorial matura- 
tional processes and indexes of maturity are presented with case illustrations. 

5. Lersch, Phillip. Aufhau der Person. (7th ed.) Munchen: Earth, 1956. The 
structural growth of temperament, personality, and character quahties and traits and 
their interaction is thoughtfully presented. Stratification of organizational levels is an 
essential feature in approach. 

6. Mounier, Emmanuel. The Character of Man. (Translated from Traite du Char- 
acteur, 1942, by Cynthia Rowland.) New York: Harper, 1956. A shortened transla- 
tion of a very comprehensive volume on character which stresses unique features and 
their relationships as well as factors influencing them. 

7. Wuellner, Bernard. A Christian Philosophy of Life. Milwaukee: Bruce, 1957. 
This combines the study of life, sources of life, goals and dignity, ideals and peace, 
and the outlook of Christ's teachings on human life and its purpose. 

II. Specific References 

8. Baldwin, Alfred L. Behavior and Development in Childhood. New York: 
Dryden Press, 1955. 

9. Buhler, Charlotte, and H. Hetzer. Testing Children's Development from Birth 
to School Age. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1935. 

10. David, Henry P., and Helmut von Bracken. Perspectives in Personality Theory. 
New York: Basic Books, 1957. 

11. Doll, E. A. The Measurement of Social Competence. Minneapolis: Education 
Test Bureau, 1953. 

12. Garrison, Karl C. Growth and Development. Pp. 485-511. New York: Long- 
mans, 1952. 

13. Gesell, Arnold. Gesell Developmental Schedules. New York: Psychological Cor- 
poration, 1949. 

14. Gesell, Arnold, and Catherine S. Amatruda. Developmental Diagnosis. (2nd 
ed.) New York: Harper, 1947. 

15. Gesell, Arnold, and Frances L. Ilg. Infant and Child in the Culture of Today. 
New York: Harper, 1943. 

16. Gesell, Arnold, and Frances L. Ilg. The Child from Five to Ten. New York: 
Harper, 1946. 

17. Gesell, Arnold, et. al. Youth: The Years from Ten to Sixteen. New York: 
Harper, 1956. 

18. Harsh, Charles M., and H. G. Schrickel. Personality: Development and Assess- 
ment. (2nd ed.) New York: Ronald, 1959. 

19. Hurlock, Elizabeth B. Developmental Psychology. (2nd ed.) New York: 
McGraw-Hill, 1959. 


I The Concept and Criteria of Maturity 265 

20. Jung, Carl G. Modern Man in Search of a Soul. (2nd ed.) New York: Har- 
court, Brace, 1953. 

21. Klages, Ludwig, Grundlegung der Wissenschaft von Ausdruck. (7th ed.) 
Bonn: Bouvier, 1950. 

22. McClelland, David C. Personality. New York: Dryden Press, 1951. 

23. Murphy, Gardner. Personality. New York: Harper, 1947. 

24. Murphy, Gardner. Human Potentialities. New York: Basic Books, 1958. 

25. Odier, C. Les Deux Sources Consciente et Inconsciente de la Vie Morale. 
Boudry, Switzerland: Baconniere, 1947. 

26. Overstreet, H. A. The Mature Mind. New York: Norton, 1949. 

27. Pressy, Sidney L., and Raymond G. Kuhlen. Psychological Development 
Through the Life Span. New York: Harper, 1957. 

28. Remplein, Heinz. Psychologic der Persdnlichkeit. (2nd ed.) Munich: Rein- 
hardt, 1956. 

29. Saul, L. T. Emotional Maturity: The Development and Dynamics of Personal- 
ity. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1947. 

30. Sheen, Fulton J. Peace of Soul. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1949. 

31. Smith, Elliot D. The Attainment of Maturity. Pastoral Psychol, 1957, 8(71), 

32. Stagner, Ross. Psychology of Personality. (2nd ed.) New York: McGraw-Hill, 

33. Stem, Karl. The Third Revolution. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1954. 

34. Thorpe, Louis P. and Wendell W. Cruze. Developmental Psychology. New 
York: Ronald, 1956. 

35. Thorpe, Louis P., and Allen M. Schmuller. Personality: An Interdisciplinary 
Approach. Princeton, N.J.: Van Nostrand, 1958. 

36. Warters, Jane. Achieving Maturity. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1949. 



Developmental Tasks 
of Early Adulthood 

FOLLOWING the stormy period of adolescence, the individual in our 
society is faced with yet another problem, that of integration into adult 
society. The challenges and responsibilities that must be met and ac- 
cepted are many, and the possible hindrances to satisfactory adjustment 
and development are varied. The responsibility of participating in local 
religious, fraternal, and political organizations, of voting intelligently, 
and of keeping informed on international issues is becoming more and 
more mandatory if the young adult is to take his place in adult society 
as a peer. This chapter attempts to analyze the major developmental 
tasks and problem areas in the early adult years. 


Among the criteria of maturity mentioned in the previous chapter are 
achievement of independence and willingness to accept responsibility. 
These are two of the most crucial attributes which distinguish an adult 
from a child or adolescent. The task of becoming independent and re- 
sponsible is especially important in the emotional, social and economic 
areas of life. Each of these areas will be examined separately. 

Emotional. Emotional independence may be understood as a progres- 
sion from dependence to relative autonomy. In other words, although 
maintaining close emotional ties to others, when others disagree or are 
displeased with him, the individual becomes less susceptible to disap- 
pointment or despair than he was as a child. Emotional independence is 


Developmental Tasks of Early Adulthood 267 

the most important and the most difficult independence to achieve. The 
young adult must arrive at a level of affective development in which his 
emotional needs are best satisfied by peers rather than by parents. Too 
strong an attachment to one or both parents will create severe problems, 
especially in marital adjustment. If an individual derives his greatest 
satisfaction in pleasing his parents, or in being with them rather than 
with his peers, particularly the opposite sex, his emotional development 
is retarded or distorted. 

In most cases, the individual begins to free himself from emotional 
dependence on his parents during adolescence. The increased social life 
of adolescence and new friendships with members of both sexes aid in 
the transference of emotional ties. During this time, feelings toward 
parents should become more adult in tone. That is, the affection should 
be coupled with mutual respect and less like the dependent attachment 
of children. Evaluating decisions and persons in terms of parents' opin- 
ions, or acting only with parental approval, are characteristic of an 
earlier level of emotional and self-development. 

Attaining emotional independence does not imply complete self-suffi- 
ciency. Rather, the individual is interdependent. Affection, security, 
status, and related needs are satisfied by his marriage partner, his peer 
group, and even his occupation. The individual, in turn, contributes to 
the gratification of the emotional needs of others in his reference groups. 

Emotional independence is not achieved by a mere transference of 
emotional dependency from parents to peers. The young adult who is 
4ependent on his peers as he was on his parents is still far from being 
emotionally mature. Freedom from parental control, in terms of emotional 
attachment, is usually recognized by both parents and young adults as a 
natural step in the growing-up process. However, emotional independence 
means a certain degree of freedom from group domination as well. A 
young adult who feels lost when he is not with his particular peer group, 
or one whose decisions are dictated by his peers, is still emotionally de- 
pendent. Similarly, the husband who shifts his emotional dependence from 
mother to wife has made little progress toward emotional maturity. 

The capacity to love someone other than oneself is another integral 
factor of adult emotional independence. Excessive self-love and the in- 
i ability to give of self are not only signs of emotional immaturity but also 
of severe personality disorder. A successful marriage demands a giving 
of self, and one who is incapable of this emotional giving is going to have 
grave difficulties in adjusting to marriage [1]. 

Social. Social independence imphes primarily the acceptance of thfi. 
individual in adult society. To merit this, the individual must demon- 
strate decidedly adult traits and qualities, or despite his age, he will not 
be treated as an adult. The adoption of mature characteristics is gener- 

268 Adulthood 

ally not too diflBcult, and this criterion of social independence is rather 
easy to meet unless one strives for leadership. 

Some young adults are not satisfied with mere acceptance in an adult 
group. Having been leaders in their peer groups, they strive for positions 
of power and prestige in groups or organizations composed of older indi- 
viduals. Often their attempts are met by rebuff or overt hostility. These 
individuals must understand that in a sense they are on probation, and 
adults will not, as a rule, grant them positions of leadership imtil they 
have proved they are also good followers. 

However, this does not mean that a young adult should not try to 
contribute to the group and in that way benefit both the group and 
himself. Volunteering for some of the necessary "busy work" and per- 
forming it well will gain him the respect of the adult group along with 
a heightened feeling of achievement and confidence in his dealing with 
his seniors. | 

A decidedly more difficult task, and one that is allied to emotional 
independence, is the achievement of self-direction rather than group 
domination. The socially independent adult is inner- directed rather than 
group-controlled. His decisions and behavior flow from personal convic^ 
tions based on his own principles, values, and ideals. The group is not a 
constrictive force binding him with ties of dependency. Decisions of the 
group which run contrary to the convictions of the individual are not 
followed by an adult who has achieved social maturity. He has reached 
the point at which his feelings of personal adequacy and security are 
such that they do not need constant reinforcement, which implies de- 
pendence. Communication of one's beliefs is a part of group interaction. 

Social independence carries with it social responsibilities. To partake 
in the privileges of adult life, the individual must assume the obligations 
of an adult. Civic, religious, organizational, occupational, and educational 
areas are but a few of those in which the young adult must assume 
responsibilities and be willing to do his part. 

That many young adults are preparing for their future responsibilities 
by continuing their education through some college training is seen in 
Figure 20-1. The advantages of further training and education in our 
society are obvious, but some of the concomitant disadvantages are dis- 
cussed later in this chapter. 

Economic. Integration in adult society usually presupposes economic 
independence in terms of being able to support oneself and one's family, 
if there is one. This idea also as a rule precludes living with one's parents, 
whether or not the individual is economically self-supporting. American_ 
culture, with its emphasis on more and more schooling, makes the attain-, 
ment of economic independence difficult. Without special training, the 
number of possible occupations is severely curtailed. In order to secure 

Developmental Tasks of Early Adulthood 269 

the necessary education for a specific occupation, the individual is, in 
most cases, forced to prolong his financial dependence on his parents. 
Parents usually encourage further training and the concomitant extension 
of dependence, and their authority over their children is often extended 
into the mid- twenties. 

The young adult is faced with yet another facet of this problem. To 
continue training is, in many cases, to postpone marriage. This postpone- 
ment of marriage and family life may seem too great a sacrifice to make, 
and the individual often tries to combine the two. The result is, in most 
cases, a severe strain on the marriage relationship, or an even more pro- 
longed program of training or education because the individual is usually 
forced to take a job and relegate education to evening school. The birth 
of children complicates the already strained situation, usually to the 
detriment of education. This is not to imply that some couples cannot 
successfully combine marriage andr extended training. The fact remains, 
however, that the first years of a marriage demand from both partners 
a great deal of cooperation and concentration. Attempts to combine edu- 
cation and marriage put a great strain on both endeavors. 

Economic independence demands, along with freedom from financial 
dependence, an acceptance of financial responsibility. Young adults, 
especially in establishing a home, usually must go in debt for some neces- 
sities. The prompt payment of bills and debts demands a degree of 
maturity. Usually payment of large bills demands some self-denial in 
terms of putting off other purchases or curtailing entertainment. In- 
debtedness is often necessary, especially in securing such property as a 


Figure 20-1. College Enrollment 

1949 1951 1953 1955 1957 1959 1961 1963 1965 

(The American Association of Registrars and Admissions OflBces, 1957-1965.) 

270 Adulthood 

home or an automobile. However, chronic indebtedness is a sign of 
financial mismanagement and a symptom of personal immaturity. 


Perhaps the largest problem confronting young couples is the establish- 
ment of their homes. The economic, interpersonal, and social problems 
are many in such an undertaking. The interpersonal adjustments that 
must be made will be discussed in the next section. Other problems are 
primarily economic. Establishing a budget and adhering to it is a preva- 
lent problem. However, this may be considered as merely symptomatic 
of a deeper problem, namely, that many young couples desire at the be- 
ginning of their marriage the same standard of living their parents have 
after twenty, thirty, or more years. The distinction between luxuries and 
necessities is often obscured, and consequently many commodities are 
acquired which are not really essential. The financial outlay in such cases 
usually produces a dearth in the budget in other areas. A certain amount 
of credit or installment-plan purchasing is almost necessary. In this con- 
nection, a rule of thumb is that indebtedness, including mortgage pay- 
ments on the home, should in no event exceed 40 per cent of the yearly 
income. A realistic viewpoint regarding their desires as opposed to their 
income is a most desirable trait in a young couple. 


The marital role per se appears to involve the acceptance of another 
role, that of parenthood. A desire for children by one partner, social 
expectations for married persons to have children, and accidental preg- 
nancies are some of the factors operating in this regard. 

A young married woman is likely to entertain some imagination of 
"holding a baby in my arms," or "having someone little to love me," and 
she may want "someone helping me to spend the many hours while my 
husband is at work." The less pleasant aspects of pregnancy, childbirth, 
and many sleepless nights when the baby cries or is sick are less likely 
to come to mind or to impress her deeply at the budding stage of married 
life. Nevertheless, increasing age usually intensifies her desire to have 

Life in the family involves fundamental learning in each domain of 
living. This learning advances before and when children arrive. The de- 
mands of sharing in daily chores, conversation, and activities, thoughtful- 
ness for others, and respect for their claims and peculiarities become 
more complex with the addition of each new member to the family. It is 

Developmental Tasks of Early Adulthood 271 

impossible to discuss all possible forms of relationship and interaction 
occurring within the framework of the family. Excluding extremes, each 
family represents living in most of its forms and vicissitudes. Family life 
is a stage of further growth for each member. Even friction among 
parents and within the total constitution of the family may serve as a 
necessary "training ground" for learning mature responses and better 
ways of settling interpersonal differences. The need and opportunities 
to utilize additional potentialities are often present. This affords maximal 

Since both parents come from different familial constellations and 
often have quite different backgrounds, it is normal that they have some 
differences of opinions about the rearing of children. Their attitudes 
toward children are likely not to be the same. This constitutes a source 
of friction in their efforts to train and educate their children. Some form 
of birth control may be seen as needed, yet the method to be applied 
often produces an issue. Moreover, a significant difference of opinion 
may appear concerning the methods of discipline. Leniency by one 
parent may be counteracted by a strict adherence to certain modes of 
punishment by the other parent. Then sympathy of the first parent on 
such occasions may make a child antagonistic to the other parent. 

E. W. Burgess's and H. J. Locke's classification [6, pp. 464 ff.] of basic 
factors in marital adjustment includes personality characteristics, cultural 
backgrounds, social participation, economic status, response patterns, and 
sex desires. 


The decision to have children often involves some ignorance concern- 
ing the realities of motherhood. Unforeseeable contingencies may later 
distort the desire for motherhood even more and raise the feelings of 
rejection and hostility toward the offspring, especially if the child belongs 
to the sex other than the one desired or if he is handicapped. Since 
the appearance of tender sentiment and love is likely to occur, a mental 
conflict of considerable intensity may develop with some mothers. Thus, 
difficulties in adjusting to motherhood are not infrequent. The young 
mothers, however, have controls and stamina sufficient to overcome 
initial burdens, and begin to gain satisfaction as the child develops and 
exhibits his personality. 

With many sources as a frame of reference, including fragmentary 
recollection of their own childhood, young parents begin to associate 
their role with maintenance of the physical and emotional welfare of 
their child. Care of his physical needs involves not merely age-related 
foods and clothes but also many comforts and provision of toys for 

272 Adulthood 

activity and education of the child. Emotional welfare of the child 
encompasses many expressions of affection and empathy. Continual love 
of the child implies frequent help and sympathy in time of trouble, 
tender handling, and patience w^ith his desires and frequent whims. 

General parental attitudes toward children may be identified as in- 
difference, partial rejection, partial acceptance, and full-hearted identifi- 
cation with them. 

1. Indifference may be experienced because of difficulties in accepting 
parental role, lack of affection and psychological fusion between adult 
and child environments, and extensive pursuit of pre-parental interests. 

2. Rejection may only exceptionally be complete. Frequently it is 
partial and marked by alternating acceptance and hostile withdrawal 
into narcissistic gratifications. The ideas of children as intruders and 
added burdens may stand foremost in the parents' minds. They have to 
force themselves to accept responsibilities related to child rearing and 
education. Falling short in this, parents may shower their children with 
toys and gifts, handle them affectionately, and in many other ways com- 
pensate for their feelings of guilt. 

3. Partial acceptance is often marked by setting high standards and 
expecting children to meet them. While children appear to be part of 
the scheme of the parents' Hves and emotional identification often occurs, 
they are also seen as inadequate, misbehaving, and worthy of strict 

4. Fullhearted identification with children is marked by strong emo- 
tional ties, by disregard of the child's shortcomings, and by a belief that 
children are great challenges. Parents are ready to do anything in their 
power to promote the child's development and his welfare. 

The father's role, in addition to breadwinning, includes many kinds of 
assistance and substitution, especially in the areas of discipline. It is often 
the father who begins to feel the growing obligations, and worries about 
his competence in adequately meeting them. The father's responsibilities 
usually grow as children develop, attend schools, and become adolescents, 
while gratifications coming from children largely depend on the ade- 
quacy of their early training. This, in turn, has been substantially de- 
termined by the mother's knowledge and adequacy in infant handling. 
The mother's personality traits contribute to or disturb the total family 

A family's compatibility and ability to act as a unit is tested each time 
a vital decision has to be made. Buying a house is one of them. Husband 
and wife frequently have quite different ideas about the desired qualities 
and characteristics of a new house for their family. The presented ideas 
about its location, construction or selection, size, style, yard, garage, and 
financing all may differ in significant ways. Division of responsibilities 

Developmental Tasks of Early Adulthood 273 

and a readiness for tolerant compromises have to prevail in overcoming 
the obstacles met in one's strivings to possess a home of his selection. 

Parental approaches in rearing and attitude tend to differ in some 
ways with each child. The first-born child often undergoes "experiments 
in caring for a baby," resulting from a lack of information and experience 
in managing a child. Advice of other people is sought and followed with 
relatively little skill. Occasionally the first-bom baby is a victim of a 
parental overprotective attitude. All his needs and whims are responded to. 

Experience in dealing with the first-bom proves invaluable when the 
second child arrives. The mother often shows more confidence in herself 
and less concern about the baby. More often the second child is more 
neglected, and many of his whims and cries are disregarded. Difficulties 
with the first-born at this time are likely to arise if the second-bom gains 
too much attention. 

The third-bom is not a novelty at all unless the first two were of the 
same sex and different in sex from the third. His care is more casual and 
tension-free. Parents have learned to delimit gratification of children's 
demands. The third and the following children are likely to suffer from 
this from the very beginning. With the exception of the last-bom, they 
will remain less dependent on their parents and more affected by their 

The children in the middle are likely to show less maladjustment in 
their childhood and adolescent years than the first-born or the last-born. 
Good adjustment on the part of parents and their adequacy in dealing 
with the specific needs of each child are key factors in childhood adjust- 
ment to the demands of reality. 

In adulthood, being a member of a family typically involves sacrifices 
in personal freedom to choose what is most desired. When having a 
baby or young children, parents are restricted in their private and social 
life. While most kinds of occupational activities permit the father to 
be away for a considerable length of time, the mother is obliged to 
spend most of her time in caring for and entertaining her children. The 
present-day exclusion of grandparents from most families makes mother's 
substitution diflBcult. "Baby sitting" by someone else tends to produce 
much concern for the mother and frequently tones down her satisfactions 
considerably when she takes a "maid's night out" for a social evening 
or theater. 


A significant minority of young adults in our culture remain single. 
The reasons for this vary from individual to individual. Some enter 
the religious life, which in many cases demands celibacy. For many 

274 Adulthood 

others, the opportunity for marriage never presents itself. Some indi- 
viduals feel a responsibility to take care of their parents, especially 
if they are extremely aged or infirm, and consequently deny themselves 
possible chances of marriage. 

