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Personal Growth and Development

Psychology 101 TuThu 3:30-4:45 The concept of personal development has been an important factor that shapes the characters we develop, and the overall person we become. Research suggests that many of the values and traits we possess stem from both genetics and the environment. In terms of genetics, hereditary traits are passed down from the mother and father, which play a huge role in personal development, but research and personal experience also suggest that the impact of the environment parallels the importance of genetics.

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Environmental factors have been proven to significantly impact the growth and development of an individual. The home the individual is raised in, the people they are surrounded by and the individual’s role model all play an important role in the molding of the individual. Such is the reason why cultural relativism impacts individuals, and guides the way they perform tasks, execute decisions, and their way of thought. The American culture, for example, has slowed down the transition of adolescence into adulthood due to cultural ideals, and the greater need to pursue a higher education in order to compete successfully in the country.Research by the 1958 National Child Development Study, and the 1970 British Cohort Study support these statements, and have shown that we have reached a generation in which adolescents are transitioning into adulthood more slowly, yet more psychological stress is placed on them, and reports of depression have raised since the 50s. Personal growth and development traces back to genetics. Each individual is born with a specific set of genes depending on the mother and father.Genetic traits such as weight, height, appearance, and in some cases, personality, are passed down the hereditary line, and predisposes individuals to certain traits and qualities. The health of the individual is also largely influenced by the care taken by the mother while the fetus was developing within the womb. Proper nutrition, and avoiding neglectful habits such as drinking and smoking, all help to shape the health of the individual from the time they are born. The environment we are raised in is also another factor in the shape and development of an individual.Take for instance the study that examined how environment affects individuals such as siblings, twins, and kids not related by blood, but raised in the same environment. It is shown that even twins who exited the womb during the same birth can come out profoundly different in their adulthood if they were raised in a different environment from their twin. The food that we eat, the habits that we employ, and the overall lifestyle of the individual play an important role as well as genetics.Two similar children who are raised in different environments may possess the same genetic traits, but overall can be distinguished by the environment they were raised in. Cultural relativism plays a role as well in the well-being of the individual. Being raised in America sets a different standard for living vs. being born elsewhere. In America, individuals are taught to be creative and unique, rather than conform to group ideals. It is in this culture that children are taught to employ creative ideas, and to break away from the grain.In other cultures, such as those in China, kids are raised to follow the grain, and rather than question elders and peers, are taught to accept what is given and told to them. With that in mind, the transition into adulthood has also slowed down due to various factors such as cultural acceptance, and the need to pursue a higher education in order to be more competitive in the job market. As the years pass, so does the standard of education raise as more occupations open up to individuals with special skills and knowledge achieved through a higher education in college.Although this slower transition into adulthood and independence may seem less stressful for individuals, studies from the British Cohort Study show that individuals in the 70s vs. the 50s reported more cases of depression, and stress due to factors such as economic recessions which hindered the job market availability. This generation is especially pressed to reach higher educational goals as the market for unskilled labor reduces as the market for skilled labor increases hindering the transition into adulthood and independence.In conclusion, personal development and growth are influenced by several factors such as genetics, environment, cultural relativism. These factors shape an individual in specific ways. Genetics passed on influence one’s height, personality, and predispositional thinking that affect the person in everyday situations. Proper health from the time the embryo is implanted is necessary for a healthy baby. The environment also plays a role in the shaping of the individual. The home one was raised in, the nutrition, and overall lifestyle impact the health and behavior of a person.Cultural relativism also plays a role, as culture follows an individual around regardless of location, and influences what one finds acceptable, and follows due to social norms. Because of the need for a higher education in today’s job market, a slower transition into adulthood can be traced to the need for more schooling, and a slower transition to independence.References Spiro, Melford E. (2001). Cultural determinism, cultural relativism, and the comparative study of psychopathology. Ethos. Berkeley:. Vol. 29, Iss. 2; pg. 218, 17 pgs. Huffman, Karen (2010). Life Span Development I. John Wiley and Sons, Psychology in Action 314-347.