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Finding answers to questions as to what real changes people is not an easy task, since there is existence of complexity that results from existence of complexities of diversity among people (Duncan and Goddard, 2010). Different psychological schools of thought exist, which provide different recommendations for changing human behavior based on their assumptions about human nature and motivation. Salvatore Maddi work forms a strong ground upon which analysis of personality can be undertaken (Duncan and Goddard, 2010).
For instance, the author divides various theories of personality into three broad categories: conflict theories; consistency theories; and fulfillment theories (Duncan and Goddard, 2010). The understanding of the author is that an attempt or comprehensive effort to understand personality of individuals can best be undertaken within these three broad theories.
The concept of personality is diverse, complex, and broad; hence, the three models may not exhaustively and adequately address or solve dilemma that exists with regard to personality, but in essence, they provide concrete foundation upon which understanding of human personality can be propagated. Therefore, the essence of this research paper will be to analyze these categories of personality models and subsequently attempt to develop an integrated model of personality.
Conflict models have been propagated by many authors largely led by Sigmund Freud who asserts that the core tendency in humans is “to maximize instinctual gratification while minimizing punishment and guilt” (Maddi, 1989 cited in Duncan and Goddard, 2010).
As humans strive for this, they come into conflict with the society hence there arise need to manage individuals’ drives if the common good is to be maintained (Duncan and Goddard, 2010). The paramount essence of conflict models when adopted is to train individuals on how to gratify their own needs while at the same time respecting the needs of other people (Duncan and Goddard, 2010).
At the same time, individuals need to be trained on how to facilitate cooperation in order to maximize their gratifications while at the same time appropriate training for individuals in order to reduce tension while minimizing their guilt and punishment (Duncan and Goddard, 2010).
On the other hand, consistency models postulate that all humans express the desire to reduce the tension or difference between expectation and reality. Consistency models asserts that individuals seek to maintain a level of activation to which they are accustomed and when in general people are under-activated, they seek more stimulation while on the other hand when they are over-activated they seek to reduce stimulation (Duncan and Goddard, 2010).
The last model categorized by Maddi is that of fulfillment model, where the author explains that instead of perceiving the world as two great forces in conflict with each other, fulfillment models pay more attention to one great force, the realization of one’s abilities or the striving toward ideals (Duncan and Goddard, 2010).
Major theorists associated with this model include Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. Maslow asserts that individuals cannot move to higher levels of functioning when the lower needs are yet to be fulfilled. Therefore, majority of people are concerned with aspects of safety, belongingness, and esteem while at the same time bringing out the personal possibilities of individuals (Duncan and Goddard, 2010).
Developing an integrated model of personality
The presence of the diverse personality theories makes it challenging to identify the best model that can be used to explain human reality. However, according to Maddi (1989), “there exist considerable empirical support for both versions of the fulfillment model and the activation version of the consistency model” (cited in Duncan and Goddard, 2010, p.98).
Conflict model asserts that conflict is inevitable in any social arrangement in which persons are part and participate but even with these, individuals can be helped on ways to meet their needs while in the same measure respect the needs of other groups. Consistency model further posit that provide encouragement to individuals to be mindful of the activation levels while fulfillment models provides an optimistic picture that personal development can be achieved through supportive processes (Duncan and Goddard, 2010).
Many authors have postulated and advised that, in adopting any personality model there is need to establish a unique combination of models that can be beneficial and act as guiding philosophy (Duncan and Goddard, 2010). An effective integrated model of personality in real sense has to address the diverse needs of human personality needs (Deutsch, Coleman and Marcus, 2006).
Salvatore Maddi writing an in article titled ‘The Continuing Relevance of Personality Theory’ observes that personality theories need to include core, peripheral, and developmental statements (Craik, Hogan and Wolfe, 1993). With regard to core statement, the attempt has to be made on assumptions about what binds all human beings together and that what do they share in common.
In most cases, these assumptions will involve or constitute the unlearned, inborn aspects of motivation, temperament, and potentialities (Craik, Hogan and Wolfe, 1993). In other words, core statements are concerned with overall purpose of human life and majority of theorist including Sigmund Freud asserts that core statements are heavily biological (Craik, Hogan and Wolfe, 1993).
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Nevertheless, other theorist have expressed different views about biological nature of core statements, instead pointing out that core statements has to do with attempt of humans in trying to achieve appropriate functioning, that is, self-expression and self-determination (Allport, 1955 cited in). the aim of the core statement is to identify how individual resemble or appear to be similar to each other, a situation that has led some theorists to postulate that within individuals, there exists individual differences.
In addition, Rogers (1959) noted that, although majority of humans are striving to actualize their inherent potentialities, the same humans are radically differentiated by these potentialities (Craik, Hogan and Wolfe, 1993).
Peripheral statement on its part with regard to personality theorizing posit that, there are various life-styles that characterize the thoughts, feelings, and actions of adults (Maddi, 1988 cited in Craik, Hogan and Wolfe, 1993).
For instance, in real situation, life styles constitute according to Freud’s theory the oral, anal, phallic, and genital character types that are subsequently related to traits such as motives, or defenses and these types, traits and defenses proposed in peripheral statement refer to motivational and expressive characteristics that are learned rather than inborn (Craik, Hogan and Wolfe, 1993).
In other words, peripheral statement constitutes a way in which individual differences are explained with regard to behavior. Lastly, regarding the developmental statement, personality theorizing posit and try to express core shared by many individuals lead to differences in life-style involving periphery. The major issue here is the consideration of how learning take place where in most cases personality theories analyze child-parent interactions which is seen to be formative in the development of lifestyle.
Other consideration has been made between individual-society interactions, which are seen to be important as well. Personality development is seen to continue throughout life, while on the other hand, lifestyle is seen to be the product of learning in childhood years (Craik, Hogan and Wolfe, 1993).
The most important aspect to put in focus in an attempt to develop personality theory is that the process of personality theorizing is a largely implicated behavioral phenomenon that once is absent, then the whole process of personality theorizing becomes stale.
In summary, it can be said that development of an integrative model of personality needs to be properly done whereby the theorizing process draws input from such areas as learning, cognition, physiological, social, measurement, developmental, and even abnormal psychology (Craik, Hogan and Wolfe, 1993).
Integrative theory of personality remains a challenge in the field of psychology for numerous reasons that in large part are contributed by fragmentation and divisiveness that exist in the field of psychology. Fragmentation and divisiveness has been associated with the tendency of theorists in the field to act solely excluding ideas and information of other theorists.
In most cases, personality theories need to express the breadth and depth that integrates information from other areas of psychology but observation made is that majority of theorists tend to commit themselves to one of the personality theories disregarding and excluding other theories.
As a way to experience departure from this notion and embrace integrativity of personality theory, personality theorists are advised to follow certain procedural steps. These steps include carrying out comparative analysis of the various theories that exists before outlining how to develop an integrative theory.
The next step is to classify the theories into the smallest number of models. The third step is to enhance and encourage consistency by pinpointing out the issues that arise from the disagreements between these categories of models. In short, any consistent effort to create and establish an integrative model of personality is an achievement that can lead to adequate and concise explanation of personality issues among individuals.
Craik, K. H., Hogan, R. and Wolfe, R. N. (1993). Fifty years of personality psychology. NY: Springer. Web.
Deutsch, M., Coleman, P. T. and Marcus, E. C. (2006). The handbook of conflict resolution: theory and practice. MA: John Wiley and Sons. Web.
Duncan, S. F. and Goddard, H. W. (2010). Family Life Education: Principles and Practices for Effective Outreach. NY: SAGE. Web.