Despite the reasons for remaining single, the individuals who do so 
face special problems in their adjustment. Their personal adjustment is 
often difficult, owing to a feeling of aloneness, especially if they are not 
living with relatives. Socially they are somewhat out of place in gather- 
ings of married couples. Additionally they are often urged by their 
married friends to reconsider their choice. In many cases, they are the 
object of matchmaking attempts by well-meaning friends, most of whom 
fail to realize that many unmarried individuals choose to remain single. 

The opportunities for community, religious, or fraternal service as 
well as personal advancement are, in many cases, greater for single 
persons than for those with the responsibilities of a family [7]. Whether 
or not they use their free time for these activities depends on their values 
and aspirations. 


During the years of early adulthood, the individual generally comes 
to a realization regarding his personality. The unrealistic ambitions of 
adolescence have yielded to more practical goals. Self-knowledge in 
many areas is deepened by the reality testing of this period. 

Assets and liabilities have been more clearly delineated by occupa- 
tional experience, and personal qualities have been brought to the fore 
by the adjustments necessary to marriage. Planning ability has been 
tested in the reality of family finance, and the individual's ability as a 
provider is, by now, more adequately demonstrated. The interests of 
the young adult have crystallized somewhat, and his self-concept is more 
or less stabilized by this time. 

It is at this stage that the individual is presented with enviable oppor- 
tunities for self-realization. Consolidation of the gains made up to this 
point and a valid assessment of self will lead to progress in self-realiza- 
tion and enrichment. 


Toward the end of early adulthood, the individual is in a position to 
predict, rather validly, his future and to set the pattern of life accordingly. 
Plans may be made for the attainment of long-range goals, such as 
educating the children or insuring independence after retirement. The 
trial-and-error experiences of raising infants may solidify into a definite 

Developmental Tasks of Early Adulthood 275 

pattern for guidance of these individuals through childhood and adoles- 
cence. The individual's philosophy of life may be altered in the light of 
experience and in anticipation of future responsibilities. 


1. Discuss independence as it is used in this chapter in terms of dependence and 
interdependence . 

2. Explain the relationship between emotional and social independence. 

3. Discuss the problems in attaining economic independence. 

4. Explain the relationship between emotional maturity and marital adjustment. 

5. Discuss some basic factors leading to marital happiness. 

6. Discuss some major problems of the single person. 

7. Identify some desirable qualities and traits of parents. 

8. What developments in this period contribute to setting the adult pattern of life? 


I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Bee, Lawrence S. Marriage and Family Relations. New York: Harper, 1959. An 
analysis of the major factors influencing success in marriage, with emphasis on per- 
sonaHty patterns and interrelationships. 
f/2. Havighurst, Robert J. Developmental Tasks and Education. Chap. 6. New York: 
Longmans, 1952. A summary of the developmental tasks of early adulthood. 

3. Nimkoff, Meyer F. Marriage and the Family. Boston: Houghton MijB&in, 1947. 
A comprehensive evaluation of personal, psychological, social, economic, rehgious, 
and cultural variables and of their relative influence on family life. 

4. Reed, Ruth. The Single Woman. New York: Macmillan, 1942. An account of 
the problems and adjustments which face the unmarried woman, and methods of 
dealing with them. 

5. Thomas, John L. The American Catholic Family. Englewood CHffs, N.J.: 
Prentice-Hall, 1956. An evaluation of the role of the Catholic family as a member of 
a cultmral minority. 

II. Specific References 

6. Burgess, E. W., and H. J. Locke. The Family: From Institution to Companion- 
ship. (2nd ed. ) New York: American Book, 1953. 

7. Bowman, Henry A. Marriage for Moderns. (4th ed.) New York: McGraw-Hill, 



Middle and Late Adult Years 

THE MIDDLE STAGE of life commences when a person attains his peak in 
performing most obhgations and activities in which he is participating. 
It implies completion of the upward development as well as an increase 
in the forthflowing integration among motivational tendencies, abilities, 
and skills. Most types of education and training are finished before one 
enters this stage. Moreover, vocational, marital, and other experiences are 
accumulated, and the pattern of life is largely set. In accordance with 
the present-day pattern of experience, it is estimated that women enter 
this phase of life at the completion of thirty years of life, while men 
follow suit at thirty-five. The middle period of life encompasses ap- 
proximately fifteen of the most productive years of life. It gradually 
shades into the phase of late adulthood when declines are not fully 
compensated by a continual growth of diverse human potentialities. Be- 
cause such decHnes are relatively gradual and do not normally impair the 
functioning of the individual to a great extent, both the middle years and 
those prior to old age will be considered in this chapter. 

During the middle adult years, most individuals progress in extensive 
self-realization in vocational, marital, civic, and socioeconomic areas of 
living. Consolidation of previous gains also occurs at this stage. The 
intensity of experiencing life declines as compared to the adolescent 
and early adult stages of development. Since one's children are becoming 
adults, marrying, and moving away, responsibilities associated with 
child and adolescent guidance and education decline and, perhaps, 
terminate. With the increase of life expectancy, some extension of the 
middle-age span is observed. This extension and shorter working hours 
oflFer increased opportunity for self-chosen activities and personality 


Middle and Late Adult Years 277 


The adult person is continually ranked by his friends, associates, em- 
ployer, and neighbors. The status to which one is assigned largely de- 
pends on fluctuations and changes in one's social traits, personality 
structure, and appearance, as well as on his economic standing. 

By the time one reaches the middle adult y^rs, his personality has 
become quite stable and there is little room for change. Nevertheless, 
some traits which were barely noticeable earlier may now come into 
prominence. For example, the man of forty-five who suddenly volunteers 
as a scoutmaster may have had a great deal of civic interest, but had to 
delay its manifestation until his responsibilities at home and at work 
permitted. Learning and experience contribute greatly toward the con- 
solidation of previous gains by the personality structure. Some indi- 
viduals go beyond mere consolidation by exerting considerable personal 
efiFort toward optimal development of their potentialities. Throughout 
these years a noted progress in personality and self-integration may be 

Unlike the personality structure, social traits may fluctuate consider- 
ably, largely because the growth of social traits is closely related to 
gratifications coming from interaction with other individuals and groups. 
The young adult recently out of school, beginning the busy whirl of 
family life, belongs to few clubs and groups, and may barely make 
his social presence known outside his neighborhood. As the family grows 
into school age, many adults join groups related to their children's activ- 
ities, such as the scout leaders, the parent- teacher associations, and the 
band mothers. Membership in formal clubs or groups reaches its peak at 
the end of the middle adult years and slowly tapers off with the ap- 
proach of old age. Social confidence and poise tend to rise with the 
increase of friendships and the development of leadership traits. On the 
other hand, suspicion and hostility tend to arise when one lacks support 
in his personal goals or has to compete extensively with others. Interest 
and participation in civic and political affairs also rises constantly to a 
peak at about fifty years; however, unlike social traits, civic and political 
activity is maintained at a high level until very old age. 

With most persons, economic status improves throughout the middle 
adult years. This is largely due to progress in vocational standing, sen- 
iority rights, and various fringe benefits on the one hand, and to de- 
creasing capital expenses, such as buying and paying for a house or 
furnishings and providing infant and child care, on the other hand. Such 
expenditures usually burden the years of early maturity but decline at 
this age. The improving financial situation affords opportunities to ac- 
quire articles promoting the comforts of living. Some long-desired luxury 

278 Adulthood 

articles may now be secured. Personal satisfaction and a rise in social 
status often result from obtaining such finer and more comfortable items. 

Progress in occupational standing usually comes to a standstill at 
about forty if not before. This standstill curbs any noticeable further 
climbs on the economic ladder. Excluding people in certain fields of 
business, in certain professions, and in some governmental positions, 
the economic dead en^ and lack of progress in vocational performance 
is felt by a large majority of the working population. This often is a 
key factor in self -reappraisal in the late part of this stage, which will be 
elaborated in a later part of this chapter. 

A minority of less-endowed and emotionally or socially unstable adults 
continue to have employment difficulties for several reasons. Since they 
lack technical or trade knowledge, they represent the unskilled labor 
force, readily engaging in dead-end jobs and changing occupations fre- 
quently. They are plagued by intermittent layoffs or unemployment as 
automation processes and seasonal or general recessions eliminate job 
opportunities for the unskilled. Although the ranks of this category 
generally decrease with advancing age, the total percentage does not 
change much in large industrial cities at least, chiefly because of the 
present migration from the South to the North. 


The prime of life does not end abruptly upon entrance into the middle 
adult years. The body with all its organs and systems continues to func- 
tion near its optimal level throughout this phase, marked only by very 
gradual impairment which began with the early adult years. 

Man's most vital senses, vision and hearing, illustrate the above state- 
ment most clearly. From childhood the lens of the eye begins to lose its 
capacity for accommodation, but visual acuity remains much the same 
until the age of about forty when sharpness of vision quite suddenly 
declines. While the majority of people never lose the ability to hear 
low-pitched tones, the progressive loss of hearing for high-pitched tones 
continues and is clearly noticeable after forty. 

The vital organs likewise function at their optimal level during the 
twenties; thereafter their exercise is gradually impaired. Blood pressure 
slowly increases; after forty the increase may be quite sudden. The di- 
gestive and respiratory systems slowly decline with age, but usually this 
change is not apparent during the middle years. 

Most investigations have found that sexual capacity is likewise greatest 
during the twenties. For males the decline is gradual until about age 
fifty-five; on the other hand, most females have traversed the menopause 
by their fiftieth year. Changes in the male's sex glands show littie effect 

Middle and Late Adult Years 279 

upon the body's function or the individual's personality; he simply finds 
that his desire for sexual outlet decreases. For women the menopause 
can be quite upsetting. When the ovarian productivity declines, the 
total biochemical controls of the body are aflpected. Powerful psycho- 
logical reactions may be even more disbalancing. In their mid-forties, 
women frequently suflFer from marked excitability, hot flashes, sweating, 
dizziness, sensitivity to heat and cold, and other symptoms. Usually 
they become more irritable, restless, and depressed. There may be a 
noticeable decrease of self-control and feelings of adequacy. Normally 
these trying days continue for several months to a few years. Besides 
medication, forbearance and understanding from one's husband and 
close friends are most helpful in assisting the woman through her 
"change of life." Preceding the menopause, some women may strongly 
desire to have another child or may experience sexual preoccupation 
and enter into related activities in order to "make up for lost time." 

The human body is a finely adjusted complex of systems and organs 
and structures which maintain homeostasis. With age, this ability de- 
clines, and recovery from an unbalanced condition becomes more dijBB- 
cult, especially after middle age. 

Total physiological vigor and soundness of health is good throughout 
the middle adult years, but reveals a dovinward trend in later years. Both 
the rate of illness and the death rate persist at the minimal pace until the 
progressive acceleration occurs at about fifty. It is interesting to note that 
the causes of death are age-related. Accidents are the important factor 
until middle age; from that time on, degenerative conditions such as 
heart disease and cancer become increasingly prominent. 

Activities in hobbies and in interests continue to decline from their 
high level before marriage. Near the end of the middle adult years, one 
finds his leisure time lengthening considerably. During the years that 
follow, those who cultivated hobbies in their youth readily take them up 
again in a modified form to reduce physical exertion. Apparently there 
exists an urgent need for education in the use of idle time, because while 
the need for activity and exercise of one's faculties persists, a great many 
persons neglect taking up hobbies to gratify this need. 

Interests, or activities one has a "liking for" rather than participates in 
as hobbies, show definite age-related trends. Sedentary and noncompet- 
itive diversions, such as listening to music and visiting historical places 
and museums, become increasingly popular, but active competitive 
activities show a continual decline. 

Mass media of communication — radio, TV, newpapers, magazines — 
claim the largest portion of leisure time. The effect of mass media on the 
individual personality is great. There is much doubt, however, that the 
vicarious experience in the ready-made fantasy world which they provide 

280 Adulthood 

is a wholesome replacement for personal efforts which gratify basic 
human needs. 

In a world of timesaving devices, automation, and shorter working 
hours, leisure-time activities gain more prominence in supplying satis- 
faction to acquired human needs. Time-killing pastimes should be omitted 
in favor of more creative, constructive, and noncompetitive activities. This 
constitutes one of the major developmental tasks of this stage, the stage 
of preparing for the late adult years and for old age. 


During the middle adult years, parents find that their offspring are no 
longer children but adolescents and young adults. Parental guidance and 
protection is vastly altered because teen-age children find less of their 
time and activities associated with home. As the children join their 
friends and carry out responsibilities in consequent group activities, 
they gain in motivational strength leading to greater self-reliance and 
increasing independence from their parents. Many parents get into 
diflBculties with teen-agers in requesting their assistance with chores, 
such as caring for younger siblings, or in expecting them to return at a 
prescribed hour. 

Despite the problems of parents with their adolescent children, the 
presence of children at home is challenging and reassuring. Many kinds 
of enjoyment increase at the time the adolescent is approaching adult 
status. Mutual growth in understanding and appreciating each other's 
interests and activities is the key to successful cooperative efforts in 
pastimes, projects, and the resolving of situations which previously pro- 
voked conflict. The parents often regret that this phase is rather short- 
lived, because when they really begin to feel gratification with their 
offspring and begin to desire this equilibrium to continue, their chil- 
dren, having completed their education and job training, are ready to 
move away, to get married, and to establish families of their own. 

Late in the middle years and the immediate years that follow, 
the stage of "the emptying nest" commences with the marriage of 
adolescent or postadolescent children, and increasing moments of bleak- 
ness appear. Signs of the "dull residue of existence" may or may not 
appear, depending on the dominant attitudes and goals set earlier for 
the self-fulfillment of this period of life. Changing one's attitude and 
outlook must begin while the children are still in their teens. For ex- 
ample, the mother who has the ingrained attitude that her children des- 
perately need her assistance enters this stage with much anxiety. 

Again, the father who has forced his son to depend upon him for all 
his material needs may enter this stage with regrets that his son fails 

Middle and Late Adult Years 281 

to live up to expectations. Frequently the development of new or modi- 
fied attitudes is not sufficient for the middle-aged or older adults trying to 
adjust to an empty home. By increasing one's activity in organizations and 
clubs, and by greater participation in civic responsibilities, one may 
help himself to gain added maturity to face the problems peculiar to this 
stage. Also, the discovery of new satisfactions in expanding the comforts 
and aesthetics of the home, in closer relationship to one's spouse and 
other relatives, in enjoying freedom of the week ends for social visits, 
hobbies, and travel — all will contribute to adjustment and also to enjoy- 
ment of this phase of life. 


When a person begins to notice his diflBculties in making progress at 
work or a hobby, or that his attempts to learn something new are less 
eflBcacious, and, especially, that some declines are quite obvious, self- 
concern of a considerable intensity appears. Even a decrease of gratifi- 
cation in the usual recreational or social activities adds its share of con- 
cern. Any excessive expenditure of energy begins to be marked by a 
lesser return. Such experiences readily offer an idea that one is growing 

The already anxious person magnifies incipient signs of old age and 
even invents some new ones. Time and again a middle-age disease or 
ailment and the following convalescence offer some free time for the 
purpose of self-reappraisal. Anxiety may be intensified when the idea 
finds subjective support that one is losing some of his most appreciated 
qualities and abilities. Sexual capacity and appeal is one of them. Mem- 
ory and the ability to learn are frequently others. Emotional ambiv- 
alence and oscillation, remindful of turmoils during early adolescence, 
may appear and lead to the second major crisis in the person's life. Deep 
philosophical and religious questions pertaining to the meaning of life 
and to the value of one's goals pursued during adulthood cry for an- 
swers; failure to resolve these problems can boost anxiety to disturbing 
levels. If routine activities lose their motivational strength because they 
seem purposeless, one may resort to neurotic self-defenses, such as with- 
drawal or depression, or attempts to engage in experiences which had 
much personal meaning earlier. 

Throughout childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, the indi- 
vidual feels he is in the process of becoming what he wants or what he 
has to be. Usually through the thirties, he continues to advance his status 
or improve his self-concept in some respects at least. He labors and 
expects "a break" to his advantage in realizing his personal aspirations. 
At about forty, many realize they are merely "holding their own" or 

282 Adulthood 

actually losing ground, long before their aspired ambitions are material- 

The reevaluative step at this age often favors self-justification and 
placing the blame on closely related persons and circumstances. A hus- I 
band blames his wife for unsatisfactory support in his strivings toward 
goals, while the wife spots many inadequacies of her husband in her 
attempts to safeguard her integrity. Statistics show that in the period 
1950 to 1958 one in every ten marriages broke up after the twentieth 
year of marriage. 

For the majority of adults, the early forties are the years of "retesting 
and realignment" for at least a belated achievement of selected life goals. 
New attempts at vocational improvement and marital reintegration usu- 
ally encounter obstacles. After two or three years of trial, the middle- 
aged person feels forced to make a final estimation pertaining to his 
present level of success. Not many come to positive statements and see 
meaning in their renewed effort. Many recognize that they continue to 
fall short of their still-optimistic aspirations. Some of them show inability 
to reconcile themselves to the lack of appreciable gains. Blaming of 
self and others may reach neurotic or, in a minority, psychotic dimen- 
sions. Some react by escaping into alcoholism or paranoiac hostility. 
Attempts to destroy obstacles and enforce success often lead to adult 
delinquency. Not many are fortunate enough to change goals in terms 
of their ability or to acknowledge failure in a stoic attitude. Frequently 
compensation is sought through association with the more fortunate 
ones or by means of pressing their children to raise the family status. 

As the middle and late adult years merge, one has fewer and fewer 
opportunities for self-assertion. This is a key psychological factor, prompt- 
ing feelings of inadequacy and anxiety. If a person cannot balance himself 
to meet this problem, he may react by demanding exceptional performance 
from others, including those under his supervision. New interpersonal con- 
flicts arise to increase tension and make the situation unbearable. Temper 
outbursts remindful of early years of childhood occur. Dread of sexual 
decline aggravates the problem. One becomes more entangled if com- 
plications arise out of previously ignored problems. As a result, symp- 
tomatic relief may be sought and a delayed neurotic pattern may take 

To many persons, the period of self-reevaluation is a temporary up- 
heaval. The futility of such outbursts and depression is recognized, and 
renewed attempts to regain control over oneself and external situations 
lead to a gradual stabilization and readjustment long before the stage 

Among the very helpful sources for the understanding of the conflicts 
and adjustments at this middle phase of adult life, E. Bergler's The Re- 

Middle and Late Adult Years 283 

volt of the Middle-aged Man [4] and R. J. Havighurst and R. Albrecht's 
Older People [2] may be selected. 


Some drives and urges which have been satisfactorily controlled dur- 
ing adulthood may now reappear with new strength and a high frequency. 
An analysis will show a relationship to puberal and adolescent drives 
and impulses, many of them sexual in nature. The earlier inhibited tend- 
encies apparently existed in the subconscious, and because they re- 
mained unsublimated, their vitality accumulated through formation of 
complexes involving related urges. 

An Apollonian, or intellectually ordered and tempered, way of life 
may give way to Dionysian expressiveness and disregard of the moderate 
and conventional. Older men entertaining and dancing with adolescent 
girls or dealing in sex magazines are examples of such behavior. With age 
creeping up on him, a person may feel urged to engage in sexual and 
related gratifications before it is too late. Oral gratifications may be 
excessively sought after, and return to masturbation may also occur. This 
is more likely to happen to individuals whose maturity and personality 
integration were never completed processes. Adequate character forma- 
tion and implicit philosophies of life are powerful deterrents to such 
attempts at recapturing youth or returning to immature modes of 

Development of character enables a person to control such drives and 
urges, while a proper Weltanschauung assists the person in directing 
his energies toward constructive and universally more accepted channels 
of activity and self-application. Activities motivated by integrated char- 
acter traits tend to bring ego satisfactions to a much larger extent than 
mere behavioral discharges of drives and impulses. For this reason, 
gratifications gained by altruistic, religious, and related activities are 
deeply satisfying to human nature and contribute much to the preserva- 
tion of general welfare and, particularly, to mental health. 


