Analysis: Using Rosenberg's Study Of Self-Description

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Title: An analysis of how children’s identity develops over time: using Rosenberg’s study of self-descriptions (1979).


This report is an analysis of two semi structured interviews investigating the ways individual children give self- descriptions, and how these change with age. An 8 year old girl and a 16 year old boy were interviewed separately in a familiar environment. They first wrote down their chosen self-descriptions which were then discussed with the interviewer. These were followed by a series of questions relating to self-evaluation, self and others, ideal self and the locus of self-knowledge. The results were coded using the same methodology the researcher Rosenberg used to analyse children’s self-descriptions in
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The interviewer got the participant to elaborate upon each of his/her ‘I..’ statements in turn. In addition, he asked the following questions:

What are your best/weakest points? (self-evaluation)

In what ways are you the same/different to others? (self and others)

What kind of person would you like to be when you are older? (ideal self)

Who do you think knows you best - about how you are doing at school, or about how you behave at home? (locus of self-knowledge).


Self Descriptions: Two children’s interviews were analysed and compared using Rosenberg’s categories of self-descriptions. Table 1 is a comparison of Annie’s and Adam’s categories of self descriptions:

Table 1

|Category |Percentages for Annie |Percentages for Adam |
|Physical |80% |40% |
|Character |20% |20% |
|Relationship |0% |10% |
|Inner |0% |20%