What are the Social Factors That Affects Personality Development?

The environments of different individuals are very much different from one another and so also their effects, but the influence of environment on personality can roughly be divided into that of home; school and society. All these three play an important part in the development of personality.

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1. Influence on Home on Personality

The environment of the home has a wide influence on the development of personality. This influence, as a general rule, is according to the patterns found in a Particular culture. In the family the relation of child with the parent


Is the most intimate the cultural development of the child is very much influenced by the behaviour of the parents e.g., a child brought up in Indian family will be very much different in his behaviour than another brought up in western culture.

But even in the same culture much difference can be observed in the parent-child relationship in different families e.g., generally the child has a respectable place in Indian family, but all Indian parents do not sufficiently love and sympathies with the child.

In such circumstances much repression is observed in child’s behaviour. He becomes an introvert .and often enjoys in his dreams, day-dreams and imaginations things which are denied to him by his parents. The influence of the presence of the parental love is again not the same in the face of all children.

A child may become aggressive while another may become submissive in the same circumstances. On the other hand, if the parents show excessive suffocation towards her child, the child may became an extremist and excessively dependent upon the parents.


A child excessively ignored shows different types of conflicts in his personality. Children brought in the psychological clinics for the curse of defects of personality showed that an important cause of their defects was the behaviour of their parents towards them.

According to segment Fraud, the tendency to depend upon the parents in the childhood is manifested in the tendency to depend upon the leader in the adult age.

If the child is allowed freedom in the matters concerning his belongings, food, clothes, books, etc., he will develop a habit of free will, if all these are decided by his parents he will not get any opportunity to utilize his judgment and so become over dependent or submissive.

Parents are more powerful and efficient than the child. Hence, they are the ideals before him. The child wants to become like his parents. Thus, he establishes his identification with either of the parent and tries to follow his manners, ways and behaviour.


The child also fulfils his frustrated desires through this identification. It has been observed that the little boy wears the big shirt of the father and walks proudly like him with a stick in his hand. This identification with the parents in the childhood is later on converted into the identification of the individual with the leader.

In the absence of affection and sympathy, the child often turns criminal. While discussing the causes of criminal tendencies Heavy and Bronner had emphasized three factors: the effort to get rid of the painful circumstances, the tendency to revenge for the misbehavior of the father, the efforts to satisfy the frustrating desires.

Often the child has the curiosity as to from where the younger brother or sister has come. The answer to this question by the parents has an important effect on his personality. The child has a natural curiosity towards the sex tendency.

Often the parents try to suppress his curiosity towards sex or they just rebuke when he asks such question. But the child in not silenced by this he tries to enquire from the servants or friends in the house.

But this leads to guilty conscience. The reaction in the parents about the everyday matters in the family also affects the personality of the child. The relations of the mother and father among themselves also affect the personality of the child.

It has been observed that the behaviour of the eldest and the youngest, the elder or the younger is not the same in the family. Similarly, it has been found that the parent’s behaviour towards them is not also the same.

This has led the psychologist Alfred Adler, to emphasize the importance of birth other in the development of personality.

The birth order of the child fixes the status in the family which decides his roles which affect his personality. The younger child is treated with affection by everyone, hence he becomes over dependent.

The eldest child becomes self-sufficient and tyrant, because being the only child for sometime he does not share his rights and things with others. The birth of another child in the family has an important influence on the child, since it takes away his monopoly in affection and sometimes he is neglected altogether.

The above description of the child’s problem based upon the conception of birth order has not been conclusively proved. The researchers have found similar conflicts in different birth orders.

Adler has truly said that the individual develops his style of life from the pattern of his early lie in the family, but there are no grounds to suppose that this style of life remains un-changed in future.

2. Influence of School on Personality

School also has an important influence on the personality of the child. In school both the teachers and class fellows mould his personality, just as in the family the parents are ideals before the child so are teachers in the school. The child hates the cruel and strict teacher.

On the other hand, he respects good and sympathetic teachers. The personality of the teacher and his behaviour towards the child both exercise important influence on child’s personality. The child tends to identify himself with the teacher and tries to imitate his ways, manners and personality traits.

Besides the teacher the classmates and playmates exercise important influence on the personality of the child. These constitute a group in which every child has his own particular status and roles corresponding to it.

One can see the leader, the dare devil and the scapegoat child in the group. The leader is the mind of the group. He plans adventures and games.

The dare devil executes them while the scapegoat is left to receive the blame and consequent punishment. In different types of groups of children, different traits of leadership are required according to the purpose. Thus, sometimes the intelligent child leads while at other times the leader is theater devil. This particular role in the group determines the future role of the individual in a society. This, however, is not without exceptions.

3. Influence of Society on Personality

Society is a web of social relationship. These social relationships connect men and women with one another. These interpersonal relations influence and mould the personality of the individual.

In the society each individual has some peculiar status and roles corresponding to them. For example, in Hindu community, members of different castes have different social status in society.

The roles and function of an individual are determined his status. This mechanism controls the behaviour of the individuals. Social control is further exercised by more, traditions, myths, legends, customs, etc.

These determine the style of life of the individual. The individual cannot behave in the society as he likes. Society punishes the individual who breaks its norms.

The fear of society is often more powerful than even the fear of heaven and hell or punishment by the state. Therefore, social norms influence been the ways and attitudes of the individuals. This ultimately influences his personality.

The individual adopts the prevalent patterns of social behaviour. That is why one notices so much difference in the behaviour and personality of members of different societies.

This however, does not mean that there are no individual differences in the same society. In fact, in every society one can find men and women who scarcely care for the social norms. But in every case, personality is affected by the social environment.

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