A program of objective self-examination will typically show many 
beginnings of decline, slow and barely noticeable in the early part of 
middle adult years yet continually increasing as the stage advances. 
There is a moderate decrease of psychomotor speed and strength. The 
biochemical equilibrium is in some cases disturbed by middle-age dis- 
eases, such as kidney and bile stones and respiratory or circulatory diffi- 
culties. If menial, mine, or factory-line work has been engaged in 

284 Adulthood 

throughout the adult years, old-age signs now begin to appear prema- 
turely in many such persons. General organismic decline becomes 
conspicuous toward the end of the phase. D. Wechsler's evaluation [9, 
p. 206] points to gradual but significant declines of brain weight and to 
a lesser degree of intelligence-test scores as the increase of age contin- 

Mental decline is usually more gradual than physical decline, while 
personality deterioration is rather exceptional in this phase. Occasionally 
some gains may be observed, especially among professional categories. 
Wherever vocational specialization and progress are possible, mo- 
rale is easily maintained. A high level of self-realization is then made 
an actuality. Mental health and alertness may be preserved by the labor 
population by taking advantage of indirect compensation. Through 
diversified interests and hobbies, the range of achievement may be con- 
siderably expanded and other than vocational gratifications secured. 
Premiums on seniority are another factor in added satisfaction given the 
increasing age of the factory working groups. 

Decline in the social dimensions of the individual presents a vivid 
contrast to the decline in the various other dimensions considered. In 
a survey study of social life of American adults, R. J. Havighurst [7] 
found by means of interviewing 234 persons in greater Kansas City 


Figure 21-1. 






through the 

Human Life 


/ / 





(society A) 

/ / 

/ / 
/ / 

/ / 
/ / 
/ / 



\ N 
X N^ 
\ \ 

(society B) 

/ / 


' Structure 

/ / 

/ / 





20 40 60 80 

(Robert J. Havighurst. The Social Function of Middle-aged People. 
Genet. Psychol Monogr., 1957, 56, 297-375, fig. on p. 345. By per- 
mission. ) 

Society A: one giving high status to older people and opportunity 
to continue their social functioning under favorable circumstances. 

Society B: one marked as "youth-oriented society," which de- 
valuates middle and old age. 

Middle and Late Adult Years 285 

(Kansas and Missouri) that social function and competence in the period 
from forty to seventy is a plateau period with a slight decrease toward 
the later years. Figure 21-1 presents his hypothetical curve of biological 
equipment and social functioning in two forms of society. 

One of the most efficient ways of compensating decline is maintaining 
awareness of developmental tasks of this stage of life and engagement 
in pertinent activities. Appreciable satisfactions are bound to result from 
goalful and age-related activities, supplementing and superseding the 
more energy-consuming activities of the earlier stages of life. The follow- 
ing section is a list of tasks related to the developmental level of middle- 
aged people. 


1. Helping growing and grown-up children to become responsible and 
socially integrated adults. 

— Freeing their time for social and recreational opportunities by taking 
care of their little children. Much enjoyment may result from such 

— Encouraging grown children in civic activities and supporting them 
when they need it. 

— Developing mutually supportive relationships with grown chil- 
dren's and friends' families and with aging parents. 

2. Developing new satisfactions with one's spouse. 

— Exploring new hobbies, club activities, and community projects. 

— Expressing appreciation for one's spouse in his attempts and 

— Sharing his feelings and thoughts, aspirations and disappointments. 

3. Creating a pleasant, comfortable, and aesthetically ordered home 
and yard. 

— Acquiring household facilities for comfort and ease of upkeep. 
— Remodeling and decorating in terms of family's interests and values. 
— Assuming responsibilities related to entertainment of members of 
the extended family and old and new friends. 

4. Increasing social and civic activities. 

— Keeping informed about civic aflFairs, national and international 

— Exercising cooperativeness with others and groups in the promotion 

of religious and cultural ideals. 
— Taking an active part in several church and civic organizations. 

* In this section we draw heavily on an excellent presentation of developmental 
tasks for fathers and mothers by Evelyn M. Duvall in Family Development [1, pp. 

286 Adulthood 

5. Finding new occupational satisfactions. 

— ^^Coming to terms with one's degree of success, and working with 
lesser tension and increased experience. 

— Contributing to the success of others by timely advice and assist- 

— Letting younger persons take over some areas of responsibility with- 
out threat to self-respect or status; planning for one's eventual re- 
tirement constructively. 

6. Making satisfying and creative use of increased leisure time. 

— Enjoying a chance to engage in activities for which time was un- 
available before. 

— Sharing leisure-time activities with spouse and friends. 

— Balancing recreational activities in terms of activity and passivity, 
society and privacy, self-indulgence and service motivation. 
7. Accepting and adjusting to the physical and mental changes of the 
middle years. 

— Getting regular medical and dental examinations; using glasses, 
hearing and other aids when prescribed. 

— Maintaining physical exercise programs appropriate to age and 

— Observing adequacy of diet and appropriate appearance; restricting 
tobacco and alcohol consumption. 

— Accepting normal age changes without undue concern about gray- 
ing, or balding, complexion and skin, or decreased availability of 

— Increasing records and order to balance decreasing power of mem- 

— Maintaining interest variability with emphasis on the intellectual 
and religious phases of life. 

— Making use of modern counseling and psychotherapy before prob- 
lems, worries, or depression produces severe detrimental effects 
on personality integration. 

— ReaflBrming moral and religious values of life and engaging in re- 
lated practices which have real and transcendent meaning. 


In some fields one can continue to specialize and climb in his occu- 
pational status, but for most people personality and character are the 
only vital growth components at this stage of life. 

Some changes in attitudes result from self-reappraisal when one ad- 
mits the impossibility of regaining youthfulness with its intense gratifi- 
cations. Identification with developmental tasks of this phase of life may 
gain strength and lead to some fruitful advances in orienting oneself 

Middle and Late Adult Years 287 

toward several constructive channels left at one's disposal. Increased 
perspective and a capacity for detached appraisal and calm enterprise 
with calculation of each step permit success in many social and business 

While apathy erodes the personality structure, a certain degree of 
emotional detachment is helpful because it gives opportunity for a more 
objective approach in life with a lesser ego involvement and fewer deep 
conflicts and worries. Routine activities retain significance if they are 
better attuned to the hierarchy of lasting values. Past experience may 
serve as a guide toward wisdom in various undertakings. Regaining of 
mental peace and internal stability may be the most appreciated achieve- 
ments of a lifetime. 

The social expectation of a final settlement reinforces the need for a 
more permanent moderation and balance, for an assertion of a scale 
of values. The natural tendency toward lesser flexibility assists in de- 
velopment of a preponderant reliance on rational judgment and moral 
principles. Therefore, a higher consistency of character traits is a fre- 
quent outcome of earlier oscillations and search for something of a last- 
ing value. 

The mature person in his forties should conclude that life will not 
continue to be a supercharged carrousel; he will not be able to recover 
so effectively from mistakes caused by spontaneity and impetuosity. He 
more carefully integrates his behavior, becoming more steadfast to his 
cherished principles and ideals. Before a person enters the late adult 
years, a certain degree of rigidity is often attained. As a result, a general 
reliance on the habitual begins to expand into various behavior-organiz- 
ing forces. This tends to promote the order and consistency of behavior 
and conduct by which late adult years are frequently marked. 


I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Duvall, Evelyn M. Family Development. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1957, A 
comprehensive and well-written source on the expanding and contracting families 
of the present; stresses dynamic interactions among family members and family tasks. 

2. Havighurst, Robert J., and R. Albrecht. Older People. New York: Longmans, 
1953. A good text on middle-aged persons, their status and tasks, and factors afiFect- 
ing them. 

3. Thomas, John L. The Family Clinic. Westminster, Md.: Newman Press, 
1958. A collection of practical questions and answers on husband-wife-child relation- 
ships, authority, child education, and related topics. 

II. Specific References 

4. Bergler, E. The Revolt of the Middle-aged Man. New York: Wyn, 1954. 

5. Burkhart, Roy A. The Freedom to Become Yourself. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: 
Prentice-Hall, 1956. 

288 Adulthood 

6. Clemens, Alphonse H. Marriage and the Family. Englewood Cliffs N T * Pren- 
tice-Hall, 1957. ' 

7. Havighurst, R. J. Social Function of Middle-aged People. Genet. Psych 
Monogr. 1957, 56, 297-375. 

8. Lehman, H. C. Age and Achievement. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University 
Press, 1953. ^ 

9. Wechsler, David. The Measurement and Appraisal of Adult Intelligence. Balti- 
more: Williams & Wilkins, 1958. 




THIS SECTION presents developments and declines occurring during 
the years of old age. The present trend toward increasing life 
expectancy permits a large number of individuals to reach late adult 
years and to grow old. As a result, the percentage of older people in the 
population is steadily increasing. The following chapters consider the 
deterioration of various abilities and the limitation of activities that 
mark senescence. Problems of adjustment of an old person multiply, 
his particular needs intensify; yet ingenuity and wisdom are often ad- 
vanced to make the final stages of life balanced and gratifying to the 
individual and to society as well. 



Biological and Mental Changes 

LATER PERIODS of life are chiefly marked by a decline in most 
constituents and traits of the person. The onset and rate of deterioration 
varies, however, from one organic system to another, from one person to 
another, and from one culture to another. The sequence depends upon 
many factors, especially hereditary endowment and specific past ex- 
periences, such as illnesses and injuries. The process of aging is closely 
related to personal and social adjustment during the years of adulthood. 
Satisfactory adjustment in adulthood promotes the integration and 
maturity which aid in maintaining health and the characteristics of mid- 
dle age. 

The time of onset of old age is difiicult to define. Some persons reveal 
decided traits as early as forty; others appear still "young" at seventy. 
Just as no single criterion can be employed to delineate adolescence 
and adulthood, no decisive criterion can be given for the onset of old 
age. Individual variation is great indeed within each community and 
nation. Generally the mentally deficient, those with borderline deficiency, 
and physically handicapped individuals deteriorate early, and often at a 
fast rate. At the age of thirty or even earlier, defectives begin to exhibit 
signs of old age. Their life expectancy is very low. On the other hand, 
many well-endowed persons seem to be capable of resisting the oncom- 
ing process of decline up to sixty and seventy. Although the spry old 
person is in a much better physical condition than most persons who 
are several years younger, he is not so strong or vigorous as he was 
earlier, though he still manages to maintain a youthful attitude. The 
average person takes the middle ground. He begins to deteriorate earlier 
than the well-endowed person, yet his rate of decline is moderate. Ulti- 


292 Late Stages of Life 

mately each individual has his own rate and pattern of aging, largely 
similar to many others yet always distinct in some traits and features [6]. 


A distinction between senescence and senility may be clarified at 
this point. Senescence is a period of life somewhat arbitrarily identified 
by the chronological age of a person. The age of sixty-five or seventy 
may now be held as a landmark introducing this last stage of life. Re- 
tirement also points to this phase of life. Any marked deterioration of 
biological or mental powers or of acquired skills is not implied. Preserva- 
tion of many adult qualities and traits is frequent. Lesser activity and 
poorer self-application are usually implied. 

Senility, on the other hand, although closely allied to senescence, im- 
plies a considerable loss. The preservation of adult characteristics is 
partial and infrequent. Senility is closely associated with a considerable 
loss of physical and mental functions, whether it happens in old age 
or prematurely. Impairments of brain tissues and motor coordination, 
irritabihty, considerable loss of memory and of self-control are typical 
signs of senility rather than of old age. 

Generally the period of old age is one of widespread and often drastic 
change. Possibly only the years of early adolescence ofiFer a comparable 
challenge to the self of the individual. As in adolescence, the late years 
of life are characterized by physical, social, and emotional upheavals. 
But, as in the early years, proper preparation for such changes can pre- 
vent them from being stressful and disruptive. Indeed, the late years 
can be ones of considerable tranquility and happiness. 

As a person notices impairment of sense organs, lack of usual energy 
and speed, change in quantity and color of hair, and decline in sexual 
potency, all combined into any of many possible patterns, he cannot be 
but impressed by the fact of his own aging. As a result, he thinks about 
the role of an old person and gradually makes adjustments to it. Social 
expectation and cultural pressure act together, forcing an adaptation 
to a new mode of life often before the personal need exists or the time 


Fundamentally, biological aging is marked by a lowering metabolic 
rate which slows down energy exchange within the organism. Hence, 
its resources for behavioral self-expression are gradually curtailed. En- 
ergy, when overused, is not fully recovered. The person loses powers 

Biological and Mental Changes 293 

by vivid exertion in prolonged activity. There is always a gradual de- 
crease of brain weight. The general health situation becomes precarious. 
Heart, kidney, bile, genito-urinary disturbances and other ailments are 
more frequent. Any injuries or wounds inflicted heal at a much slower 
rate than before. Sense receptivity becomes less e£Bcient; difficulties with 
vision and audition are more frequent and severe. 

During the late adult years, biological aging is a gradual debilitating 
process. It is also a process which cannot be stopped or reversed. 
Practically all bodily systems deteriorate in both their struc- 
tural and functional efficiency. Functional abilities chiefly depend upon 
the circulatory system, which supplies the total organism with oxygen, 
fluids, and nutrition. The walls of blood vessels — arteries, veins, and 
capillaries alike — harden and narrow as the adult age advances. This, 
in turn, interferes with the optimal circulation of the blood. The harden- 
ing of the capillaries in particular disturbs the nutritional supply of 
various bodily systems and organs, including the central nervous system. 
The decreasing supply starts gradual muscular and tissue atrophy which, 
in turn, produces a loss of weight, immunity, and strength of some very 
vital organs, such as the brain, lungs, and heart. When the heart loses 
weight, the blood pressure mounts. At a certain stage of this process, a 
physiological insufficiency of the heart results. Physical work easily 
strains the circulatory system. Climbing several stairs increases the heart- 
beat and oxygen demand considerably. Any continuation of such action 
will disturb the organic equilibrium. While the amount of oxygen used 
is an indication of bodily strength, an older person soon demands more 
frequent periods of rest which decreases oxygen exchange. The over-all 
utilization of oxygen moves down with the advancing years. The lung 
capacity decreases rather rapidly. At the age of sixty its capacity is only 
one-half of its capacity at approximately twenty-five to thirty years. 

A lesser use of calories is another sign of organismic aging and points 
to a lesser work capacity. Clinical experience indicates that biological 
aging can be slowed down by athletic activities. Continuing moderate 
and regular physical exercises throughout the years of adulthood may 
decrease the degenerative processes and help to preserve organic struc- 
tures and physical well-being for several years as well as raise life ex- 
pectancy appreciably. 

Sensorimotor coordination gradually becomes less balanced. Response 
time increases, some movements become awkward; speed and graceful- 
ness, when necessary, are difficult to attempt or not possible at all. 
Therefore, accident proneness is magnified. Personal appearance often 
loses its previous poise. 

Every physical impairment or limitation may produce profound 
changes in the personality of the individual. Some of these modifications 

294 Late Stages of Life 

are a direct result of the physiological functioning, for example, the 
memory losses following certain arterial disturbances. Other psychologi- 
cal alterations, however, represent more remote aftereffects of physical 

It is noteworthy that a person functions, not in terms of the strongest 
systems of his organism, but in terms of the weakest links in his bodily 
structure. Usually one vital organ or system "wears out" early in com- 
parison to other physiological systems. Consequently, illness or even 
death results from such an impairment. Forces maintaining life are 
only as strong as their weakest vital component. Whenever a vital 
link "breaks," the resulting stress leads to death. When the old person 
engages in strenuous exercise of any kind, he has to take this principle 
into consideration [10, pp. 274 ff. and 299 ff.]. 

One major change resulting from physical impairment is the gradual 
restriction of the individual's environment. In infancy and childhood, 
a major contribution to psychological development was the increasing 
ability to go outside one's immediate surroundings. Now the trend is 
typically reversed. Gradual changes in vision reduce the degree to which 
the person can depend upon the written word for knowledge of the out- 
side world. Auditory loss likewise reduces the effectiveness of verbal 
communication. Losses of motor strength and coordination similarly 
reduce the individual's ability to travel from place to place. Even with 
the automobile, which so greatly facilitates one's contact with distant 
persons and places, a gradual restriction is present. Visual deficiencies, 
increased reaction time and reduced coordination, and liability to in- 
creased fatigue all contribute not only to a loss of mobility but also to 
serious consequences for personal adjustment. 


Decline of immediate memory advances at a noticeable rate. Its role 
is then in part taken by imagination, a condition which leads to many 
confabulations, especially in attempts to report recent past events. 
Memory for remote events holds fairly well. This makes a person rely 
on his remote rather than immediate experience. Failing memory and a 
decrease of perspective are two key factors in delimiting general orienta- 
tion in dealing with time and space factors. Time appears to pass at a 
much faster rate, and the old person has diEBculties in adjusting to con- 
sequent inevitable change. As an old person forgets the names of streets, 
buildings, and their appearance, he at times may feel strange even in 
familiar surroundings. 

Despite his accumulation of experience, an older person gets lower 
scores on intelligence tests, indicating a decline of his higher functions 
and performances. In order to preserve the IQ constancy, its computa- 

Biological and Mental Changes 295 

tion is usually statistically adjusted to the normal rate of decline of 
mental abilities in adult and later years of life. The narrowing mental 
alertness barely permits the production or even acceptance of any new 
ideas and ventures. Considering alternatives becomes difficult. Creative- 
ness, if developed and practiced, also declines at about the same rate as 
intellectual abilities do. 

In vocational activity, an older person usually maintains his efficiency 
yet fails to progress. By the early sixties, many individuals begin to show 
some inadequacies in performing their accustomed work, and to do it 
tires them quickly. Retirement set arbitrarily at a particular age 
usually does little justice to those individuals whose capacity to perform 
is still high. Lack of proper recreational facilities for retired people is 
one of the major factors in eliciting feelings of inadequacy and depres- 
sion. If experience is given no outlet for application, the resulting feeling 
of being incapable for service is detrimental to one's security and status. 
Psychological effects of "empty time" are damaging to many but es- 
pecially to those who lack a variety of interests and hobbies to substitute 
for employment. 

Although the amplitude of emotional experience and the control over 
feelings and emotions decrease to a great extent, emotional sensitivity 
does not. As a result, affective irritability rises sharply and emotionally 
toned discontentments are frequent. Tendencies to rationalize and to 
blame others by projecting are now two frequent means of self-defense. 

Lesser engagement in social activities is often due to fewer satisfac- 
tions from such interaction. Difficulty in focusing sufficient attention and 
lack of information concerning present-day events are two factors con- 
tributing toward decline in interpersonal communication. Relationships 
with younger generations are often disturbed because of a conservative 
attitude and a resultant difficulty in approving new trends, fashions, and 
manners. Frequent attempts at domination are strenuously objected to 
by young people, who usually prefer using their own minds to relying 
on an elder's advice. The frequent withdrawal of old people does not 
help them to live harmoniously with themselves or others. 

Old age is related to considerable changes in physical appearance. 
Normal physiological changes occurring within the body are expressed 
through biological necessity by a variety of surface signs. Loss of hair 
and change of its color to white, foldings of the facial skin, "old-age 
spread" and the "dowager's hump" are some of the easily observed 
senescent features. Accumulation of fat, especially in the abdominal re- 
gion, and a general increase of weight are also related to intensified 
aging. Middle-age diseases may speed up this process beyond biological 
necessity. Generally much depends on the pattern of living and adjust- 
ment to the stressful situations and events developed throughout the pe- 
riods of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood [7]. 

