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Ссылка для цитирования
Якимова Л.С., Кравцова Н.А. Представления о семье у студентов с разным уровнем перфекционизма // Медицинская психология в России: электрон. науч. журн. – 2015. – N 3(32). – C. 10 [Электронный ресурс]. – URL: http://mprj.ru (дата обращения: чч.мм.гггг).
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Representation on family in students with different levels of perfectionism
Yakimova L.S., Kravtsova N.A. (Vladivostok, Russian Federation)
Abstract. The article presents the results of empirical study performed to define the representation of family in students with different levels of perfectionism. The research included 60 students of the Medical University (38 girls and 22 boys) aged from 17 to 22. Research techniques: N.G. Garanyan and A.B. Kholmogorova Perfectionism questionnaire, E.G. Eidemiller Normative Resistance technique, Family Picture projective technique, a study of marital stereotypes through interview with the possibility to choose the most appropriate stereotypes from the proposed list. Analysis of the results of perfectionism study has shown the prevalence of high indices according to the "the perception of people as delegating high expectations" scale. Analysis of gender differences has shown that girls have a significantly higher level of general perfectionism (P<0.05) and higher indices according to the "perception of people as delegating high expectations" scale and the "high standards of performance with orientation to the most successful people" scale (P<0.05). The high level of normative resistance of the family representation in the general sample (1.06) has been identified. Normative contrast in the sample has been M=1.74, no significant gender differences have been revealed. Students of the sample are characterized by expressed sensitivity and sharp responses to difficult situations that may cause their intolerance to various situations in family life. The most popular as well as the least popular family stereotypes have been defined. Students with high levels of perfectionism according to the "the perception of people as delegating high expectations" scale strongly believe that people should be satisfied with what they have. Their family representations are characterized by patriarchal attitudes. The students with high indices according to the "inflated claims and demands to oneself" scale have shown the attitude on strict fulfillment of home duties. High indices according to the "polarized thinking" scale are associated with irrational belief that a loved one should guess all their thoughts and wishes without asking. The students with "high standards of performance with the orientation to the most successful people" have shown egalitarian attitudes of family representation, focus on understanding and supporting each other and belief that the spouses should spend a lot of time together.
Key words: students; perfectionism; stereotypes.
Recent decades have witnessed qualitative changes in the society structure. They resulted in substantial changes of social values, ideals and way of life of young people, which, in their turn, could not but affect the representations of family. This issue has been studied in many researches [3; 4; 9; 18].
The representations of family in young people largely determine the choice of a future spouse. They occur as fragmentary copies of the image of ideal family existing in society and are refracted by the psychological uniqueness of a person [8; 9].
The representations of family affect both the fact of creating a family and development of interactions between spouses [1; 9]. A modern young family is characterized by the mismatch of representations about family roles [3; 4]. Differences in the spouses’ representations of family roles and values appear to cause a lot of marital conflicts [1; 9]. G. Lagonda (2010) determines marital expectations as a specification of marital needs, which affects in determinative way the formation of matrimonial relations . At the same time, we can say that expectations themselves are directly related to the past family experience of a person and the content of representations of relations between spouses.
Nowadays we see a lot of young people with high levels of perfectionism. According to classic definitions, this concept included one parameter — a person’s tendency to set excessively high standards and, as a result, impossibility to be satisfied with the results of his or her performance [5; 11].
The research of V.А. Yasnaya and S.N. Epifantsev (2007) has shown that neurotic ways of realizing needs in love, approval, support, domination, public admiration and recognition are typical for perfectionists . Perfectionists’ interpersonal relations are characterized by possible conflicts and breakups because of excessively high demands and expectations from people around them. These relations can be competitive because perfectionists compare themselves with other people and lack intimate and trust-based relations, besides, they are jealous and envious to other people [8; 14; 15; 16]. Perfectionism is manifested in proneness to set unrealistically high standards and strive for them ignoring the reality, which can provoke suicidal behavior [17; 19]. Since perfectionism is one of personality characteristics, its structure and level are related to the system of personal representations and I-image . The sphere of family relations is one of the basic systems of a person. So we can suggest that there is connection between perfectionism and representations of family.
A great number of researches devoted to representations of family have been undertaken by now. The analyzed researches of perfectionism generally aim at studying its connection with performance quality and its influence on mental disorders and development of negative personality traits [14; 17; 19; 20; 21]. The influence of perfectionism on interpersonal relationships is mentioned only in a few researches [2; 7; 15]. A number of studies are devoted to the specific features of interfamilial relations associated with personal peculiarities of spouses and their systems of representations [6; 10; 13]. Studies of the connection between family representations and perfectionism level are not presented in scientific works, which proves relevance of this issue.
