Studying of features of life scenarios among the first-year students: gender aspect

The article deals with the features of development of life in the period of adolescence. In the article the content of the concepts «life scenario», «subject» and «conflict» has been revealed, and the short characteristic of adolescence has been given. The urgency of the research has been proved. The characteristic of selection and procedure of research have been submitted. The main themes, positions and requirements, their connection with conflicts and affirmations have been described; distinctions in life scenarios of young men and girls are specified. The contents of life scenarios, main themes, dominating demands and positions have been defined, specificity of relationship with partners has been revealed. The most significant affirmations for interaction in the social, family and professional sphere have been described. The results of our research have shown gender differences in life scenarios of the young men and girls, distinctions in the time transpective.

Psychology has long been interested in the question of degree of consciousness of human life. Nowadays identification and correction of problems of life scenario are urgent. It is caused by the change in culture, change in traditional social roles and various family problems. Definition of influence of parents on life scenarios of children is also an actual direction of research in the current cultural and historical stage.

Every person in the childhood, typically unconsciously, thinks of the future life, life purposes, requirements and affirmations. The routine behavior of a person is defined by his or her mind, and a person can only make plans for the future, for example, what his or her spouse will be like, how many children will be in their family, etc.

It was A.Adler who started talking about life scenario rather clearly, from the psychological point of view. He considered that the ratio between two main personal strengths — social interest and pursuit of superiority, defined the lifestyle of a person, his world view and world perception [1; 198].

Later, Eric Berne started developing this direction; in his early works he defined life scenario as «the unconscious life plan». After, he gave more complete definition: «The plan of life is formed in the childhood, supported by parents, comes true in the course of events and reaches peak at a choice of a way». The scenario is what a person in the childhood plans to do in the future. The scenario is a gradually developed life plan formed in the early childhood generally under the parents’ influence [2; 201].

Adolescence is interesting for our research because in this age the life scenario actively starts to appear, the time comes for its realization. Young men and girls have a real opportunity to build their own relations with partners; their relationship with parents is transformed; they start entering the professional activity.

For studying this matter we conducted a pilot research among 10 people (5 young men and 5 girls) at the age of 17 years old. To achieve the goal, we used Thematic Apperception Test of Henry A.Murray. Our respondents were shown 20 black-and-white images which they had to describe, following the offered instruction. After respondents made stories, we analyzed the received results by means of the content analysis, allocating as basic components the following criteria: subject, requirement, character, conflict, character’s position, description of a character [3; 38].

Subject is an area of activity, a party in the relations with the world which is reflected in the story.

  1. Personal subject — character’s actions and feelings, connected with his or her personal position in life, the attitude towards themselves, definition of own opportunities and future
  2. Intimate subject — the relations between lovers or between spouses, love relations of any kind excluding any sexual relations and sexual experiences which are allocated in a separate
  3. Sexual subject — the description of either sexual relations, or sexual experiences of some
  4. Family subject — the relations between children and parents, and between other relatives in the context of family relations. The basis for assertion of family subject is not attributing family roles to characters, for example, mother and daughter (which is insufficiently), but the events between them which can relate to the family sphere, or some other area of the relations.
  5. Professional subject — the relations between colleagues, schoolmates in work or study, the character’s attitude to work or study. It is not enough to name here the office status of characters. What important is the contents of the described
  6. Social subject — the human relations which are not reduced to the five previous Here, in particular, we speak about random contacts between people in public places, problems of material security, poverty and wealth, attitude to the authorities and social institutes [4; 311].

Demands directly reflect both emotional and behavioural aspects of interaction with people around. urray defined 20 basic demands. In our research the following demands were shown (тable). 

Definition of demands according to H.Murray

 Definition of demands according to H.Murray

Character is the most interesting person for the narrator, whose point of view is accepted by him, whose feelings and motives are represented most intimately. The character, as a rule, is similar to the narrator in gender, age and social status; he shares some of his feelings and purposes.

Conflicts are divided on external and internal. External conflicts are the conflicts between the character’s demands and purposes on the one hand, and external barriers i.e. external circumstances or interests of other characters, on the other. The internal conflicts are the conflicts between the character’s demands on the one hand, and his internal barriers, on the other.

Character’s position — there are four types of position — active, impulsive, contemplate and passive.

Active position is characterized by activity and purpose; such person realizes the course of his/her life, is capable to take an active position toward it and control it.

Impulsive position is characterized by activity and lack of consciousness; such person tries to control his/her, but is not able to fully comprehend it. Life control takes the form of the chaotic and impulsive decisions and changes which aren't connected by uniform logic and life purpose.