296 Late Stages of Life 

When a normal pattern of living and adjusting has been established 
and practiced, the aging process proceeds somewhat smoothly with 
little distress and anxiety; a person is often ready to accept aging and 
to make the best possible adjustments to it. If, on the other hand, emo- 
tional upsets have been frequent and self-defenses by projecting and 
rationalizing intense, these inadequate modes of reacting usually be- 
come magnified in late years of adulthood and senescence. At the meno- 
pause and through the climacteric changes, moods and other vivid 
emotional oscillations play a contributing role in the strain and stress. 
Adolescent maladjustments to the self or others are often reactivated. 
Since there is almost no change in erotic excitability, decreased self- 
control permits vivid symptomatic behavior. Earlier disguised attitudes 
of selfishness and superiority tend to become more marked, and are fre- 
quently exhibited by oldsters. A desire to be respected and honored 
by others is a raw form of self-aggrandizement. Persons who do not de- 
velop healthy control and sublimation within the earlier years of adult- 
hood are likely to crave for oral gratifications at the time of aging. Since 
affectional needs are less often satisfied at this age, compensation by ex- 
cessive eating is rather frequent. Constant complaining about related 
younger people and health and finding faults in others are other fre- 
quent modes of compensating. Boasting about past achievements in order 
to find reassurance is typical. These and related problems of many old 
persons make this stage of life appear as another period of crisis, 
comparable to puberty. In a significant minority of cases, this 
second turning point in life is accompanied by psychosomatic dis- 
turbances and, to a lesser extent, by presenile psychotic outbreaks. The 
frequent tendency to emphasize minor injuries and symptoms seems to 
serve several purposes: it provides an excuse from unpleasant obliga- 
tions, it justifies the egocentric demands, and it brings indulgence and 
solicitude from others. The tendency to hold on to life somewhat cor- 
rects this despairing situation. Reactionary and conservative attitudes 
come into prominence as psychological flexibility and a readiness to ex- 
periment decline. Unfavorable experiences of the past make an older 
person tenaciously thoughtful and cautious. Anxiety, worry, and sensi- 
tivity to dangers greatly enhance reservations and withdrawal from 
challenging activities [9, pp. 62-64]. 

Old age is related to the increase of leisure time. When children 
marry and leave parents and, especially, when retirement comes, the 
remaining energy has to be directed toward previously neglected and 
new activities. Neglected potentials may now be developed and used. 
One should not feel it is too late to start something new. Old age is a 
satisfactory time for artistic and intellectual pursuits. Writing, drawing, 
painting, and a variety of craft work are good means to engage energy 

Biological and Mental Changes 297 

and find enjoyment. Church, charitable, and civic activities, genuine con- 
cern about others, and conversational entertainment are usually grati- 
fying engagements at this age. Active participation in some individual 
and group activities is of crucial psychological significance in terms of 
self-esteem and a sense of belongingness. The practically lifelong urge 
for rendering services is still in existence. It is advantageous to the old 
person to have opportunities of serving or assisting others [2]. 

Lifelong emotional reactivity patterns, attitudes, and sentiments re- 
lated to values and various spheres of living are keys to the kind of emo- 
tional disturbance to which one is liable at this phase of life. Adjust- 
ment difficulties at the adult level tend to intensify significantly at a 
later age [7]. 

Most of the fundamental needs are now more intensely felt than 
earlier. AfiFection and love, recognition and respect, security and self- 
worth — all are vividly experienced by an aging person. Most of them 
find some difficulties in gaining gratification of these needs. Unduly 
high demands on the part of old persons are not infrequent. 


Changes in personality structure and organization encompass prac- 
tically all of its dimensions. The usual decrease in motivational strength 
is linked with a narrowing range of interests and activities. Lesser grati- 
fications result from poorer performance in most fields of endeavor. As 
powers decline, some interests, habits, and attitudes disintegrate too. 
A general decrease of flexibility and capacity to learn is directly related 
to the increase of rigidity and fixation. A desire to preserve an adult 
level of functioning is often felt but is usually unsuccessful. Many self- 
expressive activities, including speech and conversational skills, begin 
to evidence more obvious deficiencies than before. Redundancy of 
earlier and more satisfactory experiences preoccupies the old person 
in his conversation with others. Self-repetition and habituation to routine 
activities increase at a considerable rate. 

Success in preserving integration of personality and its operative 
traits shows widespread individual differences related to former per- 
sonality development. Individuals who acquired an attitude marked by a 
desire to learn whenever opportunities of learning existed now earn high 
dividends. So do those who faced reality in all of its dimensions through- 
out the stages of development, and in adulthood have acquired the 
needed reservoir of abilities, interests, and skills to cope with the emerg- 
ing problems and novel situations. Their functional level of self-ex- 
pression is consistent with their endowments and, as a result, many grati- 
fying experiences of self-actualization result. Such experiences inflate the 
ego and facilitate readjustment to the old-age status. Lacking confficts 

298 Late Stages of Life 

and disillusionments, such individuals preserve personality integration 
during their advancing years. 

Many others, owing to unfavorable parental and other social in- 
fluences or through a lack of personal effort, acquired little knowledge 
in the complex art of living. They failed to develop their endowments, 
and internally remained in either an acute or a dormant conflict situa- 
tion. As a result, through ages and stages an integrated personality func- 
tioning was practically nonexistent. In such cases, personality disintegra- 
tion takes hold early and leads to pervasive results. Early senility is then 
a frequent result, appearing in later years of adulthood or early in old 
age. i 

Mental health after decline cannot be substantially improved during' 
the late stages of life. Experts in psychotherapy agree on a poor response 
to counseling and psychotherapy after approximately forty-five years of 
age. Hypochondria, presenile psychoses, and a general senile dementia 
are acquired by a significant minority of older adults and old persons. 
Apparently they failed to deal successfully with moderate and severe 
conflicts and problems during their twenties and later and became liable 
to mental disorders. 


I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Anderson, John E., (Ed.) Psychological Aspects of Aging. Washington, D.C.: 
American Psychological Association, 1956. Research possibilities analyzed imder the 
auspices of the Committee on Research, Division of Maturity and Old Age, Ameri- 
can Psychologcal Association, in Bethesda, Md., Apr. 24-27, 1955. 

2. Donahue, Wilma, et al. (Eds.) Free Time: Challenge to Later Maturity. Ann 
Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press, 1958. Twelve chapters, each by a differ- 
ent author, deal chiefly with uses of the free time and old-age adjustment. 

3. Drake, J. T. The Aged in American Society. New York: Ronald, 1958. A large 
source on the status and implications of old age. 

4. Shock, N. W. Trends in Gerontology. (2nd ed.) Stanford, Calif.: Stanford 
University Press, 1957. A general source on old-age changes and adjustments. 

5. Welford, A. T. Aging and Human Skill. New York: Oxford, 1958. The final 
report of the Nuffield Unit for Research into Problems of Aging active in Cambridge, 
1946-1956. Various performances are appraised from early adulthood to the seventies. 

II. Specific References 

6. Frank, Lawrence K. Gerontology. /. Geront., 1946, 1, 1-12. 

7. Gilbert, Jeanne G. Understanding Old Age. New York: Ronald, 1952. 

8. Montague, M. F. A. Direction of Human Development. New York: Harper, 

9. PoUak, Otto, and Glen Heathers. Social Adjustment in Old Age. Social Science 
Research Council, Bulletin No. 59, New York, 1948. 

10. Selye, Hans. The Stress of Life. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1956. 

11. Watson, R. I. The Personality of the Aged: A Review. /. Geront., 1954, 9, 



Senescent Self-concept 
Needs, and Problems 

WITH THE GRADUAL physical and mental changes characteristic of the 
later years of life, certain personality modifications are virtually in- 
evitable. The entire concept that the individual has of himself under- 
goes change. Personal needs are modified, as are the opportunities and 
available modes of satisfying such needs. In addition, the person's 
role in society is altered. With all this, new and varied adjustments and 
problems are inescapable. Obviously then, this is a period duriug which 
the individual is called upon to enlist the resources he has developed 
during the preceding decades. Moreover, it is a period during which the 
sympathetic understanding of society is greatly needed. 


As indicated in the previous chapter, the later years of life are char- 
acterized by a general decline of the biological systems of the organism. 
Despite the fact that wide individual differences in the rate and amount 
of deterioration exist, the appearance of physical impairment is inevi- 
table. Witness the fact that visual and auditory defects become in- 
creasingly prevalent. Reaction time, strength, and endurance all mani- 
fest the aging process of the body. The incidence of illnesses and acci- 
dents, together with the reduction of recuperative powers, likewise 
points to the fact that biologically the organism is ever approaching 
death. Psychologically, these symptoms of aging are significant in them- 
selves and, more particularly, in the effect they have upon the personality 
and behavior of die individual. 


300 Late Stages of Life 

The dependence of mental and emotional functions on the integrity of 
the neurological and chemical systems of the body is well established. 
Any gross change in these systems as a result of disease or injury is 
automatically reflected in the behavior of the individual. Equally im- 
portant, however, are the personality and behavioral changes which 
reflect the individual's reaction to his physical condition. Such *'so- 
matopsychological" changes, as Barker et al. [2] have termed them, 
may be just as significant as those biologically induced. Moreover, 
such changes occur even in the absence of serious, disabling physical 

With the appearance of the physical symptoms of old age the individ- 
ual's concept of himself undergoes a restructuring process. Just as the 
bodily changes occurring with the onset of puberty forced the adolescent 
to revise his view of himself, so too the older person must alter the 
picture he has of himself. Sooner or later he must accept the fact that he 
is no longer the robust, healthy individual he was in earlier years. No 
longer is he capable of many activities which previously were part of 
his daily living. Increasingly he must protect his general well-being. 
Even when good health is maintained, the gradual reassessment of 
abilities and limitations and the awareness of potential dangers seems 
unavoidable if for no other reason than the fact that friends and peers 
are beset by physical ailments. 

The gradual reorganization of the self-concept is not merely normal 
and natural but wholly desirable. Inasmuch as man's behavior is largely 
a reflection of how he perceives himself in relation to his surroundings, 
it is imperative that he have a realistic view of himself. The individual 
who refuses to accept the fact that he no longer is the capable person he 
once was is obviously rejecting reality. To the extent that his concept 
of himself fails to correspond to reality, he will be inadequate. The 
same problem arises, of course, in the case of the individual who exag- 
gerates the physical changes he perceives in himself — the person who re- 
gards himself as completely limited, inadequate, and dependent upon 

In addition to the rather direct impact that physical changes have 
on the personality of the individual, be he young or old, other effects 
may be noted. One subtle effect is the gradual restriction of experiences 
and intellectual stimulation. In early childhood, the acquisition of 
motility, spoken language, and reading skills meant the enlargement of 
the child's psychological world. More and more he was capable of reach- 
ing beyond his immediate environment to experience and thereby learn 
new things. With the gradual restrictions imposed upon the individual 
by physical limitations the world of personal experience shrinks. Visual 

Senescent Self-concept, Needs, and Problems 301 

difficulties frequently limit the time spent in acquiring new ideas through 
the written word. Such deficiencies also tend to reduce the individual's 
freedom to leave his immediate environment. Hearing defects, especially 
if severe or uncorrected, cut the person off from many personal contacts 
and the information and stimulation they ordinarily would provide. 
Motor disabilities, even the mere lack of sustained endurance, reduce 
the opportunities for experiences and social interaction outside the im- 
mediate home environment. 


In view of the foregoing, it is not surprising to find modifications of 
the intellectual activities of the elderly person. Without the intellectual 
stimulation provided by extensive and varied communication with 
the outside world, the individual is forced more and more to rely upon 
what he has learned previously. This paucity of experience and the in- 
creasing limitations in memory for new and novel concepts may readily 
account for much of the constriction and rigidity of intellectual ac- 
tivities so frequently associated with old age. Tendencies to reminisce 
and relive the past likewise become understandable. Similarly the de- 
cline of intellectual capacity reported in the later years may well reflect 
in large part the absence of stimulation. It is clear that the lack of exer- 
cise of any capacity or system, bodily or mental, ultimately leads to its 

Because of the lack of varied intellectual stimulation, the awareness 
of bodily changes signaling the eventual approach of death, and the in- 
creased amount of leisure time, the individual typically is impelled to- 
ward further self-examination. To what extent have earher goals and 
aspirations been achieved? Is there any possibility that they might be 
reached in the future? To what extent were they really worth seeking? 
By such questions the individual is guided toward a reappraisal, or even 
a restructuring, of his philosophy of life. 

In keeping with this concern for a philosophy of life, a workable hier- 
archy of values, is the individual's concern with religion. In seeking 
a permanent system of values and resolutions of the problems and 
vicissitudes of life, it is only natural that one examines his religious 
convictions. This growing interest in religion is vividly illustrated by 
the findings of Cavan et al. [3]. Whereas only 71 per cent of the men 
questioned in their early sixties reported being certain of an afterlife, 
81 per cent of those in their late eighties reported this conviction. In- 
terestingly, 83 per cent of the younger women revealed a certainty of 
afterlife; 90 per cent of the older group did so. Moreover, 100 per cent 

302 Late Stages of Life 

of both men and women who were ninety years and older held to an 


With the gradual restriction of activities and the consequent limita- 
tion of intellectual, emotional, and social stimulation, it becomes increas- 
ingly essential that the individual maintain a wide variety of wholesome 
interests. There is, of course, no specific number or pattern that may, 
be deemed best. But the need for genuine sources of activity and pleas- 
ure seems inescapable. Thus, a good example of how the present adjust- 
ment of the individual is dependent upon past attitudes and habits is 
found in the breadth of interests of the older person. Activities which 
have long held the attention and interest of the person typically tend 
to be maintained. This is particularly true when such interests do not 
conflict with specific physical or social limitations. Because of the in- 
creasing limitation of activities in the later years and the consequent 
conflict between interests and abilities, it is imperative that interests be 
extensive in range. Thus, if the interests are dependent upon the utiliza- 
tion of one sense modality and that mechanism becomes severely im- 
paired, or if the interests are centered about purely social activities and 
the opportunity for such activities becomes restricted, the individual is 
greatly handicapped. Nor can this loss easily be overcome by the ac- 
quisition of new interests. 

Although many elderly persons acquire new and rewarding interests, 
the task of doing so becomes increasingly diflBcult with the passage of 
time. For one thing, the opportunity of adequately testing new areas 
gradually is restricted. Entirely new, truly satisfying interests character- 
istically require a considerable time for development. Consequently, oc- 
casional or sporadic contact with areas of potential interest is generally 
of little value. Moreover, because of increasing diflBculty in coping with 
totally new and novel situations, untried areas of interest are not so apt to 
be sampled. One again, therefore, is faced with the conclusion that the 
years prior to old age are the time during which genuine interests and 
areas of satisfaction should be developed. Even more essential is the 
formation of healthy attitudes regarding these interests. All is not lost if 
a certain activity is restricted; new, unsampled areas can provide sources 
of personal satisfaction. With such a background, the individual is pre- 
pared for whatever the future may bring. Even should certain sources of 
personal reward later be denied the person, he has the needed ability to 
face the loss and turn to other areas. He thereby is prepared to enrich 
and enjoy life rather than lapse into a state of self-pity or continuous 

Senescent Self-concept, Needs, and Problems 303 

reminiscence, either of which is unrewarding and leads to stagnation and 
deterioration of the entire personaUty. 


'^Throughout his entire hfe span, the individual lives in a social en- 
vironment. He depends upon his fellow man not merely for physical sup- 
port but also, more importantly, for psychological support and stimula- 
tion. This dependence fails to diminish during the later years of life. In 
fact, in many respects it frequently tends to increase. 

By means of social intercourse, the individual is provided with a 
wealth of experience and intellectual stimulation. Just as the young 
child's boundaries of experience were vastly extended by meeting many 
youngsters in the school situation, so the elderly person's boundaries are 
partially determined by the scope of his personal contacts. New ideas, 
beliefs, and attitudes, all so necessary for continued mental health, are 
encountered. To some extent these stimuli can be and are provided by 
such impersonal influences as reading materials, radio, and television. 
The opportunity, however, for the individual to express and test his own 
ideas, beliefs, and attitudes is not provided by such media. Nothing less 
than direct personal contact will sufiice. It is essential that the in- 
dividual communicate such ideas and attitudes, that he test them in the 
light of others' reactions. 

Personal contact also is necessary for the stimulation of feelings and 
emotions. Again other methods, such as passive reception by means of 
mass media and resort to vicarious experience, prove inadequate for the 
maintenance of a healthy balance of emotions. With the absence of nor- 
mal social interaction may be expected either a gradual impoverishment 
of affectivity or an inappropriateness of reactions. As pointed out earlier, 
lack of exercise of any system, including the emotional, ultimately leads 
to the deterioration of that system. 

The safeguarding of cognitive and affective processes is by no means 
the only function of social communication. The fundamental needs of 
recognition, love, belonging, and status depend upon interaction with 
others for their satisfaction. Frustration of these basic needs quite 
naturally leads to unhappiness, and is accompanied by any of the various 
devices employed whenever achievement of goals is thwarted, e.g. ag- 
gression, withdrawal, or regression. 

Still another aspect of the social needs of the older person arises 
from the fact that the changes which he is undergoing are clearly per- 
ceptible to himself. Just as the young adolescent, upon viewing the 
gross modifications of his own bodily and mental structure, needed the 

304 Late Stages of Life 

reassurance of others and feeling of communion with them, so too does 
the individual who witnesses in himself the widespread changes being 
wrought by advancing age need those about him. Therefore, the elderly 
person strongly seeks the companionship of those who genuinely respect 
his needs and understand his position. 


In addition to the adjustments facing the older person as more or less 
a direct result of the aging process, certain problems arise from his 
changing role in society. Some of these are related to his family and 
immediate friends, some to society in general. In either case they involve 
the older person's attitudes and behavior toward others and their atti- 
tudes and behavior toward the older person. 

Whereas earlier in life the individual was the head of the household, 
helping to shape the lives of his children and others younger than him- 
self, in the declining years this role is lost. The children have long since 
reached maturity. No longer are they dependent financially. No longer 
do they rely upon the judgment and decisions of the parents. Instead, 
frequently the roles have been reversed to the point where the parents 
are dependent upon the children to a considerable extent. Such reversal 
cannot help but alter the individual's concept of himself and present new 
problems of adjustment. Should he accept this as a sign of personal 
failure and inadequacy? Should he regard himself as a nuisance or a 
burden? How much personal freedom should he relinquish? A multitude 
of such questions naturally arises for the older person. His happiness and 
that of those about him depend upon the answers to these questions and 
the problems stemming from them. 

Intimately related to this entire problem area is the attitude of the 
younger members of the family. Is the older person, for example, to be 
regarded as a liability or, at best, an ever-available baby sitter? Or is he 
maybe someone who needs constant care and protection, even to the 
point of being treated much like a young child? Obviously neither of 
these attitudes is conducive to a wholesome interaction of the persons 
involved. Indeed, any behavior which deprecates the dignity and self- 
reliance of the individual naturally produces serious adjustment prob- 
lems for that person. 


An important aspect of the role of the elderly person in society is 
his capacity to contribute to that society. During the preceding decades 
he was a full participant in the civic and economic life of the community. 

Senescent Self-concept, Needs, and Problems 305 

He bore full responsibility for his own welfare as well as that of others. 
Along with such responsibility went corresponding privilege and status. 
With retirement and increasing physical limitations, however, this role 
frequently changes, even to the point where the individual is financially 
dependent upon those about him. Such a reversal of role lowers his 
self-confidence. At the same time, the scope of personal privileges 
becomes somewhat restricted, thereby introducing additional adjust- 
ment problems. 

