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June 1952

GROWTH OF THE INDIVIDUAL'S CONCEPT OF SELF: Theory and Some Pediatric Considerations

Author Affiliations

From the Neuropsychiatric Clinic of the Greenwich Hospital, Greenwich, Conn.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1952;83(6):719-732. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1952.02040100017001

THE FINAL significance for the individual of any feature of his growth and development will depend on his own concept of himself. By the phrase concept of himself (or self-concept) is meant how the individual sees himself in relation to the world around him. As an illustration of the force of this self-concept one may consider the case of the adolescent whose good I. Q. is rendered ineffectual by the pervasive feeling he has of being stupid. The result of objective testing of his mental powers, important though it may be in the assessment of his potentialities, fails to account for his performance.

In a sense, then, there are two general ways of looking at psychological data, from an outer or observational frame of reference and from an inner, personal or motivational one. The observational approach has added much to our knowledge of childhood behavior. One need only mention the