Learning tools and theories to identify and measure

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Last updated: September 27, 2019

Learning and understanding different personality of people is much more than a subject studied in Psychology as personality is a big part of people’s identity. Understanding personality can help individuals understand themselves and other people around them. Today, the majority of teenagers face issues of finding out who they are and how to have better personality to fit in with school and group of friends. This problem is very important in our society because many students have difficult time making friends and becoming successful after they graduate. Over the past decades, many experts have used a wide range of tools and theories to identify and measure personality as well as personality disorders. These techniques can allow psychologists to find out how people think, act, and behave in certain ways, and they can further use the information to offer treatment to individuals with personality issues. This essay discusses the common personality issues among students and what can be done to help them to become more successful in life. Although there are many theories of personality, the first important step is to understand exactly what personality means.

Many researchers and psychologists have given the definitions for personality. In 1999, Walter Mischel explained personality as “the distinctive patterns of behavior (including thoughts and well as ‘affects,’ that is, feelings, and emotions and actions) that characterize each individual enduringly. By 2001, another psychologist, Funder, described the term personality as “individual’s characteristic patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior, together with the psychological mechanisms — hidden or not — behind those patterns.” In addition to this, a similar definition is given by Feist and Feist in the year 2009, which said that “Although no single definition is acceptable to all personality theorists, we can say that personality is a pattern of relatively permanent traits and unique characteristics that give both consistency and individuality to a person’s behavior.” (Cherry, 2017).

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Nowadays, many teenagers during their school years have problems about personality disorder. In most cases, a person’s personality is affected and influenced by their experiences as well as the surrounds (life situations). However, when a person has a personality disorder, he or she will think, feel, and behave differently from other people or from the expectations of the culture and society, which can cause issue in life management and leads to stress. Some children may develop personality issue from a young age, but they do not realize that they have the problems. Therefore, it can become difficult to treat later on in life. This is why it is essential for the parents to watch out for signs of personality differences and strange behavior of their children, such as extreme anger (Parekh, 2016).

One of the most common personality issues or mental illness faced by many students today is depression. There are many common causes of depression, such as people can receive it from relatives (inherited traits) and they may have traumatic events from childhood (abuse or loss of parents) (Mayo Clinic, 2017). Depression in teen is a very serious problem because it can cause feelings of sadness and loss of interest in school and outside activities. When students suffer from depression, they will feel the weakness that takes control and they cannot fully function in their life. Depression can definitely “affects how teenager thinks, feels and behaves, and it can cause emotional, functional and physical problems” (Mayo Clinic, 2017). So, how can parents know that the students are suffering from depression? The first important sign is withdrawal – young teens might stop doing activities or something they really like.

Another key sign is changes in mood, such as sudden sadness or annoyance, while other signs can include loss of appetite, lower energy level, and worsen performance in school (Steingard, 2016). Understanding and finding solutions for depression among students is very important as it can negatively affect their performance in school and their relationship with friends. Students can have a hard time focusing in class and communicate with teachers and friends; therefore, this can lead to lower performance and bad grades.

Moreover, teens can have problems about planning in everyday basis, organizing things, and completing tasks at school and at home. If students fail in school, this will have a bad impact of their personality even more in terms of self-confidence and self-esteem (Chia, 2007). Statistically, one study about depression found that the percentage of teens with depression jumped from 8.7% in 2005 to nearly 12% in 2014, and that is a 37% increase. The data is quite disturbing because this can lead to more problems with family and society (Schrobsdorff, 2016). In order to fix the problems, it is important for teachers and parents to notice the possible signs of depression and try to prevent them from getting worse. There is no sure way to solve depression but at least parents can be aware of it. First, the family has to reach out for support from psychologists and other friends so they can receive more advice.

Also, students can get treatment right away if they are diagnosed with depression. The school must also know about the situation in order to handle the problem correctly. Apart from depression, another personality issue that always occur for teenagers is bullying. Bullying can occur in many forms such as bully talk and aggressive behavior. In nearly every school, it is reported that bullying has become a big issue for many students. The problem gets worse nowadays because there is the growth of technology and social media, which give a new way to teenagers to bully other people. “Cyberbullying is bullying that happens online and via cell phones through the use of websites like Facebook, MySpace, Tumblr and Formspring that allow kids to send hurtful, ongoing messages to other children 24 hours a day. Some sites, such as Tumblr and Formspring allow messages to be left anonymously.