During the years of middle adulthood, the individual was physically, 
emotionally, and intellectually capable of helping chart the course of 
the community in which he lived— economically, politically, and cul- 
turally. Because of his age and experience, he was generally accorded 
greater voice than young adults. With advancing age, however, this posi- 
tion changed. Evidence of this is the fact that no one younger than forty- 
two years of age or older than sixty-eight years has, to this time, been 
elected President of the United States [4]. For a variety of reasons, such 
as increasing physical limitations, the maturing of the children who 
formerly looked to him for guidance, the partial or complete retirement 
from gainful employment, and frequently the inability to modify long- 
held views in accordance with changing circumstances, the older person 
typically forfeits much of the control and direction he previously exerted. 

By gradually relinquishing his role in and contribution to the com- 
munity, the individual is faced with still another "break" with society. 
Without such participation, he tends to lose contact with the wide circle 
of peers and younger persons so necessary for intellectual and social 
stimulation. The result is naturally unfavorable for the personal well 
being of the individual. Moreover, loss of such contact leaves the in- 
dividual less prepared to meet the problems of society and to contribute 
to the welfare of the community. Thus, the entire process may be seen to 
be circular. 


The social and personal problems related to old age are ever increas- 
ing. Because of the rapid advances in the medical sciences and the im- 
proved general conditions in which we live, man's life span has been 
steadily growing. Figure 23-1 reveals that the median age of the Ameri- 
can population has risen from less than seventeen years in 1820 to more 
than thirty years in 1950. 

Not only has the median age of the population consistently increased 
but also the older age groups have exhibited remarkable growth. Where 
the total number of persons in the United States approximately doubled 
between 1900 and 1950, the number of individuals sixty-five years and 

306 Late Stages of Life 

older almost quadrupled. As shown in Figure 23-2, this group constituted 
only 4.1 per cent of the total population in 1900. In 1950 it accounted 
for 8.1 per cent of the population. Moreover, government census projec- 
tions are that this age group will steadily increase from the 14,127,000 
persons found in it in 1955 to 20,655,000 persons in 1975 [5, p. 6]. 

With the increasing number of individuals living to old age and with 
the ever-growing number of years that individuals tend to live beyond 

Figure 23-1. Median Age of American 

Population: 1820 to 1950 









i2 26 




c 24 
















1820 1840 1860 1880 1900 1920 1940 1960 
(U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1956. 
77th ed. P. 21. 1956.) 

Figure 23-2. Per Cent of Population 65 Years and Older: 1900 to 1950 

1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 

(Henry D. Sheldon. The Older Population of the United States. P. 
138. Wiley: New York, 1958.) 

Senescent Self-concept, Needs, and Problems 307 

retirement, new problems beset society. Greater time, effort, and re- 
sources are required for research in the medical, psychological, and social 
problems of the aged. Vastly augmented facilities are needed for the 
treatment and care of the elderly population. In addition, the general 
well-being of the elderly depends upon opportunities for leisure-time 
activities and for productive endeavors: opportunities to do, to achieve, 
to feel success and a real contribution to society. Such opportunities de- 
mand the cooperation of society as a whole, not merely the aged society. 
The problems of increasing age are, of course, not merely social. Each 
individual must prepare for a greater life span. Each must look forward 
to a greater number of years spent in retirement or semiretirement. 
Hence, every person must anticipate more and longer-term adjustments 
to old age than were common in past years. However, with the sympa- 
thetic cooperation of society and the acquisition of wholesome attitudes, 
interests, and activities the individual need not look forward in despair 
but rather with hope and a feeling of accomplishment. 


1. What changes in the self -concept may be expected to result from the gradual 
decline of the bodily systems? 

2. What is the significance of "somatopsychological" relations in behavior? 

3. The restriction of the older person's environment has what important effects 
on personahty and behavior? 

4. Why is a diversity of interest areas established earlier in life necessary for the 
older person? 

5. In what ways are social contacts essential to the well-being of the elderly 

6. What changes typically occur in the older person's status within the com- 

7. Indicate how the age groups of the American population are shifting in pro- 


I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Wolff, Kurt. The Biological, Sociological, and Psychological Aspects of Aging. 
Springfield, 111.: Charles C Thomas, 1959. Various aspects of aging are discussed in 
terms of their effects, and means of assistance to the old-age population are suggested. 

II. Specific References 

2. Barker, Roger C, et al. Adjustment of Physical Handicap and Illness: A Survey 
of the Social Psychology of Physique and Disability. (Rev. ed.) New York: Social 
Science Research Council, 1953. 

3. Cavan, Ruth, et al. Personal Adjustment in Old Age. Chicago: Science Re- 
search, 1949. 

308 Late Stages of Life 

4. Murray, Alan. U. S, A. at a Glance. Boston: Houghton MiflSin, 1956. 

5. U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1956. 
(77th ed.) 1956. 


The Yellow Leaf (27 min) National Film Board of Canada, 1957. Problems of an" 
elderly widow before and when she comes to live in a home for the aged. 

Golden Age ( 30 min ) National Film Board of Canada, 1958. Explains 3 different ap- 
proaches to retirement. 

The Steps of Age (25 min) International Film Bureau, 1951. Pertinent to common 
problems of older people and their relationships with younger generations. 




THIS SECTION is self-explanatory. It is useful to survey the total span 
of life and to interpret crucial developmental factors and processes 
as these pertain to various phases of life at this stage of American civili- 
zation and culture. Certain conclusions become evident, and are brought 
into the final picture of human development. 

Parents are key influences during the early periods of development, 
as one's family and peers are during the later stages of life. Personal en- 
deavors at learning and integrating oneself within the societal and cul- 
tural matrix and self-willed pursuit of chosen goals greatly affect the 
consequences of one's constant conscious and unconscious search for 
one's own selfhood, for status within society, and for a determining pur- 
pose of life. 



Synopsis of Psychological 
Developments throughout Life 

GENERALLY the piocess of human development is a continuous, diflFeren- 
tial growth and organization of personality and self in terms of individ- 
ual equipment and environmental opportunities. 


Parents exert manifold influences at the outset and during the early 
periods of development. The "psychic birth" [5] of most individuals 
occurs within the confines, setting, and atmosphere of the family. Peers 
and life mates are potent factors during the later stages of life. Apper- 
ceptual configuration of the past, attitudes toward various dimensions 
of reality and learning, social adjustment, and goal-directed activity de- 
termine largely the outcome of one's attempts at seK-knowledge and 
search for status. 

The intricacies of our present society and culture with their space-age 
ramifications and opportunities call forth manifold and intensified chal- 
lenges and responsibilities for the present and future generations. 

In this "century of the child," it may be thought that most persons re- 
ceive an optimal start in life, which is of supreme importance. Some 
facts, however, seem to contradict this. A significant minority of children 
live without their parents or with only one of them. Many live with a 
stepmother or a stepfather. Chart 24-1 illustrates familial conditions of 
the year 1948. The situation mildly deteriorated during the following 
decade. An unidentifiable percentage of families, while held together by 
social pressures and some personal needs, may be seen as separated by 


312 Recapitulation and Conclusions 

frequent dissension and psychological self-isolation from a sharing of 
attitudes, interests, and activities. A beginning and continuation of life 
without parents represents a major mode of early deprivation of proper 
sources for self-identification. Its undesirable impact on later life is 
difficult to overestimate. 

As indicated earlier, the present trend toward lengthened education 
in some ways prepares for the complexity of modem urban life. 
The children and youth need a longer and better educational preparation 
for efficient adult living. A survey of statistics suggests that it is easier 
to fail in life as the twentieth century advances than it was before. Filled- 
to-capacity mental and penal institutions in 1960 and the rise of juvenile 
delinquency seem to attest to this. There continues to be a lack of con- 
cern with mental hygiene and psychological welfare but undue emphasis 
on material and economic goods. 


Prenatal, infancy, child, and adolescent periods form a foundational 
stage for the adult level of life: each contributes heavily to the adult 
traits and characteristics by its influence on the subsequent periods of 
development. Thus, prenatal development lays a foundation for develop- 
ments during infancy. What happened in infancy affects the mode of 

Chart 24-1. Living with and without Parents 

Neither parent- 4.7% 
One parent -8.5% 

vJij-jliixiiij-ji^^^^^^ in 1948 about thirty-nine nniliion 

\mmmmf:yiAw>M^ children under eighteen years of 

age were living with both parents 
(including stepparents and adopted 
parents), about two million children 
with neither parent, and nearly four 
million children with only one parent. 

(Fact Finding Committee. Midcentury White House Conference on Children 
and Youth. A Graphic Presentation of Social and Economic Facts Important 
in the Lives of Children and Youth. Washington, D.C.: National Pubhshing 
Co., 1951.) 

Synopsis of Psychological Developments throughout Life 313 

living and adjusting during childhood. Subsequent developments during 
adolescence can be readily traced back to childhood and, to a degree, 
to infancy. Let us retrace the influential developments throughout the 
span of life and see the pattern of development. 

The prenatal period. The prenatal period is a stage of highly depend- 
ent existence at which human life unfolds in terms of physiological 
structure and individual viability, motility, and sensitivity to stimuli. 
It lasts until the individual reaches a state of intrinsic readiness to func- 
tion outside the mother's womb. Although the developments occurring 
during the prenatal stage represent physical growth primarily, the psy- 
chological significance of this stage can scarcely be overestimated. The 
profound relationship between the physiological integrity of the organ- 
ism and its psychological functioning is a key reason for this. The physi- 
cal development may be viewed as the establishment of a sound or poor 
foundation for most future behavioral and personality characteristics of 
the individual. 

Birth. Birth is the ejection and exposure of the fetus to a personal and 
increasingly autonomous existence. At this traumatic point, the new- 
comer's needs have to be met by other persons who may or may not have 
a satisfactory accumulation of information necessary to safeguard his 
welfare. The newborn may be embraced by the accepting hands and 
hearts of his parents or may enter a dismaying and discordant group of 
persons merely living under the same roof. 

Even a casual inspection of the neonate gives ample testimony to the 
fact of amazingly complex development: the infant is able to respond 
to a wide range of stimuli; he can perform many types of movement; and 
he is capable of excitement and relaxation, of crying and responding to 
his mother's attitude and handling. 

Infancy. Infancy may be readily seen as a key preparational phase 
of life because all major developments marking human life appear before 
this stage merges into childhood. Modem psychologists and other scien- 
tists interested in human development and adjustment do not fail to 
acknowledge the crucial role of the first two to three years of life. The 
provision for each individual of certain universal essentials makes un- 
hampered development possible. Florence L. Goodenough and Leona 
E. Tyler [2, pp. 523-527] term these essentials "raw materials," some 
tangible, e.g., food, and some intangible, e.g., love. Both are indispen- 
sable in promoting the feelings of belongingness, security, and individual- 
ity. A significant minority of infants fail to receive the intangible essen- 
tials for their psychological development. As Chart 24-2 indicates, owing 
to the improved medical services the first year of life continues to be- 
come safer in surviving and in avoiding early stress. 

During infancy the pattern of living and adjusting emerges in its 

314 Recapitulation and Conclusions 

structural aspects. If the parental personality traits and the total atmos- 
phere at home do not produce any distortions of this structural organiza- 
tion, the assumption may be made that the physical and mental well- 
being of this individual has a sound foundation and a certain strength to 
meet situations during the later periods of development. Encouragement 
toward self-initiative and self-reliance represents major assistance in 
psychological development of the unfolding personality. 

Childhood. Childhood is founded on what has been developed or 
acquired during infancy, when the individual was heavily dependent on 
his parents and conditions at home. The timing of progress in develop- 
mental tasks may serve as a basis for useful predictions of further devel- 
opments and of over-all adjustment. Figure 24-3 illustrates the average 
timing of the beginning and completion of some developmental tasks. 
It may be noted that some tasks are comparatively simple, while others 
are complex. When an infant is ready to walk, he indicates it by balanc- ^ 
ing himself. In two or three months the walking will be established as 
a useful means of locomotion. The general task of self-control begins 
early but extends well into the twenties. 

A major mark of the child is his self-awareness and the beginnings 

Chart 24-2. The First Years of Life Have Become Much Safer 



1920 1925 

1930 1935 

1940 1945 1948 

Premature birth is the biggest health 
problem in early infancy today 

Premature birth 

Injury at birth -17% 

All other causes 

(Fact Finding Committee. Midcentury White House Conference on Chil- 
dren and Youth. A Graphic Presentation of Social and Economic Facts Im- 
portant in the Lives of Children and Youth. Washington, D.C.: National 
Pubhshing Co.,' 1951. ) 

Synopsis of Psychological Developments throughout Life 315 

of self- direction. Although he is open to most environmental influences, his 
selectivity increases and, very importantly, the self stabilizes as a third 
major factor, heredity and environment being the others, in his activities 
and adjustments. The picture the child acquires about himself becomes a 
leading factor in further self-organization and trait development. 

Neighborhood and school begin to play distinctive roles as the years 
of childhood advance. The child's milieu expands and begins to include 
many variables in his environment and culture. His curiosity and ques- 
tioning impel him to explore by himself most of the observed, imagined, 
and intellectually apprehended phenomena. His suggestibility adds its 
share to social interaction. Thus, a child grows extensively into the w^orld 
of others and into the objective world, as well as into a world of his own. 
It is good for the child if these three worlds largely fuse into each other 
rather than differ and distort each other. In some cases, a child may live 
too much the life of others, or he may withdraw deeply into the world 
of his creation. Most of the disturbances and disorders have their pre- 
cursors within the years of childhood if not before. 

Children grow into peer society before the span of childhood expires. 
This sets a basic pattern for later identifications with one's own contem- 
poraries. Success with peers is crucial for present and later adjustment. 
Self-identification with one's duties and responsibilities is particularly 
advanced within the school years of childhood. Progress in self-utiliza- 
tion for the perceived goals and ideals also progresses during the later 

Figure 24-3. Hypothetical Curves of Sundry Development Tasks 

ompetence in 

imergence of 

C B 

6 7 8 9 
Age in years 



316 Recapitulation and Conclusions 

phase of childhood. Hence, the pattern of Hving and adjusting to the 
present situations makes the child ready to enter higher levels of matu- 
rity during the years of adolescence. 

Adolescence. Adolescence encompasses puberal growth and later 
developments leading up to the adult pattern of life. It is a major testing 
ground leading to the acquisition of many somewhat final traits and 
features. Highest levels of intensity in self-observation, in emotional 
experience, and in moral-religious strivings usually occur within the 
period of adolescence. 

Self-awareness is raised by turbulent rates of physical growth, sexual 
maturation, and the resulting difficulties in self-control. Moods, senti- 
ments, and the resultant attitudes heighten emotional experience. This, 
in turn, tends to penetrate the entire personality and contribute to the 
further development of self-consciousness. Experience of the "voice of 
conscience" becomes vivid at this stage of life. Feelings of inadequacy, 
guilt, and remorse run high as the adolescent ventures into new 

Maturation of intellectual capacity elicits a new level of "Why?" 
questioning and self-answering. A critical attitude toward parents, au- 
thority, and social bias is often a marked feature of the adolescent. 

Sexual maturation and interest in members of the other sex is fre- 
quently accompanied by ups and downs, moving toward and moving 
away from adequacy in heterosexual relationships. Ambivalence and 
aberrations confuse the over-all picture of maturation. Frequent attempts 
to conform fully to the standards and actions of his peers assist the 
adolescent's socialization and promote interpersonal identifications. 

Developments encompassing all sectors and dimensions of personality, 
while producing a temporary disbalancement of organismic equilibrium 
and self-control, are also indicative of the emergent adult pattern of self- 
organization and personality structure. Increasing adequacy in self- 
appraisal promotes ability-related performance and stability of behavior. 

Toward the end of adolescence, one's picture of himself becomes more 
clear and complete. The person is then capable of visualizing his present 
roles and of projecting himself into future needs and goals. Many life- 
determining decisions are made before the individual enters adulthood, 
a period of development extensively predetermined by earlier develop- 
ments and experience. 


Adult modes of experience and adjustment depend greatly on the 
solution of conflicts and anxieties present during adolescence. The estab- 
lishment of control over impulsive, emotional, and sexual urges contrib- 

Synopsis of Psychological Developments throughout Life 317 

utes much in forming an adult pattern of living. Constructive self-direc- 
tion of energies and drives usually involves a considerable use of 
compensation and sublimation. 

During adult years of life, marital dissension and vocational disap- 
pointments are two sources of frequent maladjustment. Personal insecurity 
and lack of orientation based upon one's capacities and assets represent 
principal etiological conditions in producing and intensifying neurotic 
modes of adjustment. With the achievement of vocational and marital 
stability, on the other hand, adaptation to one's environment is 

Since at this stage of life most abilities peculiar to the individual 
constellation of endowments are developed to a high level, their integra- 
tion into a unique pattern and application in terms of selected environ- 
mental opportunities represent major developmental tasks. One has to 
find his niche in life and settle down before his abilities begin to dechne 
more noticeably than at this middle level of life. At this phase, the indi- 
vidual still has good possibilities for correcting his psychological and 
personality weaknesses by his own efforts. 

If a person makes efforts to apply his abilities and to promote his 
skills, if he expands his civic and cultural pursuits, a retardation of later 
decline may be effected. Adherence to physical and mental hygiene is 
a necessary adjunct to proficient living during adult years of life. More- 
over, religious orientation is generally helpful in promoting meaningful- 
ness of life activities and an adaptation to reality in all of its aspects. 


During the years of adulthood, decline is a very gradual process. It 
accelerates as late adult years merge into senescence. Decline is a mark 
of all structural and functional powers. Structural deterioration usually 
precedes functional decline. Some organs and systems deteriorate at a 
faster rate than others do. Thus, the kidneys may fail and lead to death 
while the body is at a high level of vitality. A heart attack may 
also occur at an early level of decline. The amplitude of memory 
may narrow extensively, while the powers of reasoning may not show any 
marked decline. Any deteriorated organs or powers, however, have sig- 
nificant repercussions on the total organism and personality. 

During the terminal years of life, the idea of death begins to enter the 
realm of imagination more often. To many persons it has a strong depres- 
sant power, something they object to facing and suppress. Difficulties in 
maintaining a previous social status and level of adjustment magnify. 
Withdrawal from physical and social activities may be a gradual or 
sometimes an abrupt change in the pattern of living. In order to avoid 

318 Recapitulation and Conclusions 

any setbacks many older persons, however, continue to work hard. It 
may be noted that either unmodified continuation or sudden dropping 
of work tends to be an unhealthy influence. Not realizing their changed 
limits some persons, for example, strain their hearts by engaging in 
strenuous physical work, such as shoveling snow or digging in the 

Many aging persons tend to cling to the picture of themselves evolved 
in early adulthood. Therefore, they continue setting long-range goals 
and easily project self-realization into the future. The difficulty in 
approaching these goals is often due to the decline of ability and to the 
incidence of illness. 


To the young adult the fact of death appears as an unusual phenom- 
enon, strange and difficult to comprehend. His thoughts about death are 
accidental and short in duration. His participation at funerals is often 
based on an external necessity rather than a deeply self -involving event. 
The situation changes with the accumulation of years. An older person 
readily gets ego-involved, and his ideas of identification or self-reference 
are disquieting if not disturbing. The idea of being near death produces 
anxiety and stimulates preparation for it. As his imagination may con- 
tinue to dwell on it, he may perceive himself entering a black space, 
concerned about the funeral. To many people the depressing idea of a 
bodily extermination may give way to a resigned or an anticipative 
outlook on death and the hereafter. When Socrates was sentenced to 
death and a glass of poison was put into his hands and had to be swal- 
lowed, his philosophical attitude brought a final yet immortal communi- 
cation: "Only my body will die; my soul will eternally exist and be 
judged by a Supreme Being in accordance with the good and bad deeds 
of my life." This deep notion of a still-remembered philosopher reveals 
much about the human stand in this aspect of reality. 