Contemplate position is characterized by consciousness and lack of activity. Such person realizes the events of his/her life as something separate from «Self», but this person isn't able to influence them because of his/her conviction in impossibility to do it (an external locus of control), or neurotic uncertainty in himself, his/her forces and opportunities.

Passive position is a lack of consciousness and activity toward one’s life, a complete passive obedience to circumstances, acceptance of everything that occurs as inevitable and uncontrollable [5; 202].

After carrying out the research and processing of the received results, we managed to find features of designing life scenarios among young men and girls.

In our selection of young men we discovered the violation of time transpective. The young men in their stories didn't speak about the period of childhood at all, the description begins from adolescence.

The young men under research identified themselves in their real state with teenagers, adolescents, young men.

In a farther time transpective, the young men considered themselves as people with a certain force, trying on a role of «soldier», «Neanderthal man», athlete, thus describing the character as suppressed, sly, feeling discomfort and a certain oppression, hopelessness, need of subordination, but at the same time the person was characterized by them as a cheerful, sincere, with a good sense of humour. Similar ambivalence and inconsistency in the description of characters can indicate the strained and disturbing perception by young men of more adult age period.

The basis of young men’s life scenario was formed by personal subject (perception of oneself in the past, present and future). Such demands as achievement, humiliation, overcoming difficulties, autonomy and aggression prevail in the personal subject of our young men’s life scenario. Thus the position of the described men is rather active, which shows the connection with demands.

The woman’s position is described as active; they have such demands as humiliation, affiliation and search for help.

The second important position among young men is given to social subject (relationship in society), here they act as «soldiers», «fighters», «workers», «friends» and simply «friends». Furthermore, they need close relations, it is important to feel support in any situation, they appreciate the loyalty of friends.

The men's position is described as active, however, the women who are present in the social subject also take active position.

Achievement, aggression and rejection prevail among men’s demands. Women, according to young men, need affiliation and achievement in social subject.

In the intimate sphere the man sees himself, first of all, as a husband, describing character as weakwilled, «henpecked husband», at the same time angry, and busy, saying «now time for women».

Here the need for an affiliation, which is the leading demand of female partner, comes out on top. Also there is an aggression, perhaps as a response to woman’s attempts to dominate. The man seeks for achievement and domination. The need for humiliation is also expressed.

The conflicts in intimate subject are mostly external, the man prefers to escape from them into alcoholic intoxication or to wait until it resolves by itself.

The character takes an active position, the woman in intimate subject also takes active position.

In the description of a woman such epithets as individual, authoritative, demanding, silly, light-minded, also she can be heart-broken, feel grief, melancholy and jealous.

In family subject the young men, obviously identifying themselves with children, note an offense on parents, difficult childhood, describe the character as disturbing, suppressed, the victim of circumstances.

The child’s main demand is autonomy, also there is achievement, affiliation, search for help and overcoming difficulties is equally important. Here the child takes active position.

In the stories the mother can be surprised, shocked, angry, she can worry, be touched, poke the nose into other people's affairs, teach people to live. She doesn't want to let her children go. The mother shows the need for domination, care, aggression and affiliation. The mother’s position is active. The father appears less often in the stories. He is described as strict, mocking, cheerful, hardworking, at the same time he is reserved, wants to protect his child from problems. The father has a demand in domination and care, his positions are impulsive and active.

In the analysis of life scenarios of girls the following results were found.

In personal subject the girls have more detailed time transpective (the characters boys, girls, teenage girls, women and men are present). The leading demand is affiliation, there are both internal and external conflicts, their position is active. From the point of view of characters description in girls’ life scenarios, the characters were described as sad, lonely, closed and shy. The girls (an actual age state) are characterized as strong, successful, proud, oppressed, broken and vulnerable. Women are happy with their lives, pacified, beautiful, dreamy, or angry, lonely, worthless. For men’s characters the main demand is humiliation as an ability to concede, accept punishment and apologize. They take passive position. From the point of view of the description, the men’s characters were described as gloomy, angry, stubborn, strong, ruthless and lonely.

In intimate subject the husband and the wife are the main characters. The wife’s main demands are affiliation and care; the husband’s main demands are affiliation and achievement. Both spouses have active position.

According to the description the woman having the partner is characterized as kind, sincere, confident, beautiful and diligent. As soon as her relationship with her partner get worse (they enter the open conflicts), she becomes sad, offended and greedy.