” (American Psychological Association, 2017). Students with bullying personality means that they lack good and moral social behavior, and they can be confused and angry. Many studies suggest that bullies are not troubled by stress and do not fully understand how other people feel. This is because it is possible that they see themselves positively and feel they are better than others. Of course, bullying cannot exist without the victims. The more the victims show fear of being bullied, the more they are likely to be bullied. Bullying is very serious issue that happens every day around the world, especially in school settings, and this can have very bad effects on students. According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, male students are more likely to face bullying than female students.

More importantly, students who are bullied tend to have lower academic achievement, lower self confidence, and a decrease in their academic abilities. The lead author of the study also explained that children who are bullied are less likely to engage in academic studies due to the distractions that bullying causes (Gorman, 2017). Statistics have confirmed that there are serious harm done from bullying. A large percentage of kids, at 30%, who are bullied hurt themselves through cutting and others, while another 30% think about committing suicide. Apart from this, 20% of students skip classes because they do not want to be bullied at school, whereas about 10% of children turn to drugs and alcohol because they need an escape from bullying (Whiteman, 2015).

Even though bullying is a big problem and hard to fix, both parents and school staff can help together to solve bullying. When bullying occurs, it is important the school maintains its awareness of increase reporting of bullying. Some schools have hotline to help and other schools use a “bully box” to encourage students to drop a note in the box if they see bullying in school. Moreover, when bullying happens, the parents and students need to know that the school will deal with the problem seriously.

For example, school can provide training for teachers on how to deal with bullying, post classroom signs stopping bullying and explaining the consequences, and send rules about bullying to parents and put in community newspapers so that everyone can know about it (Schargel, 2014). Another final personality problem that is commonly seen among students today is narcissism. Narcissistic personality disorder is mental condition about individuals who have a bigger sense of their own importance. Generally, they have a need for a lot of attention and approval, may have difficult relationship, and a lack of empathy for others.

One doctor found that “within this group, we found common behavioral traits as well: a chronic need to please; an inability to identify feelings, wants, and needs; and a need for constant validation. This group of patients felt that the bad things that happened to them were well deserved, while the good things that happened were probably mistakes or accidents.” (Segura, 2010). Students with narcissistic behavior can have many problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs as they will often feel depressed and disappointed when they’re not given the special favors or approval they believe they should get. In addition, when they react with anger and try to belittle other people to make themselves appear better, it is difficult for them control their feelings and actions. Sometimes, they may have secret feelings hidden inside, such as insecurity, shame, and embarrassment (Dingfelder, 2011).

According to some researchers, there is a rise of narcissism as there is an 80 percent increases of middle-school students scoring above in self-esteem in 2006. It is more than 1988 average of middle-school, from one study (in the review of General Psychology, Vol.14, No.3).

In college student, level of people who are narcissism have continued to grow since 1970, and the research suggests that younger people and teenagers are much more likely than older adults to have the symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (Dingfelder, 2011). Many experts believe that the use of social media a lot helps create to narcissistic behaviors in teenagers especially. This is because there are several factors that cause the rise in narcissism in young people today, such as the focus on wealth and physical attractiveness.

The more teens use social media, the more they want to present themselves in a cooler way and show they are attractive through photos and profile (Lyon, 2008). Many researchers are finding a relationship between social media and rise in narcissistic behavior. “It’s not just attention-getting or wanting to be liked, but a “pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration—an exaggerated sense of self-importance where the person believes they are special and require excessive admiration from others.” The worry is that too much of narcissism and an unhealthy belief and exaggerated view that “I’m better than all” can turn into a personality disorder that impact a person’s psychological and emotional well being  (Borba, 2016). Therefore, parents should limit this type of behavior in children. From Dr. Rosen’s study in 2008 (Schrader, 2017), it is found that parents who created strict rules and limitations have children who have more self-esteem and do not feel pressure by their friends. Furthermore, the research suggests that parents become active participants in their child’s life by listening more and keeping up-to-date on the latest technologies, apps, and trends.

This is important because they can help monitor the behavior of the children when they go online or have social media interactions. This can help control narcissistic behavior among teens and create a good life balance for students to help them achieve a more successful life in school and as adults. To summarise, our society can see a growth in the number of personality problems among teenagers today.

The issues of depression, bullying, and narcissism can all lead to negative effects on their lives because they lack the ability to control how they feel and have a hard time making themselves be better. Because of this, parents and schools must monitor and find several solutions to help solve personality issues so that students can have a more successful life in the future.

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