Empirical study has been undertaken to define the representations of family in students with different levels of perfectionism.
Sample and research methods
The research has been performed from December 18, 2012 to March 22, 2013 at the premises of Pacific State Medical University (PSMU). The sample included 60 students of PSMU aged from 17 to 22; 38 girls and 22 boys specializing in Medical Care (n = 31), Pediatrics (n = 15) and Clinical Psychology (n = 14).
Research methods. N.G. Garanyan and A.B. Kholmogorova Perfectionism questionnaire , E.G. Eidemiller Normative Resistance technique , Family Picture projective technique and a study of marital stereotypes through interview of students and the request to choose three most appropriate stereotypes from the proposed list have been used to evaluate the level of perfectionism.
Analysis and discussion
The perfectionism indices have been analyzed to define average indices according to the scales and a mean square deviation in general sample and in male and female subgroups. Analysis of perfectionism indices structure has shown the prevalence of the highest average indices according to three scales: "the perception of people as delegating high expectations" (M = 11.72), "inflated claims and demands to oneself" (M = 11.18) and "high standards of performance with orientation to the most successful people" (M = 10.66). The comparison of these indices with the results of healthy subjects of T.Yu. Yudeeva’s study (2007) allows to see that the above mentioned indices slightly exceed the indices of this study: "the perception of people as delegating high expectations" (M = 11.0), "inflated claims and demands to oneself" (M = 10.7) and "high standards of performance with orientation to the most successful people" (M = 9.1) . The indices according to the "selecting information about personal mistakes and failures" scale are the lowest (M = 5.22). Gender differences analysis has shown that girls have a higher level of general perfectionism (P < 0.05). Significant gender differences have been revealed according to the "perception of people as delegating high expectations" scale: girls — M = 13.24, boys — M = 9.09 (P < 0.01). Therefore we may state that it is more typical for girls to consider other people as imposing inflated requirements to them. Girls also have higher indices (M = 11.26) according to the "high standards of performance with orientation to the most successful people" scale than boys (M = 9.36, P < 0.05).
Fig. 1. Perfectionism structure in PSMU students
Perfectionism structure in PSMU students
Note: ** — P < 0.01, * — P < 0.05
The research has revealed normative resistance (12 variants and more have been selected as the most shameful) in 53 students out of 60 (88.3%). The lack of normative resistance has been revealed in 6 girls and only 1 boy. Normative contrast (ratio of shameful situations to non-shameful is 0.8 or more) in the sample is: M = 1.74, (SD = 0.821). Normative contrast in the female group with normative resistance is M = 1.67 (SD = 0.792), normative contrast in the male group with normative resistance is 1.91 (SD = 0.813). Accordingly, we may conclude that 88.3% of students in the sample are characterized by expressed sensitivity and sharp responses to difficult life situations. This may cause intolerance to various situations of family life and become one of the reasons of problems in future family life.
Normative Resistance technique enabled us to determine the most rejected and the most tolerable facts of family life among the students. The results are shown in Table 2.
The choices of acceptable and unacceptable situations in family life
Students consider child abuse to be the most unacceptable fact in family life (19 persons have chosen this fact as the most unacceptable). A suicide attempt has been chosen as the most unacceptable fact by 11 students; domestic violence has been mentioned by 9 female students. As we see, low-paid and low-statute job is considered the most acceptable fact in family life (it has been chosen by 22 persons). This is directly associated with the fact that many students work as watchmen and hospital attendants during their studies. Expecting a baby from one person and getting married to another one is quite acceptable for 8 students. Being jealous of a child’s partner is considered normal by 5 students. Qualitative analysis of the results has shown that family is one of the core values among students with low level of normative resistance. They consider it very important in family life to stay faithful to the spouse and to keep each other’s secrets. Norms, traditions and family rules are of great value for them. 5 out of 7 students with low level of normative resistance believe that if feelings cool down, they can be revived.
The study of marital stereotypes by means of interviews of students with the request to choose five most appropriate stereotypes allowed to allocate the most and the least popular ones.
