A Study Examining How Children’s Self-descriptions and Their Locus of Self-knowledge
Develop With Age: Using Rosenberg’s (1979) Self-concept Research
This study is centered on Rosenberg’s (1979) self-concept research and aims to examine how children’s self-description and locus of self-knowledge change over time. Based on open-ended, semi-structured interviews, self-descriptions and locus of self-knowledge responses from two children (Annie: 8 years and Kirsty: 16 years old) were identified and coded using Rosenberg’s (1979) categories. Textual, category analysis was carried out on the data sample, determining whether there was a pattern of responses, indicating developmental progression in children’s self-concept. The results presented found that there was a difference in responses given by different aged children and these results are consistent with Rosenberg’s (1979) findings. Future studies would benefit from acknowledgement of possible socio-economic and cultural differences as well as establishing the potential impact of power dynamics on responses given in the adult-child interview condition.
Identity, based on sense-of-self or self-concept is believed to develop over a long period and as Maccoby (1980) suggests, “self-awareness develops incrementally and is produced by understandings which become more and more complex”. This suggestion is relevant since it highlights the idea that it continues to mature throughout childhood.
The sense-of-self is divided into two steps- ‘I’ (‘self-as-subject’) and the ‘me’ (‘self-as-object’), where once a child has developed a certain level of self-awareness (the ‘I’), they are then ready to place themselves and be placed by others (the ‘me’). James (1892) These categories are used to define who they are, developing a sense- of-self.
Social context is viewed as vital in self-concept. Cooley (1902) referred to a metaphorical ‘looking-glass-self’, describing how sense-of-self is...