Fantasies which survey life are often vivid at the moments preceding 
death when the physical discomforts and pain subside. They are a tran- 
sition into something final. It is more than fortunate when this review of 
life events and experiences brings a reaffirmation of life's philosophy and 
its key values. Evelyn M. Duvall [4, p. 430] puts it in these words: 
"Nothing can bring greater satisfaction than finding that life all adds up, 
and that together the two (husband and wife) know who they are and 
where they are headed in the business of living." Christians see death 
as the entrance into judgment and a life with God for those whose life 
accomplishments measure up to His justice and mercy. 

Figure 24-4 identifies the ten leading causes of death in the United 

Synopsis of Psychological Developments throughout Life 319 

Figure 24-4. The Ten Leading Causes of Death by Color and Sex: United States, 



Rotes pw 100,000 populafion 



iseases of heart; 


Malignant neoplasms 160.1 

Vascular lesions of.CNS 102.3 

Accidents 77.3 
Certain diseases of early infancy 40.8 

nfluenza and pneumonia 27.8 

General arteriosclerosis 20.5 

Suicide 17,2 

Cirrhosis of liver 14.2 

Congenital malformations 13.6 






Malignant neoplasms 141.0 

VascuJar lesions of CNS 106.2 

Accidents 33.8 

Certain diseases of early infancy 27.7 

influenza and pneumonia 21 .3 

General arteriosclerosis 20.7 

Diabetes mellitus 18.5 

Congenital malformations 11.2 

Chronic and unspecified nephritis 7.8 

^Diseases of heart/ 


%%^ 317.6 

Malignant neoplasms 119.8 

Vascular lesions of CNS 117.8 

Accidents 100.8 

Certain diseases of early infancy 90.7 

Influenza and pneunnonia 57.5 

Homicide 36.9 

Tuberculosis, all forms 28.4 

Chronic and unspecified nephritis 17.9 

Congenital malformations 14.9 



Diseases of^ heort 


Voscular lesions of CNS 121.9 

Malignant neoplasms 108.5 

Certain diseases of early infancy 67.2 

Accidents 40.8 

Influenza and pneumonia 40.1 

Diabetes mellitus 18.6 

Chronic and unspecified nephritis 17.3 

Tuberculosis, all forms 15.0 

Hypertension without mention 12.5 
of heart 

(Vital Statistics of the United States: 1955. Vol. I, fig. 20, p. 49. 1957.) 




<M C 

^ I 
-s = 


Personality, self 
and character 

Adjustability versus 

Adaptability to par- 
ents; awareness of 
one's individuality; 






Defective heredity; 
endocrine and cir- 
culatory malfunc- 
tions; certain ma- 
ternal diseases 

Birth complications; 
disequilibrium and 
infections; lack of 

Lack of physiological 
stability and pa- 
rental affection 


Proper physiological 
foundations for 
postnatal develop- 
ments; biochemical 
controls; viability 

Preservation of life: 
adjustments to new 

"^external and in- 
ternal conditions, 
e.g., temperature, 
food, etc. 

Gaining control over 
neuromuscular and 
vocal systems; ac- 
quisition of new at- 
techniques; estab- 
lishment of emo- 
tional security 

Dynamics and 

Maintenance of or- 
ganismic equilib- 

Satisfaction of bodily 
needs; intense need 
of mothering 

Great interest in en- 
vironment; recogni- 
tion of mother and 
familiar objects; 
rapid emotional dif- 
ferentiation ; strong 
drive for activity 

Physiological growth 
and psychomotility 


Differentiation of 
tissues and bodily 
systems; emergence 
of motility and of 
sensitivity; ap- 
proach to natal 

Increase of sensi- 
tivity and sensori- 
motor coordination 

Rapid growth in size 
and weight; begin- 
nings of neuromus- 
cular coordination 

Stage of development 
and approximate age 


zygote, to 2 weeks 
embryo, 2 weeks to 2 

fetus, 2 to 9 months 



Early infancy, 2 to 15 


Narcissism; aware- 
ness of self; strong 
attitudes toward 
self and others arise 

Great increase in 
social response; 
growth in self-con- 
sciousness and atti- 
tudes toward one- 

Extroverted and 
enthusiastic; ap- 
pearance of char- 
acter traits; growth 
in personal responsi- 

Greater self-con- 
tainedness; loosen- 
ing of emotional 
identification with 
parents; wondering 
about the years 

Difficulties in relat- 
ing oneself emotion- 
ally to parents and 
siblings; distrust 
and fears; finding 
improper solutions 
to conflict situations 

Insecurity and child- 
hood diseases 

Lack of self-accept- 
ance ; attitudes of 
inferiority and de- 

Poor peer relation- 

Progress in self -initi- 
ative ; acquisition of 
speech facility; es- 
tablishment of toi- 
let controls 

Expansion of verbal 
and social play ac- 

Control of negative 
emotions; develop- 
ment of a scale of 
values; cooperative 

Growth into peer 
society; experience 
of group security 

Taking initiative in 
exploration of sur- 
roundings; emer- 
gence of child moti- 
vation; increase of 
resistance to paren- 
tal demands and 

Interest in distant 
environmental and 
social relationships; 
fantasy display, 
make-believe ; 
emergence of senti- 

Increasing realistic 
attitude and adapt- 
ability; recognition 
of role relationships 

Establishment of sex 
identity; seeking 
adventure and 
novelty; scientific 

Advance and com- 
pletion of phylo- 
genetic motor pat- 

Acquisition of onto- 
genetic motor pat- 
terns; increase of 
gracefulness; de- 
cline in the rate of 

Advancing control 
over fine muscle 
groups, e.g., self- 
dressing and ball 

The rate of physio- 
logical growth 
reaches its ebb and 
then begins to in- 
crease; various mo- 
tor skills are readily 

Late infancy (begin- 
nings of negativism), 
15 to 30 months 

Early childhood, 2>^ to 
5 years 





:2 3 

Late childhood (pre- 
adolescence), 9 to 12 


Personality, self 
and character 

Increase of introver- 
sion; indecision; 
search for human 
models and oneself 

Lack of self-integra- 
tion, antagonistic 
strivings frequent; 
magnified aware- 
ness of personality 
qualities and traits 

Crystallization of 
character in terms 
of social and moral 
norms; future plan- 




Isolation and exces- 
sive reveries ; lack 
of self-assertive- 
ness ; extreme rebel- 

Peer rejection; per- 
fectionistic aspira- 

Self-rejection and 
neurotic or delin- 
quent solutions of 
mental conflicts 



Enlarged body; self- 
reorganization and 
attempts at inde- 
pendence by eman- 
cipating self from 
the family; control 
over sexual 

Acceptance of a mas- 
culine or feminine 
role; identification 
with peers 

Selecting occupation; 
assuming civic re- 
sponsibility; im- 
proving self-control ; 
formation of Wel- 

Dynamics and 

Strivings for inde- 
pendence; nega- 
tivism; emotional 
oscillation, ambiv- 
alence, and moods; 
emergence of power- 
ful sexual drives; 
erotic fantasy; 
strivings for inter- 
personal intimacy 
with peers 

Powerful drive for 
social intimacy, in- 
cluding members of 
the opposite sex; 
expansion of intel- 
lectual quests and 

Approaching hetero- 
sexual adjustment; 
striving for matur- 
ity and popularity 

Physiological growth 
and psychomotility 

Turbulent growth of 
many organs and 
systems; approach 
to adult size and 
proportion; bio- 
chemical balances 
disturbed; external 
awkwardness in- 

The rate of physio- 
logical growth slows 
down; considerable 
gains in fine motor 
control and strength 

Appearance of adult 
adult performance 
level is approached; 
biochemical equi- 
librium reestab- 

Stage of development 
and approximate age 

Puberty (early adoles- 

girls, UK to 14 
boys, 12K to 15K 

B "^ -^ 

2 O \(N 

-S ^ i2 

"o '"' 


Late adolescence 
girls, 16 to 19 
boys, 17K to 21 . 


.2 S 

.3 _fl 
02 S3 

O 0) 

>H I— I 

c3 O 

«4H CO 

5:J <=i 

.2 .2 

Pi 0) 



o j^-S 'So 

^ .rt ,£3 — < 


_bC O »i 
^ <U w 

c3 ^ O 


w 03 

O o 






















.d -^ 

o ^ 
,2 ^ 

(X d 

c3 ■'^ 

o c: 

o3 o 

1=1 d 

o CO 




Ms § 

W) M Cl .2 

d 2 o 3q 

"S .S ^ C3 

^ ^ 'd ^ 

03 '-J 03 

O ^H o T3 

c3 d 




be a> 
d ^ 

.S -tJ "« 

5R =^ •- d 
•2 a-rs o 

d XI ^ 03 
" ^ -o d 

'H d c5 e3 

2 OX > 


4J <— 
o .i. "^ '> 


'S g ^ 

t-i 2 ^ 

"^ ;§ 02 

X o 

03 y 

bC o 

d TJ 

:d '=5 

O) d . _ o3 

d fl o3 O — ^ -*-» 
© d t*.; O 03 03 


o -d 
-d o 

03 W) 

d .2 
■5b g 


d T3 

03 d 
>«^ 03 

bC >j 

d .t^ 

•-^ d , 








o * 

<u d 
a o3 

'^ -d 
a o3 

!>i d 
.-d nj 

S -S 
03 rd 
''^ -d 




03 -d 




=^ 3 > 

— « ^ 03 

O ^ 

'q3 ^d 

2 o3 O) 

d bc 


03 fc< O 

■^3 bC o, 
o3 d o3 

-= S ^ 


T5 rd 


bC M ^ 

d ^ 
. d o o 

2 tB m 

i 02 Ol 



o d 

03 "^ 

■s a 

„ o 
ft ^ 

O 1^ 

I 03 

d 'S 

s^; ^ - 

ft o -^ 

S d 

6 >> >> > .2 

pd "o -^ *S -1^ 

CO S: O ^ O 

;d .£; «3 •- o3 

■ O .iJ 03 03 >-i 

I 2 :d -^ .a 

U d 


a -1^ b > 

o r3 ^ -d 

U ^ o3 o3 

.a £ 

^ d 
.^ a 


02 Ui 

03 'C 

^ i 

CS d 

O 02 

■J § 

.2 S 

^ . ^ 

2^ OJ 


^ d 

>-( a) 

E ^ 

-d .!3 ^ 

bj3 'm ■'"* 


=« bC 

03 d 

01 .d 


53 T3 ^ 

d '"; 

d > p 

2 a 



















^- cJ o 

-H '-^s .a 

^ a o 

3l3 ^ 

•- " .2 

^ o: 'O 

o <u 

0) -3 
> o3 
0) O 

"2 'bC 

a ^ 

d o 

a '^ 




CO ^ 

d " 73 

c3 5j Q 

^ o d 

-*^ -fj .d 

d O 03 

ad -u 

_ O 03 


- I 
o ft 

'Ti 02 

O t(-( 

^ O 

-*J ft 03 

o3 tM d 


bD '^ -^ 
o 03 

^ ^ a 

bf 5« .5 

^ ft "^ 

03 o3 .^ 














rd 73 






-i3 ^ 

^_ d 

c3 T3 
o d 


-d d 

ft o3 

• l-H 















o d 

w d 

O) 73 a 

03 fH - 

C d t- 

w J* .2 

o O) g 

t- ft 

o ^ 

o3 TJ 

..-,>. d 

•1 s .^ :s 

.^ ^ X! c3 

-f^ 02 03 fA 



'^ o ^ 

O ^ CO 

^^3 i-H -*J 

§ <^ 

>> i s 


73 -"^ 

^ ^ lO 

±^ 1— I o 

3 'W ^ 

'C r-cO 

o3 d CO 




^ ^ ^ 

o »o o 

X ^ ^ 
3 d lO 

F>* "^ " 


324 Recapitulation and Conclusions 

States in 1955. It may be noted that heart diseases account for about 
one-third of all deaths. 

Finally, Table 24-1 recounts some of each stage's essential growth oc- 
currences, tasks and hazards, and aspects of motivation, personality, and 
the self. This schematic review forms an over-all representation of the 
subject matter and concludes this study of human development and 


I. Selected and Annotated Reading 

1. Coleman, James C. Personality Dynamics and Effective Behavior. Chicago: 
Scott, Foresman, 1960. This text deals with human resources and competencies, per- 
sonality and behavior theories, and measures of assistance in human development and 

2. Goodenough, Florence L., and Leona E. Tyler. Developmental Psychology. (3rd 
ed.) New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1959. Chap. 26. Presents conditions neces- 
sary for optimal human development. 

II. Specific References 

3. Buhler, Charlotte. Theoretical Observations about Life's Basic Tendencies. 
Amer. J. Psychother., 1959, 13, 561-581. 

4. Duvall, Evelyn M. Family Development. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1957. 

5. Jung, Carl G. The Development of Personality. New York: Pantheon, 1954. 


Achievement quotient (AQ). The ratio between the individual scores of scholastic 
performance and the standard scores. 

Adjustment. A process by which a person satisfies his internal needs and efficiently 
relates to environmental, social, and cultural demands. 

Adjustment, emotional. A state of age-related emotional maturity marked by a rela- 
tively stable and moderate emotional reactivity to afi^ect- and mood-eliciting stimuli. 

Adjustment, social. Reaction to others favoring harmonious relationships to family 
and to other reference groups. 

Adolescence. The developmental period from the onset of major puberal changes to 
adult maturity. 

Adrenals. A pair of ductless or internal-secretion glands, adjacent to the kidneys, 
secreting adrenalin and cortin. 

Adult. A postadolescent person who is mature in all major aspects and is capable 
of a satisfactory adjustment to himself and to his environment. 

Affect. A vital feeling, mood, or emotion, characterized by specific physiological 
(psychophysical) changes and feeling states. 

Age, mental (MA). The level of intellectual efficiency as determined by a test of 
Intelligence; the age at which a computed score on an intelligence test falls. 

Age norm. The average for a given age as revealed by sample group performances 
at this age. 

Aging. The continuous developmental process beginning after conception and ending 
with death, wherein organic structures and functions of an immature organism first 
grow and mature, then gradually deteriorate. 

Altruism. Deep unselfish concern for others often expressed in behavior. 

Ambivalence. Internal tendency to be pulled (physically or) psychologically in op- 
posite directions, e.g., acceptance-rejection, love-hate, participation-withdrawal. 

Amnesia. A process of dynamic forgetting due to a strong mental conflict and self- 
defensive repression. 

Anesthesia. The lack of psychophysical response to sensory stimuli. 

Anoxia. Deficiency in the supply of oxygen to the tissues, especially the brain, caus- 
ing damage to their structural integrity. 

Anxiety, neurotic. The experience of distress and helplessness due to ego damage or 
weakness, accompanied by an expectation of future improbable danger or evil. 


326 Glossary 

Apperception. A mental process of interpreting and assimilating new experience or 

behavior in the light of past experiential background. 
Aptitude. A recognizable capacity or potentiality for specific achievements, if the 

person is exposed to some amount of training. 
Aspiration, level of. The level of anticipated achievement, or the standard by which 

a person judges his own activity in reference to its expected end results. 
Atrophy. A process of decrease or degeneration. 
Attitude. An acquired persistent tendency to feel, think, or act in a stereotyped 

manner toward a given class of stimuh. 
Autistic. Self-centered; with perception, feeling, and thinking unduly controlled by 

personal needs, desires, and preferences at the expense of sensitivity to others or to 

situational demands. 
Autogenous. Self-originated, as distinguished from what is elicited by outside stimuli 

and learning. 
Balance. A state in which antagonistic forces are equal or cooperate in behavior 

Behavior. Any kind of reaction, including complex patterns of feeling, perceiving, 

thinking, and willing, as response to internal or external, tangible or intangible 

Bio-. Prefix referring to life or to the biological aspect of personality. 
Birth injury. Transient or in some ways permanent injury to the infant immediately 

preceding and during the birth process. Various disabilities are attributed to brain 

damage occurring as a result of birth injury. 
Cathexis. Attachment of affects and drives to their goal objects; direction of psychic 

energy into a particular outlet. 
Character. The acquired ability and facility for acting and conducting oneself in 

accordance with a personal code of principles based on a scale of values. 
Chromosome. The minute threadlike body which is assumed to carry multiple pairs 

of genes in the human cell. 
Child. An individual between infancy and puberty. 
Child development. An interdisciplinary study of the growth and maturation taking 

place from infancy (sometimes birth) to puberal changes. 
Childhood. The period of development between infancy and puberty (or adoles- 
cence ) . 
Compeer. An age mate. Cf. Peer. 

Conception. The process of merging of the sperm and ovum in human fertihzation. 
Conditioning. As used here, a mode of training whereby reward or punishment is 

made a part of the total situation with a view to eliciting desired (rewarded) 

responses in the future. 
Conduct. That part of behavior of a person which is guided by ethical, moral, or 

religious standards. 
Confabulation. An attempt to fill in the gaps of memory without awareness of the 

falsification involved. 
Conflict. See Mental conflict. 
Congenital. Referring to characteristics and defects acquired during the period of 

gestation and persisting after birth. 
Constitution. Configuration of organic, functional, and psychosocial variables within 

the developing person which largely conditions his present status. 
Conversion. As used here, transformation of anxiety and energies ehcited by a 

mental conflict into somatic symptoms. 
Culture. The mode of a people's life, characterized chiefly by intellectual and societal 

Glossary 327 

aspects of a given civilization; its child rearing and education, customs and mores, 
traditional civic and religious practices. 

Daydreaming. A form of withdrawal from subjectively perceived unpleasant reality 
into the realm of fancy and reverie frequently of a pleasant, wish-gratifying type. 

Defense dynamism or mechanism. Any stereotyped response pattern that is spontane- 
ously used to protect oneself from environmental threats, mental conflicts, anxiety, 
and other conditions which a person cannot tolerate or cope with directly. 

Development. Encompasses processes of growth of the organic stnictures and sys- 
tems, increases in all the functional capacities of the organism, and organization of 
personahty and character. 

Development, level of. A usually long period in a person's life marked by some 
specific clusters of traits, interests, and attitudes, and by a similarity in performance. 

Developmental-level approach. That approach in which the total personahty of the 
individual is considered at different phases of life. 

Developmental psychology. A division of psychology which investigates the growth, 
maturation, and aging processes of the human organism, mental functions, and 
personality throughout the span of life. 

Developmental task. A new step or increase of facility in the production of a more 
complex behavior pattern in any dimension of growth and maturation specific to 
each level of human development, adequate performance and application of which 
promote adaptation to reality and attitude of self-adequacy. 

Differentiation. The process by means of which a variable or function becomes dif- 
ferent, more complex or specialized; the change from homogeneity to hetero- 

Dimension. A coherent group of facts or processes having a particular denominator; 
e.g., intelligence, emotion, language may be seen as dimensions of personality. 

Dimensional approach. That approach in which a specific aspect or group of aspects 
of personality is considered throughout several phases of life. 

Drive. The resultant tension and awareness pertaining to an ungratified need and 
directed to a goal or valence. 

Dynamic. Refers to forces and potent factors which are capable of producing some 
change within the organism or personahty. 

Dysfunction. Disturbance or impairment of a functional capacity of an organ or 
system, including mental abilities. 

Ectoderm. The outermost cell layer in the embryo from which structures of the 
nervous system and skin are developed. 

Ego. The core factor of personahty or self, exercising control and direction of drives 
and impulses in accordance with reality demands. 

Embryo. As used here, a human being in the early phases of prenatal development, 
from about two weeks to two lunar months after conception. 

Emotion. A usually conscious mental state of experience characterized by feeling or 
excitement which is accompanied (and frequently preceded) by specific physio- 
logical changes and frequently by an urge toward a definite pattern of behavior. 

Emotional lability. Easy reaction and shift from one feeling or emotion to another. 