The most and the least popular marital stereotypes among students from the sample
As we can see, interviewed students think that relations between spouses should be friendly first of all. This reflects pecularity of juvenile age when friendship is the most valuable thing. Partners should be aware of each other’s wishes and do their best to realize all of them. Nevertheless, the desire to get the best can cause frustration in one of the partners and family impairments in future. Many young people think that they should not speak about problems in their relations outside the family. Therefore the Russians seldom visit specialists (family psychologist, psychotherapist) in order to cope with various family impairments. Patriarchal attitudes are more typical for boys.
Age and social homogeneity of the sample allowed to find out the unity in family stereotypes according to the formula proposed by V.S. Ivashkin and V.V. Onufrieva for defining axiological-unity (AU % = (n-m)/Nx100 %). The unity in our sample is 40.7%, which means an average degree of unity in the representations of family among the interviewed students.
The analysis of family pictures has shown that 49 works out of 60 are pained in aesthetically beautiful, diligent, neat manner. This possibly shows that the students are serious about their participation in the research and have an emotionally positive attitude toward their family. Positive emotional background has been revealed in 44 pictures out of 60 (such details as flowers, trees and sun are depicted; family members have smiling faces and look happy). 11 respondents performed the pictures carelessly and schematically, which possibly shows the students’ attempt to conceal their true feelings under the mask of carelessness. Such pictures possibly reflect emotional closedness, restraint and psychological defenses. The sun is depicted in 18 pictures. It may mean an energy source or a significant person. The sun is located on the left side in 11 pictures. It possibly shows that the significant person belongs to interviewee’s family. The sun is depicted on the right side in 6 pictures. This enables us to assume that a significant person or an energy source is outside the family.
The signs of favorable family situations and harmonious interfamilial relations (thoroughly drawn hands, short distance between family members, hand contact) can be seen in 22 pictures. The signs of difficulties in emotional contacts (hands drawn in a simplified form, long distance between family members, roughly drawn family members) are revealed in 12 pictures. Many students have depicted pets as family members. Full family is depicted by 30 respondents. Only 18 pictures represent either one parent or no parents at all. It means that the majority of students have both parents.
The qualitative analysis of results allows us to suggest that majority of students have positive attitude towards family — a family is a source of support and energy. According to the students’ representations, all family members gather for a lunch or festal dinner and spend their holidays or vacations together. This suggestion is affirmed by a large number of pictures where family members are depicted at the table or at their leisure time. Pets are often depicted as family members. The majority of pictures show the interviewees’ parents standing together; holding hands. It possibly means that they have good friendly relations (they support and help each other) and are both in relatively equal positions. Women are frequently depicted brighter than men, while men are drawn larger. Thus, the students’ representations quite comply with traditional views: a husband should supply and support family, while a wife is responsible for emotional background in the family.
Some pictures contain only one parent or no parents at all. Family representations of these students are characterized by lack of belief in friendly relations between partners, which is typical for students from full families who have depicted both parents.
Qualitative analysis has revealed some peculiarities of family representations in students, whose results according to some indices of perfectionism are above the average.
Students with general perfectionism level above the average take child abuse more inappropriate (in comparison with family violence and suicide) than students with perfectionism level below the average.
Trust and understanding are the main values in relations for students with high indices according to the "Perception of people as delegating high expectations" scale. This can be determined by high importance of surrounding people and a strong belief that people should be satisfied with what they have. Family representations of such students are characterized by patriarchal attitudes.
Students with high indices according to the "Inflated claims and demands to oneself" scale are characterized by the focus on strict fulfillment of home duties. In comparison with other groups, these students are much more likely to repulse adultery despite being loyal to jealousy manifestations. It can be caused by high level of aspirations. This is also typical for students with a high index according to the "polarized thinking" scale. Students with high indices on the "Polarized thinking" scale are likely to think that a loved one should guess all their thoughts and desires without asking. Such irrational belief can cause family impairments.
Students with perfectionism level above the average according to the "High standards of performance with orientation to the most successful people" scale suppose that spouses should understand and support each other in everything and spend a lot of time together. However they think that family relations limit personal freedom. According to the representations of this subgroup, all housework should be divided equally. Unlike students with diagnosed proneness to perceive people as delegating high expectations, family representations of these students are characterized by egalitarian attitudes. This feature is also specific to students with high indices according to the "Selecting information about personal mistakes and failures" scale. They believe that if feelings cool down, they can be revived.
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Yakimova L.S., Kravtsova N.A. Representation on family in students with different levels of perfectionism. Med. psihol. Ross., 2015, no. 3(32), p. 10 [in Russian, in English]. Available at: http://mprj.ru ↑
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