The man who is described as the faithful partner is characterized as strong, kind, clever, sincerely loving. As soon as there are situations of adultery, the man is transformed to an angry, cowardly and impulsive timeserver.

Thus, we can note that girls have expectations that the relations with their partners will be based on mutual liking; their care of the man will also become a basis of their relations. They expect the masculine model of behavior from the man — achievement. They think that relations between lovers have to be harmonious, that is there must not be any conflicts between partners.

As a result of this subject, we can note that the main female needs for an affiliation persist. As in the previous subject, the girl have the affirmation on care of those people in society to whom they take a liking; still they need to preserve their own borders as an autonomy. The tendency to conscious and active behavior (active position) remains. But descriptive characteristics of girls change. They become successful, proud, competitive, envious and lonely.

The young men’s demands also change, achievement and aggression become leading demands, active position also remains, but from the point of view of the description, the man starts bearing threat, he is aggressive, malicious, likes to order.

Family subject describes the interaction between children and parents, and also between other relatives in the context of family relations.

In this subject there also were children and parents. The children are characterized by autonomy, achievement search for help, humiliation and demonstration. The most expressed positions for them are active and passive (lack of consciousness and acceptance of all events as inevitable). Children were described as vulnerable, diligent, sad; that they cannot resist the influence of parents and do not receive enough attention from them.

Characters-parents were divided into the mother and the father. The mother’s demands are affiliation and care, for the father’s the most typical demands are affiliation and domination. The mothers were characterized by active and passive position, the father’s position is impulsive (such person tries to control his life, but he is not able to fully comprehend it; life control takes the character of chaotic and impulsive decisions and changes which aren't connected by logic and life purpose). The mothers were described as kind, happy, quiet, hyper caring, ready to offer life for the sake of their family. The fathers were characterized as anxious.

By the results of this subject it should be noted that our examinees have affirmations on the full family in which the child is overprotected, tries to resist parents and feels a lack of sincere love.

The analysis of the received results gave us the following conclusions:

  1. The girls have more detailed time transpective (perception of oneself in the past, present and future). In life scenarios of girls such characters as girls, teenage girls, women and men are present in personal sub-In our selection we have noticed this feature: young men do not have a complete picture in the time transpective, i.e. the description begins with teenage age, missing the childhood period.
  1. Personal subject is the basis of the life scenario of both girls and young men, but subsequent hierarchy changes: the girls have intimate, social and family subject. The young men have social, intimate, family and professional

This indicates that for girls the inner referent surrounding is important, but for young men a wide range of communication in the social sphere is important.

  1. Presence of professional subject in life scenario of young men indicates the importance selfrealization in profession, building the

The life scenarios of the girls didn’t have professional subject.

  1. In social subject the man who isn't causing liking and affiliation was perceived as a threat and comThe women characters practically did not appear in the young men’s subject.
  2. Internal and external conflicts in personal subject of both girls and young men in life scenario can indicate the imbalance of the motivational sphere: motives of achievement and avoiding failure are equally expressed and depend on definite
  3. The number of the conflicts among girls is sharply decreases when they get older, but the number of the external conflicts among young men
  4. The main need for life scenarios of girls is the affiliative demand irrespective of a scenario

The young men’s leading demands are achievement and autonomy, and only in intimate subject the main demand is affiliation.

  1. In intimate subject both young men and girls perceive themselves through a prism of spouses (the husband and the wife), but not through a prism of It can indicate the importance of serious relations (love which leads to creation of a family).
  2. In life scenario of the girls there is an affirmation that men is a threat (they were described as gloomy, angry, stubborn, strong, ruthless, lonely). Thus they take passive position, and their main demand is humiliation as an ability to concede, accept punishment and to In intimate subject as soon as the man starts causing sympathy, the woman expects from him active manifestations (active position) and achievements of results (to show the force and opportunities, to do something difficult well and quickly).

In intimate subject the young men have the affirmation that the woman is authoritative, demanding exacting, individual; she has mercenary ends; she can be demonstratively angry, sometimes thoughtless, silly and jealous.

  1. In family subject the girls have the affirmation on a full family where the child is overprotected, he or she tries to resist parents and feels a lack of sincere love (there are offenses on parents).

Young men in this subject have affirmations on absence of the father (an image of an incomplete family). Thus they also have offenses on parents.

To summarize, we can say that the results of our research have shown gender differences in life scenarios of the young men and girls, distinctions in the time transpective. 



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Year: 2015
City: Karaganda
Category: Philosophy