Endocrine glands. The ductless glands of internal secretion, such as pituitary, thy- 
roid, or adrenals. 

Endoderm. The innermost of the three cell layers of the embryo, from which most 
of the visceral organs and the digestive tract are developed. 

Endowment. Adequate capacity for development, physical or mental, conditioned by 
heredity and constitution. 

Envy. A distressful feeling aroused by observation that another person possesses what 
one now desires to have. 

328 Glossary 

Etiology. The investigation of origins, causes, and contributing factors of a trait or 

Euphoria. A subjective intense sensation of vigor, well-being, and happiness, often 

despite some problem or disability. 
Extrovert. A type of personality whose thoughts, feehngs, and interests are directed 

chiefly toward persons, social affairs, and other external phenomena. 
Fantasy. A function of imagination marked by engagement in vicarious experiences 

and hallucinatory actions; reveries, daydreaming. 
Feeling. The tone of experience marked by pleasantness or unpleasantness, tension 

or rest, a mild affective state or emotional craving. 
Fetus. As used here, the human individual in advanced stages of prenatal develop- 
ment, from two lunar months after conception to birth. 
Fixation. The persistence of infantile, childish, puberal, or adolescent response pat- 
terns, habits, and modes of adjustment through successive phases of development. 
Frustration. The experience of distress and morbidity induced by failures and by 

thwarting of attempts to gratify one's needs or ambitions. 
Gene. A submicroscopic structure in the chromosomes (assumed to exist); a carrier 

of a hereditary trait. 
Genetic psychology. The branch of psychology that studies the human organism and 

its psychological functions in terms of their origin and early course of development. 
Group, reference. Group one belongs to or is interested in belonging to, e.g., peer 

groups, usually of a considerable influence to the individual. 
Growth. Increment to an organism or its structures, change toward a more developed 

Guidance. Refers to a variety of methods, such as advising, counseling, testing, use 

of special instructional and corrective teaching, by means of which a person may 

be helped to find and engage in activities that will yield adequate adjustment and 

satisfaction and some achievement. 
Habit. An acquired or learned pattern of behavior, relatively simple and regularly 

used with facility, which leads to a tendency to use such acts rather than other 

Hedonism. As used here, a psychological system of motivation explaining all be- 
havior and conduct in terms of seeking pleasure and avoiding unpleasure or pain. 
Heredity. The totality of developmental influences biologically transmitted from par- 
ents (and ancestors) to the offspring during the process of conception. 
Heterogeneous. Used in interpreting any group of individuals or items which show 

marked differences in reference to some significant criterion or standard. 
Homogeneous. Used in interpreting any group of individuals or items which show 

marked similarity or low variability in the qualities or traits considered. 
Homosexual. Centered on the same sex; marked by tendency to find sexual and erotic 

gratification with a person of the same sex. 
Hormone. A specific chemical substance usually produced by an endocrine gland 

which affects some somatic and functional changes within the organism. 
Hypothesis. A tentative interpretation of a complex set of phenomena or data on the 

basis of some supportive facts or findings. 
Id. A psychoanalytic term which denotes the instinctive and impulsive drives seeking 

immediate gratification in accord with the hedonistic principle. 
Ideal. A standard approaching some level of perfection, usually unattainable in 

Identification. A usually unconscious desire for identity through affiliation with and 

imitation of another person, group, or ideal in order to gratify some deep-seated 


Glossary 329 

Incubation. A period during which certain presented ideas gain in motivational 
strength and begin to condition a part of behavior, especially during childhood. 

Individuation. Differentiation of behavior into more distinct and less dependent parts 
or features. 

Infancy. The first two to three years of human life, during which all major human 
abilities originate, marked by almost total dependence on others. 

Infantile. Pertaining to lowest levels of postnatal maturity; mode of behavior or 
adjustment resembling the infant level. 

Inferiority attitude or complex. An emotionally conditioned and frequently uncon- 
scious attitude in reference to one's own organism, self, or personality, character- 
ized by serious lack of self-reliance and notions of inadequacy in many situations. 

Inhibition. Preventing a process or behavior from starting by inner control, although 
the eliciting stimulus is present. 

Innate. Existing before birth and accounting for a particular trait or characteristic. 

Intelligence. The practical application of sensorimotor, perceptual, and, especially, 
intellectual functions, shown by standardized performances that are measurable. 

Intelligence quotient (IQ). The index of mental and learning capacity resulting 
from an intelligence test, identified by a numerical ratio between the attained 
score and the normative score for that age. 

Introjection. A form of unintentional identification whereby the environmental char- 
acteristics are assimilated into the self and modify motivational structure. 

Introvert. A type of personality whose thoughts and emotions tend to be directed 
inward to self; one who, especially under stress, prefers to withdraw from external 
and social activities. 

IQ. See Intelhgence quotient. 

Juvenile. Pertaining to older child or adolescent. 

Kinship. Blood relationship between two or more persons; usually includes marriage 
and adoption ties. 

Latency period. A psychoanalytic term referring to the period from approximately 
four to eleven or twelve years of age, during which interest in sex is not apparent. 

Libido. A psychoanalytic term which designates total undifferentiated life energy 
(C. G. Jung), sexual in nature (S. Freud). 

Life cycle. The total time from birth to death, emphasizing recurrence of certain 
important events. 

Malfunction. See Dysfunction. 

Matrix. A framework or enclosure which gives form or meaning or perspective to 
what lies within it. 

Maturation. A key aspect of developmental change that is a level of functioning pri- 
marily due to heredity and constitution; developments leading to maturity. 

Maturity. The state of maximal function and integration of a single factor or a total 
person; also applied to age-related adequacy of development and performance. 

Mental conflict. An intrapsychic state of tension and indecision due to contrary 
desires, unsatisfied needs, or incompatible plans of action; also between conscious 
and unconscious preference. 

Mental hygiene. The art and science of mental health; apphcation of the principles 
and measures necessary for its preservation and promotion. 

Mesoderm. The middle of the three fundamental layers of the embryo, which forms 
a basis for the development of bone and muscle structure. 

Method. A logical and systematic way of studying a subject matter. 

Motive. Any factor which stimulates or contributes to a conscious effort toward a 

330 Glossary 

Need. Any physiochemical imbalance within the organism, due to a lack of some 
nutrients, which arouses tension and drives. By analogy, psychological and per- 
sonality needs are recognized. Primary or genetically determined needs and de- 
rived needs (generated by the operation of primary needs) are distinguished. 

Negativism. A primary mode of expressing one's own will by persistent refusal to 
respond to suggestions from parental figures. 

Neonate. A newborn infant. 

Neuromuscular. Pertaining to both nerve and muscle, their structure and functions. 

Neurotic. Mentally and emotionally disturbed; characterized by recurrent symptoms 
resembhng those of neurosis. 

Normative. Based on averages, standards, or values. 

Nousogenic. Generated by the intellect or its functions. 

Ontogenesis. As used here, origin and development of an individual organism and its 
functions from conception to death. Cf. Phylogenesis. 

Organismic age. The average of all basic measures of a person's development at a 
particular time, such as carpal, dental, height, weight, and also achievement, 
educational, mental, and social age. 

Orthogenesis. A theory assuming that the germ plasm is gradually modified by its 
own internal conditions and that an organism (and personahty) has a specific, 
species-related course of development, unless blocked. 

Ovum. The female germ cell. 

Parallel play. The side-by-side play of two or more children with some independence 
of action yet heightened interest because of each other's presence. 

Peer. Any individual on about one's same level of development and therefore equal 
for play or any other mode of association. 

Perfectionism. The tendency of frequently demanding of oneself or others a maximal 
quality of achievement. 

Personality. The multilevel functioning of those qualities, traits, and characteristics 
which distinguish a human being and determine his interaction with social and 
cultural factors. 

Phylogenesis. Pertains to evolution of traits and features common to a species or race. 

Projection. A self-defense dynamism, by which an individual attributes to others his 
own qualities and traits, usually undesirable, such as hostility or dishonesty. 

Psychosomatic. Pertaining to the effects of psychological and emotional factors on 
health and pathology; indicating that a phenomenon is both psychic and bodily. 

Psychotherapy. The various procedures of systematic application of psychological 
techniques or principles in the treatment of mental or emotional disturbance or 

Puberal. Pertaining to an individual in the developmental period of puberty. 

Puberty. The period of physical (especially sexual) and mental maturation, charac- 
terized by rapid somatic growth and the assumption of some adult traits or features. 

Pubescent. Pertaining to an individual in the early part of puberty or to anyone who 
exhibits some chief characteristics of that period of maturation. 

Rationalization. A dynamism of self-defense whereby a person justifies his activities 
or conduct by giving rational and acceptable, but usually untrue, reasons. 

Readiness, principle of. Refers to neurological and psychological disposition to attend 
to and assimilate a category of stimuh to which sensitivity and learning responses 
were previously lacking. 

Regression. A reversion to an earlier and less mature level of behavior and personality 

Reinforcement. Any facilitating influence or condition for strengthening selected 
behavior patterns. 

Glossary 331 

Resistance. As used here, opposition offered by a cfiild or adolescent to tlie sugges- 
tions, orders, or regulations of his parents. 

Role conflict. The situation in which a person is expected to play two or more roles 
which he cannot integrate into his self-system. 

Self-direction. Independent selection of goals and estimations by oneself of the proper 
means and actions to attain them. 

Self-realization. The lifelong process of unhampered development marked by self- 
direction and responses in terms of one's capabihties or potentiahties. 

Senescence. The period of old age. 

Senile. Refers to old-age appearance and behavior. 

Senility. Marked loss of physical and mental functions in old age or preceding it. 

Sentiment. An affective and cognitive structure of related attitudes tow ard a particu- 
lar value or object. 

Sibling. One of the offspring having the same parents. 

Socialization. A progressive development of relating and integrating oneself with 
others, especially parents, peers, and groups. 

Somatic. Pertaining to the body or organism. 

Sperm. The male germ cell, or spermatozoon, containing chromosomes and genes. 

Strain. The condition within a system or organ when it is exposed to stress, e.g., 

Sublimation. A dynamism of self-defense whereby the energies of a basic drive are 
redirected into a higher and socially more acceptable plane of expression; a mark 
of normal development. 

Superego. A psychoanalytic term which refers to that part of the personality structure 
that is built up by early parent-child relationships which enforces the control of 
primitive instinctual urges and later functions as a moral force; analogous to an 
early form of conscience. 

Temperament. The affective disposition and expression of emotional energies in 
terms of reaction speed, depth and length of emotional experiences, and relevant 

Tension. A state of acute need deprivation, fear, apprehension, etc., which keeps 
certain organs or systems in a state of intensified activity. 

Trait. A distinctive and enduring characteristic of a person. 

Trauma. Any somatic or psychological damage to the individual, including stressful 
terrifying experiences. 

Unconscious. Pertaining to that area of motivational structure or process about 
which the person is directly unaware. 

Valence. A gestalt psychology term referring to those properties of an object or 
situation in the life space of a person, by virtue of which the object is sought 
( positive valence ) or avoided ( negative valence ) . 

Value. The worth or excellence found in a quahtative appraisal of an object by a 
reliance on emotional and rational standards of the individual or of homogeneous 

Viability. Refers to the organism's, e.g., the prematurely bom's, capacity for surviving 
outside of the uterus. 

Vital capacity age (VA). A relationship between lung capacity and age. 

V^eltanschauung. A configuration of attitudes and views toward all dimensions of 
reality, the material and metaphysical; key tenets of a philosophy of life. 

Youth. A postpuberal person up to his mid-twenties. 

Zygote. As used here, the himian individual during the first phase of prenatal devel- 
opment following conception and lasting approximately two weeks. 


Bibliography on Teaching Theories and Methods 

Bills, R. E. Investigation of Student-centered Teaching. /. educ. Res., 1952, 46, 

Bimey, R., and W. J. McKeachie. The Teaching of Psychology: A Survey of Re- 
search since 1942. Psychol Bull, 1955, 52, 51-68. 
Gibb, C. A. Classroom Behavior of the College Teacher. Educ. psychol Measmt., 

1955, 15, 254-263. 
Guetzkow, H., et al An Experimental Comparison of Recitation, Discussion, and 

Tutorial Methods in College Teaching. /. educ. Psychol, 1954, 45, 193-207. 
Hayes, A. (Ed.) The Discussion Method in Teaching: A Symposium. /. gen. Educ, 

1954, 8, 1-71. 
McKeachie, W. J. Student-centered Versus Instructor-centered Instruction. /. educ. 

Psychol, 1954, 45, 143-150. 
Read, J. G., and P. A. Nelson. A View of Science Education: Review and Forecast. 

/. Educ, 1958, 141, 1-50. 
Wagner, Guy. (Ed.) Science Education. Education, 1959, 80, 3-31. 


Name Index 

Numbers in boldface type indicate pages on which annotated reading references appear 

Abraham, K., 124 
Aeppli, E., 254, 264 
Albrecht, R., 283, 287 
Allen, L., 28 

Allport, G. W., 254, 261, 264 
Amatruda, C. S., 87, 255 
Anastasi, A., 51, 140 
Anderson, J. E., 121, 122, 298 
Antonini, J. S., 33 
Armstrong, C. M., 153 
Arnold, M. B., 261, 262, 264 
Ausubel, D. P., 118, 213 

Boring, E. G., 10 

Bossard, J. H. S., 40-43, 49, 51, 238 

Bowman, H. A., 274 

Bradley, W. A., 18 

Breckenridge, M. E., 76 

Bridges, K. M. B., 56 

Brown, C. W., 19 

Bmeckner, P. J., 166 

Buhler, C., 22, 32, 95, 103, 106, 205, 

Burgess, E. W., 245, 252, 271 
Burton, W. H., 167 

Baitsell, G. A., 54 
Baldwin, A. L., 254 , 
Banham, K. M., 58 
Barker, R. G., 300 
Bayley, N., 24, 176 
Bee, L. S., 267, 275 
BeloflF, H., 116 
Bender, L., 124, 133 
Bergler, E., 282 
Bernstein, A., 116 
Blair, A. W., 167 
Bloch, H. A., 209, 213 
Boll, E. S., 41, 42, 238 

Cannon, W. B., 25 
Carlson, A. J., 23 
Cattell, P., 106 
Cavan, R., 301 
Child, I. L., 52 
Cleckley, H., 124 
Cole, L., 181, 254, 264 
Coleman, J., 325 
Conger, J. J., 87 
Cornell, E. L., 153 
Cottrell, L. S., 245 
Cruze, W. W., 254 



Name Index 

D'Angelo, R., 140 

Davis, A., 47 

Davis, E. A., 138 

Day, E. J., 137 

Dearborn, W. F., 153 

Dermis, W., 84 

Diamond, S., 25 

DiflFor, J. W., 33 

Doll, E. A., 255 

DoUard, J., 228 

Donahue, W., 297, 298 

Drake, J. T., 298 

Durkheim, E., 46 

Duvall, E. M., 40, 51, 285, 287, 318 

Eastman, N. J., 80 
Eissler, R. S., 124 
English, A. C, 23 
English, H. B., 6, 23 
Erikson, E. H., 124, 125 
Escalona, S., 85 

Faegre, M. L., 66 

Fahey, G. L., 141 

Fishbein, M., 252 

Fisher, M. S., 137 

Fleege, U. H., 193 

Frank, L. K., 189, 193, 194, 292 

Frankl, V. E., 217 

Freeman, G. L., 25 

Freud, S., 122 

Garrison, K. C, 181 

Gasson, J. A., 261, 262, 264 

Gates, R. R., 51, 121 

Gesell, A., 87, 91, 96, 103, 106, 156, 

167, 255, 256 
Ghiselli, E. E., 19 
Gilbert, J. G., 295, 297 
Goodenough, F. L., 6, 9, 313, 325 
Greuhch, W. W., 53 
Griffiths, R., 104, 106 
Gruenberg, S. M., 166 
Guttmacher, A. F., 73 

Hahn, E., 139 

Halverson, H. M., 96 

Harris, C. W., 23 

Harris, D. B., 21, 31 

Harsh, C. M., 194, 255 

Havighurst, R. J., 47, 125, 232, 275, 

283, 284, 287 
Heathers, G., 296 
Hertig, A. T., 71 
Hetzer, H., 106, 256 
Hill, D. S., 229 
Hollingworth, L. S., 205 
Honzik, M. P., 28 
Horkheimer, M. F., 33 
Howard, R. W., 138 
Hurlock, E. B., 6, 9, 32, 62, 66, 99, 

104, 108, 181, 213, 254 
Hymes, J. J., Jr., 166 

Ilg, F. L., 156 
niingworth, R. S., 85 
Inhelder, B., 188 
Irving, F. C, 71 

Jenkins, G. G,, 111 

Jersild, A. T., 97, 104, 112, 117, 120, 

143, 181 
Jung, C. G., 261, 311 

Kalhnan, F., 121 

Klages, L., 261 

Kotinsky, R., 117, 126 

Krahn, F. A., 33 

Kuhlen, R. G., 5, 9, 55, 205, 255 

Landreth, C, 144 
Lavvrey, G. H., 105 
Lersch, P., 254, 264 
Levin, H., 43, 47 
Levy, D. M., 115 
Lewin, K., 198 
Lloyd, W., 47 

Locke, H. J., 271 
Lord, D. A., 166, 167 

McCarthy, Dorothy, 136, 137 
McClelland, D. C, 255 
Maccoby, E. E., 43, 47 
Macfarlane, J. W., 28 
McGinnis, R., 125 
Maier, N. R. F., 228 
Maslow, A. H., 119 
Millard, C. V., 32, 148, 157, 167 
Miller, D. R., 46, 47 
Miller, N. E., 228 
Mounier, E., 264 
Mueller-Eckhard, H., 133 
Murphy, G., 255, 263 
Murphy, M. N., 76 
Murray, A., 305 
Mussen, P. H., 87 

Neilon, P., 114 
Niederhoffer, A., 209, 213 
NimkoflF, M. F., 275 

O'Brien, J. A., 166, 168 
Odenwald, R. P., 85 
Odier, C, 261 
Orlansky, H., 122 
Overstreet, H. A., 254, 255 

Parsons, T., 44 

Patten, B. M., 72, 76 

Peckos, P. S., 75 

Piaget, J., 107, 109, 152, 153, 188 

Pikunas, J., 30, 32, 118, 119, 125, 

132, 133, 135, 142 
PoUak, O., 296 
Pratt, K. C, 87, 104 
Pressey, S. L., 5, 9, 55, 255 

ISlame Index 337 

Raynor, R., 97 

Redl, F., 231 

Reed, R., 275 

Remplein, H., 118, 124, 181, 261 

Ribble, M. A., 122, 124 

Ross, S., 85 

Ruggieri, B. A., 51 

Sarbin, T. R., 64 

Scheinfeld, A., 38, 121 

Schmuller, A. M., 255 

Schneiders, A. A., 181, 199, 213 

Schrickel, H. C, 194, 255 

Schwarz, B. E., 51 

Sears, R. R., 43, 47, 52, 64, 116 

Seidman, J. M., 32 

Seyle, H., 294 

Sheen, F. J., 261 

Sheldon, H. D., 306 

Shire, M. L., 139 

Shirley, M. M., 137 

Shock, N. W., 75, 298 

Simmel, C, 244 

Smith, C. A., 75 

Smith, M. E., 136-139, 144 

Socrates, 318 

Soddy, K., 87 

Sontag, L. W., 75, 133 

Spitz, R. A., 133 

Stagner, R., 123, 255 

Stendler, C. B., 124 

Stem, C, 76 

Stem, K., 261 

Stem, W., 50, 52, 120 

Stevenson, R. M., 206 

Stieglitz, E. J., 23 

Strang, R., 168, 194 

Strong, E. K., Jr., 241 

Swanson, G. E., 46 

Swift, E. H., 166 

Symonds, P. M., 186 

Rand, W., 91, 145 
Raven, C. P., 70 

Taba, H., 232 

Talbot, N. B., 174 

338 Name Index 

Templin, M. C, 134, 135, 140 
Terman, L. M., 114, 245 
Thomas, J. L., 275, 287 
Thorpe, L. P., 254, 255 
Tredgold, A. F., 87 
Tyler, L. E., 6, 9, 313, 325 

