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Why am I Inferior to Him

Author: LiYiMin
Tutor: KongKeQin
School: East China Normal University
Course: Basic Psychology
Keywords: students inferiority feelings implicit inferiority social comparison the inferiority feelings questionnaire implicit inferiority measures inferiority structure self-esteem
CLC: B844.2
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2008
Downloads: 1764
Quote: 1
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Inferiority is one kind of human feelings that pervades all aspects of our lives, including Chinese students’ lives, and is considered as the main factor to their achievements and mental health. Unfortunately, either western psychologists or Chinese psychologists haven’t done in-depth studies on inferiority, which is not commensurate with the importance of inferiority. In our opinion, it is urgent to carry out researches on inferiority, which will not only enrich the studies on self, personality psychology and health psychology, but also give guidance to mental health education, counseling, psychotherapy.Based on the fact of Chinese students’ inferiority, the present study mainly explored students’ inferiority and proposed a general distinction between the feeling of inferiority and the implicit inferiority with the former was defined as the perceived feelings of inferiority to others and thus viewed as one’s shortcomings as the possible results of Social Comparison with others while the latter was defined as an implicit construct that was the introspectively unidentified trace of past inferiority feelings. So, the instrument to measure inferiority should be developed based on Social Comparison Theory.According to this distinction, the present study first explored a set of questionnaires to measure the structures of inferiority feelings and then tried to demonstrate the existence of the implicit inferiority from the view of Social Comparison Theory. Next, based on this distinction, studies on the inferiority structure and the relationships between inferiority and self-esteem were carried out.The first study developed a set of questionnaires to measure primary school students, middle school students and college students respectively the structures of inferiority feelings, and revealed that life inferiority feelings, academic inferiority feelings and social (personality) inferiority feelings were the most important dimensions of students’ inferiority feelings structures while the constitutions of each dimension among primary school students, middle school students and college students were respectively different. Furthermore, personality inferiority feelings played a role of media during the shape and development of students’ inferiority feelings, and resulted in the development of students’ social inferiority feelings. In addition, a preliminary norm was supplied to assess the level of students’ inferiority feelings. And such demographic factors as gender, origin, singleton, major, grade produced an effect on students’ inferiority feelings.Then, the existence of the students’ implicit inferiority was demonstrated by conducting IAT, EB and CFII measures which seemed to be the appropriate and sound measurements of implicit inferiority. Especially, the materials used in IAT and EB measures were derived from the items of the inferiority feelings questionnaires, and in IAT measure the college student subjects were divided into three groups with each group conducted with different materials.Next, based on the former studies on inferiority feelings and implicit inferiority, inferiority structure was discussed and divided into four types, namely Type High Implicit Inferiority /High Inferiority Feelings, Type High Implicit Inferiority/Low Inferiority Feelings, Type Low Implicit Inferiority/ High Inferiority Feelings, Type Low Implicit Inferiority/ Low Inferiority Feelings. As the results showed, about 1/3 to 1/2 of the student sample were high implicit inferiority, while 50% to 60% of which were high inferiority feelings. And personality differences among subjects with different inferiority structure were showed on the feeling dimension of YG measure. In addition, when the level of implicit inferiority is fixed, those with high social inferiority feelings are inferior to those with low social inferiority feelings in two dimensions of interpersonal competence in peer relationships, i.e. asserting displeasure with others’ actions and managing interpersonal conflicts. Results also showed that mental health is not so much due to implicit inferiority as to inferiority feelings.Last but not least, based on the former studies on inferiority feelings and implicit inferiority, the relationship between inferiority and self-esteem was discussed. The results showed that implicit inferiority, inferiority feelings, implicit self-esteem and explicit self-esteem are the very different structure with proper convergence validity from each other. In addition, the results revealed that those with low explicit self-esteem are not necessarily with high inferiority feelings, and vice versa. So, it was not proper to talk "low explicit self-esteem means high inferiority feelings" in generalities.

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