Underwood, B. J., 19 

Van Blarcom, C. C, 87 
Van Riper, C, 134 

Watson, J. B., 97, 121 
Wattenberg, W. W., 252 
Wechsler, D., 284 
Welford, A. T., 298 
Whiting, J. W. M., 52 
Winch, R. F., 125, 244 
Wineman, D., 231 
Witmer, H. L., 117, 126 
Wolff, K., 307 
Woodworth, R. S., 121 
Wuellner, B., 232, 264 

Young, F. M., 139 

Warkany, J., 75 
Warner, M. H., 47 
Watson, E. H., 105 

Zabriskie, L., 80 
Ziegel, E., 87 

Subject Index 

Achievement age (AA), 21 
Adequacy, adolescent need for, 199- 

200, 202 
Adjustment, in early adolescence, 

marital, 270-273, 282 
Adolescence, 7-8, 171-173, 192-193, 

197-232, 316, 322-323 
Adolescent conflict, 171-173, 223- 

224, 227-228 
Adolescent delinquency, 228-229 
Adolescent guidance, 249-251 
Adolescent ideals, 217-222, 229-230 
Adolescent moods, 57 
Adolescent motivation, 212, 215-232 
Adolescent needs, 197-200 
Adolescent personality, 214-217 
Adolescent self -direction (see Self- 
direction ) 
Adult pattern of life, 237-239, 249, 

change of, in old age, 296-298 
Adulthood, early, 7-8, 237-275, 323 

late, 8-9, 276-287, 317-318, 324 

middle, 7-8, 276-287, 323 
Affection, effects of, 116-117 

need for, 133 
Aggression, 186-187 
Ambivalence, 224 

adolescent, 172-173, 177 

Ambulation, 79-80 

Anger, in early childhood, 133 

in infancy, 96-97 
Anxiety, 225-227 
Appearance, interest in, 184, 202-203 

change of, in old age, 295 
Aspirations, adolescent, 184r-186, 

Attitudes, in adolescence, 216-222 

in old age, 301-303 

parental, 115-117 

in puberty, 177-178, 182-186 

Babbling, 100 

(See also Language development) 
Baby care, 80, 87-88 
Baby talk, 100 

(See also Language development) 
Behavior, daily cycle of, 95-96 

normal, 3-4 

problem, 27-29 
Biographic studies, 18-19 
Birth, 78-82, 313 

crying at, 83 

infection at, 87-88 

injuries at, 86-87 
Brain, growth of, 24-25 
Breast feeding, 124 
Buhler-Hetzer tests, 256 


340 Subject Index 

Carpal age (CA), 21 

Case studies, brief, 48, 149, 190-193, 

221-222, 250-251 
Case-study method, 1&-17 
Cephalocaudal sequence, 23 
Character development, 164-165, 
230-232, 260-261, 286-287 
Child guidance, 132-134, 136, 142, 

156, 158-159 
Child labor laws, 240 
Child training, history of, 46-47 

(See also Guidance) 
Childhood, 314-316 

early, 7-8, 131-144, 321 

late, 7-8, 15^167, 322 

middle, 7-8, 146-156, 321 
Chromosomes, 33-39 
Clothes, concern with, 203 

{See also Appearance) 
Colic, 86 

Communication, adolescent subjects 
of, 208 

among peers, 207-208 
Compassion, 134 
Complementary needs, 244-245 
Conception, 38 

Conflict, adolescent, 171-173, 223- 
224, 227-228 

core, 124 
"Conquering hero" fantasy, 186 
Control, biochemical, 174—176 

muscle, 95, 175—176 

sensorimotor, 98, 107, 109, 131- 
132, 146-147 

toilet, 109, 123-124 
Conversion reactions, 227-228 
Corrected chronological age (CCA), 

Co-twin method, 15 
Counseling, marital, 246 

vocational, 241-242 
Crying, at birth, 83 

in early infancy, 96-97 
Cultural interests, 209-212 
Culture, 43-50 

norms of, 247 

Daydreaming, in adolescence, 203— 

in puberty, 186-187 
Death, 318 

leading causes of, 318-319 

{See also Mortality) 
Deductive reasoning, 12 
Delinquency, adolescent, 228-229 
Dental age (DA), 21 
Dependent variable, 11-12 
Depth perception, 107 
Deterioration, 277-279, 283-284, 

Development, definition of, 22 

emotional, 55-58, 132-134, 154, 

moral {see Moral development) 

of muscle, 175 

principles of, 23-31, 54 

rates in, 24-25, 53-54 

of sentiments, 56-57 

sequences in, 4—6, 23 

{See also Growth) 
Developmental diagnosis, 255-256 
Developmental psychology, aims of, 

methodology, 4-6, 12-15 

terminology, 22-23 
Developmental quotient (DQ), 255- 

Developmental stages, 6-9, 28, 30 
Developmental tasks, 125, 314-317 

in adolescence, 200 

in early adulthood, 266-275 

in late infancy, 109-110 

in middle childhood, 153-154 

in middle and late adulthood, 285- 

in puberty, 179-180 

in socialization, 62-63 
Diagnosis, developmental, 255-256 
Diary, 204-205 
Diet during pregnancy, 74-75 
Differentiation, 20-21, 71-74 
Dionysian expressiveness, 283 
Divorce, 243-244 

Dols (labor pains), 78-79 
Drawing, 147 

Economic independence, 268-270 
Economic status, 277-278 
Ectodermic layer, 20 
Education, adolescent, 210, 218-220 

child, 147-152 

(See also School; Teacher) 
Emancipation from parents, 185 
Embryo, 71-73 
Emotional development, 55-58, 132- 

134, 154, 177-178 
Emotional experiences, 37 

adolescent, 224-228 

in late infancy, 110-111 

self-centered, 132 
Emotional independence, 266-267 
Emotionality, co-experiential, 133-134 

instability of, 177-178 
Endocrine glands, 25, 174-176 
Endodermic layer, 20 
Endothymic ground, 254 
Enunciation, difficulties in, 134 
Environment, 21-22 

internal, 25 

physical, 40, 107-108 
Environmentalists, 121-122 
Envy, 133 

Etiology of maldevelopment, 124-125 
Experiences, application of, 258 

sharing of, 207-208, 258-259 
Experimentation, 16 
Extrovert, 207, 224 

Subject Index 341 

Fertilization, 38 

Fetus, 73-74 

Fever, control of, in early infancy, 103 

Field-study method, 17-18 

Films (see Motion pictures) 

Filmstrips, 33 

Fraternal twins, 39, 71 

Frustration tolerance, 259-260 

Fundamental needs, 25-26, 198 

Gang age, 154, 161-162 
Genes, 38-39 

Genetic sequence, 23, 26-27 
Genital system, growth of, 25 
Gonadotrophin, 174-175 
Gonads, 173-176 

Group activities, in early childhood, 

in late childhood, 160-162 

in middle childhood, 154 
Group identification, 161, 165-166 
Growth, 20-21, 53-55, 69 

of brain, 24-25 

of genital system, 25 

measurement of, 21 

physiological, 37, 53-54, 71-74, 

prediction of, 30-31 

(See also Development) 
Guidance, adolescent, 249-251 

child, 132-134, 136, 142, 156, 

infant, 42-44, 47-48, 61-62, 103, 
110-111, 115-120 

Family, 40-44, 311-312 
Family problems, 245—246 
Fantasy (see Daydreaming) 
Father, 42-44 

roles of, 272 
Fear, in early childhood, 132-133 

in infancy, 97, 123 
Feeble-mindedness, 60 
Feeding, breast, 124 

Habits, 118-119 

Harvard Growth Study, 153 

Health, in early infancy, 102-103 
in middle adulthood,' 278-280 
in old age, 293-294, 298-301 
in puberty, 178-179 

Heart defects, 89 

Height age (HA), 21 

Hereditarians, 121-122 

342 Subject Index 

Heredity, 21, 38-40 
Hobbies, 279 

Home, establishment of, 270, 272 
Homeostatic mechanisms, 102 
Human model, 229-230 
Hydrocephalus, 89 
Hypnosis in childbirth, 79 
Hypothesis, 11-12 
of critical period, 124 

Ideals, adolescent, 217-222, 229-230 
Identical twins, 39, 71 
Identification, group, 161, 165-166 

peer, 179-180, 229, 230 

sex, 162-163 

teacher, 210 
Imagination, in early childhood, 136, 

in late infancy, 106 

(See also Daydreaming) 
Immaturity, 27-30, 237-239 
Independence, early signs of, 110- 
111, 117-118 

economic, 268-270 

emotional, 266-267 

social, 267-268 
Independent variable, 11—12 
Individual dijBFerences, 23-24 

in neonate, 89-90 

in senescence, 291—292 
Inductive reasoning, 12 
Infancy, 313-314 

anger in, 96-97 

early, 7-8, 95-103, 320 
needs in, 98-99 

intelligence in, 106-107 

late, 7-8, 105-111, 321 

security in, 123-124 
Infant, care of, 80, 87-88 
Infant guidance, 42-44, 47-48, 61- 

62, 103, 110-111, 115-120 
Infant mortality, 80-82 
Infant personality, 113-125, 314 
Infantile omnipotence, 122 
Infection at birth, 87-88 

Inheritance, 21, 38-40 
Injuries at birth, 86-87 
Integration, 20-21, 31 
Intellect, decline of, 300-301 

maturation of, 37, 59-60, 141, 
152-153, 159-160, 187-188 
Intelligence, 59-61 

in infancy, 106-107 

measurement of, 60-61 
Interests, in adolescence, 197, 200- 

cultural, 209-212 

in old age, 302-303 

personal, 201-207 

social, 207-209 
Introspection, 10 
Introvert, 207, 224 
Isolation method, 14-15 

Jealousy, 133 

Labor, stages in, 78—79 

Lalling (babbling), 100 

Language development, 11, 100-101, 

Late adult years, 8-9, 276-287, 317- 

318, 324 
Law and adolescent interest and con- 
flict, 212 
Leadership in late childhood, 160 
Learning, 20-21, 61 

in early infancy, 98 

in family situations, 270-271 

in late childhood, 159;-^160 
Life, basic tendencies otV22 

increasing span of, 305-307 
Lightening, 78 

Literary self-expression, 204—205 
Logic, propositional, 187-188 
Love, in adolescence, 222-223 

in puberty, 186 

Maldevelopment, etiology of, 124- 

Marital adjustment, 270-273, 282 
Marital counseling, 246 
Marriage, 206-207, 242-246 

and education, 269 

prerequisites for success in, 244— 

readiness for, 242-243 
Masturbation, 183-184 
Maternal mortality, 80-81 
Maturation, definition of, 22, 253-254 

preadult, 247-249 

sequence of, 26-27, 254 

sex, 174-177, 183-184 
Mature person, 253-254, 262, 287 
Maturity, and adjustment, 263 

criteria of, 256-262 

levels of, 253-254 

studies of, 254-256 

testing of, 255-256 
Measurement, of growth, 21 

of intelligence, 60-61 
Mental age (MA), 21 x 

Mental decline, 284, 293-297 
Mental deficiency, 60 
Mental retardation, 27 

{See also Mental deficiency) 
Metabolism, 25-26 
Methods, cross-sectional approach, 

developmental-level approach, 5-6 

dimensional approach, 4-5 

longitudinal approach, 13-14 

scientific, 10-12 
Mezodermic layer, 20 
Middle adult years, 7-8, 276-287, 

Miscarriage, 73—74 
Moods, adolescent, 57 
Moral development, in early child- 
hood, 142 

in late childhood, 165-167, 260- 

in middle childhood, 155 
Mortahty, infant, 80-82 

maternal, 80-81 

of prematurely born, 87-88 

Subject Index 343 

Mother, 43-44 

narcotic-addicted, 89 

roles of, 273 
Motion pictures, selected and anno- 
tated, 32-33, 66, 92, 127, 168, 
194, 233, 308 
Motivation, adolescent, 212, 21.5-232 
Motor growth, 54, 10.5-106 

in early childhood, 131-132 

in late infancy, 107-108 
Muscle, development of, 175 
Muscle control, 95, 175-176 

Naming stage, 108-109 

(See also Language) 
Nature-nurture controversy, 121-122 
Needs, in adolescence, 197-200 

complementary, 244-245 

in early infancy, 98-99 

fundamental, 25-26, 198 

in old age, 297, 303-304 

sensitivity to, 259 
Negativism, 117-118 
Neonatal period, 7-8, 320 

adjustments in, 83-84 
Neonate, 82-90 

behavior of, 84, 113-114 

feeding of, 90 

needs of, 85 

survival of, 86-89 
Neurotic tendencies, 225-228 
Newborn {see Neonate) 
Normal behavior, 3—4 
Nutrition in early infancy, 102 

Observation, svstematic, 11-12 
Obsession, 226 
Obsessive-compulsive behavior, 225- 

Occupational status, 206-207, 278 
Oral traits, 122 
Organismic age (OA), 21 
Ossification, 175-176 

344 Subject Index 

Ovulation, 38 
Ovum, 38 

(See also Zygote) 

Pain in labor, 78-79 
Parental roles, 42-44, 115-117, 119- 
120, 220 
change of, in late adulthood, 280- 

image of, 122-123 
Parents, attittides of, 271-273, 280- 
emancipation from, 185 
overprotective, 206, 220-221, 273 
Parties, adolescent, 208-209 
Peer identification, 179-180, 229, 230 
Perception, infant, 106 
Perfectionism, 185-186 
Permissiveness, informed, 249-250 
Personal interests, 201-207 
Personality, 214 

in adolescence, 214-217 
development of, 119-121 
infant, 113-125, 314 
in middle adulthood, 277-280 
niveau of, 261 
in old age, 296-298 
theories of, 121-124 
understanding of, 4 
Personality age (PA), 21 
Physiological decline, 277-279, 283- 

284, 291-294 
Physiological growth, 37, 53-54, 71- 
74, 105-106 
{See also Growth) 
Pituitary, 174-175 
Play, in early childhood, 131-132 
in early infancy, 101 
in late infancy, 107-108 
in middle childhood, 146-147 
Politics, adolescent interest in, 212 
Preadolescence, 7-8, 158-167, 322 
Pregnancy, 70-71 
diet during, 74-75 
and illness, 75-76 

Prejudice in adolescence, 221 
Prematurity, 87, 90 

{See also Mortality) 
Prenatal period, 7-8, 69-76, 312-313, 

Primacy, principle of, 42 
Problem behavior, 27-29 
Progressive-education policy, 160 
Projection, 225 
Proximodistal sequence, 23 
"Psychic birth," 311 
Psychoanalytic theory, 122-124 
Psychosomatic disturbances, 178—179 
Puberticism, 204, 238 
Puberty, 7-8, 53-54, 171-192, 322 

delayed, 177 

love in, 186 

precocious, 176-177 

Questioning, child's, 59, 141, 148 

Rationalization, 225 

Reading in adolescence, 211-212 

Reasoning, deductive, 12 

inductive, 12 
Recreation, 207, 212 

in old age, 296-297 
Regression, 225 
Religion, 261-262 

reevaluation of, 211 
Religious experiences, in adolescence. 

in early childhood, 142 

in middle childhood, 155 

in puberty, 188 

{See also Character; Moral devel- 
Remorse, 183 

Responsibility, readiness for, 260 
Responsiveness, differential, 256-257 
RH, RH-, 89 
Rivahy, 159, 161 
Roles, experimentation with, 238 

Roles, father, 272 
mother, 273 

parental {see Parental roles) 
social, 153-154 

School, 45-46 

entrance into, 147-149 
influence of, 151-152, 210 
readiness for, 147-150 
resistance to authority in, 210 
slow learners, 150 
subjects, 153 
termination of, 239-240 
Science, 10-11 

interest during adolescence in, 211 
Scientific method, 10-12 
Security, in adolescence, 199 

in infancy, 123-124 
Self-acceptance, 164, 182-183, 202- 

Self-assertion, 110, 121, 223-225, 282 
Self-concept, 63-65, 120-121, 155- 
156, 182-184, 216-217, 223, 
283-284, 300-301 
development of, 50-51, 64-65, 111, 
117-118, 143-144, 155-156, 
163-165, 180, 189 
identity of, 63-64 
preoccupation with, 144, 182-186 
Self-defenses, 224-225, 281-283, 

Self-direction, 22, 120-121, 143-144, 
152, 154-156, 180 
adolescent, 205-207, 216-217, 220, 
231-232, 260-261, 268, 314- 
Self-expression, literary, 204-205 
Self-realization, 21-22, 111, 119-121, 
155-156, 182-184, 204-207, 
216-217, 229-230, 249, 263, 
274, 281-283, 297-298 
Senescence, 8-9, 291-307, 317-318, 

Senility, 292 

Subject Index 345 

Sentence, length of, and age, 134-140 
Sentiments, development of, 56-57 
Sex, determination of, 39 

and heterogeneous interests, 162- 
163, 216-217, 222-223 
Sex identification, 162-163 
Sex instruction, 166-167 
Sex maturation, 174-177, 183-184 
Sexual capacity, decline of, 278-279, 

Social awareness, heightened, 178, 

Social class, 49-50 

and child management, 47-48 
Social dechne, 284-285 
Social independence, 267-268 
Social interests, 207-209 
Social roles, 153-154 
Social status, index of, 47 

in old age, 303-304 
Social "weaning" in puberty, 189 
Socialization, 61-63 

in early adulthood, 246-247 

in early childhood, 141-142 

in late infancy, 110-111 

levels of, 61-63 

in middle adulthood, 277-278 

in middle childhood, 154 
Society, 46 

and the senescent, 304-305 
Somatic disequilibrium, 146 
Somatotrophin, 174r-175 
Speech, 100-101 

adult, 134 

criteria of, 108 

tasks in developing, 134-136 
Spermatozoon, 38 
Spina bifida, 89 
Status, adolescent need for, 199 

economic, 277-278 

occupational, 206-207, 278 

social {see Social status) 
"Sufi^ering-hero" fantasy, 186 

{See also Daydreaming) 
Sympathy, 133-134 

346 Subject Index 

Teacher, and problem children, 149- 

role of, in school, 45-46, 150-152 
Teacher identification, 210 
Teaching aids, 335 

{See also Filmstrips; Motion pic- 
Teaching religion, 219 
Teething, 28 
Television, 44-45 
Temper outbursts {see Anger) 
Thymus, 25 
Thyroid, 175 

Toilet control, 109, 123-124 
Twins, fraternal, 39, 71 

identical, 39, 71 

Understanding, changes in, 26-27 
U.S. Children's Bureau, 33 

Vaccination, 102 

Values, in adolescence, 217-219 

in old age, 301-302 
Variable, dependent, 11-12 

independent, 11-12 
Viability, 73 

Vineland Social Maturity Scale, 255 
Vision, decline of acuity in, 278, 300- 

Vital age (VA),21 
Vital statistics of United States, 80-82 
Vocabulary, 134-136 
Vocation, acquiring of, 239—242 

adolescent concern about, 206-207, 

in old age, 295 

selection of, problems in, 241-242 
Vocational counseling, 241-242 
Voice, control of, 203 

Weight age (WA),21 
Weltanschauung, 229-231, 261-262 
"Will to meaning," 217 

X chromosome, 39 

Y chromosome, 39 

Zygote, 69-71 




Returned ' 




SEP '' 


-^ tJOf 

^ ^0^^ JUL 2 81 

. • « « 


' - 4flTT) 


.jl'i ^ 




^^ ' ^ .r 










Psychology of human developmen main 

3 15t.E D3EflT 7DME