Self-Determination Of Students With Different Levels Of Self-Realization

Abstract

The need to study the role, place and significance of self-determination of university students during their self-realization explains the relevance of the given paper. During adolescence, at the time of professional, personal, and social self-determination and the beginning of an individual's self-realization, the capability to make an independent choice appears to be a necessary personality quality. The ability to self-determination allows an individual to make decisions, choose the sphere of self-realization and realize his potential according to his interests and desires, complying with external conditions and requirements. The object of the study is the self-determination of personality. The subject of the study is the manifestation of self-determination among university students with different levels of self-realization. As a result of an empirical study involving 280 university students, the authors determined factor structures of self-determination in subjects with harmonious, adaptive, inert, and irrational levels of self-realization. The parameters of self-determination that ensure the success of self-realization are presented as follows (in order of importance): 1) life awareness; 2) a person's confidence in the availability of choice (autonomy) and a sense of conformity of life to desires (self-expression); 3) the presence of a subjective model of the desired result (goal setting), the possibility and ability to evaluate the achieved result (evaluation criteria); 4) self-management skills.

Keywords: Life awareness, personal autonomy, self-realization, self-determination, self-management skills

Introduction

The study of the self-determination of personality in modern psychology is becoming the most relevant in connection with the conditions of a constantly changing world and an enormous amount of information that fills a person's life. Self-determination acquires the most considerable importance in youth during the period of professional, personal and social self-determination and the beginning of self-realization of the individual. In this regard, the study of this psychological phenomenon and its role in the students' self-realization is relevant.

Subject of the study

The subject of the study is the manifestation of self-determination among university students with different levels of self-realization.

Scientific novelty

The scientific novelty of the study consists in the description of the manifestation of particular indicators of self-determination (autonomy, self-expression, life awareness, and self-management skills) of students with different self-realization skills. It results in considering the most favorable values (levels) of the studied parameters of self-determination during students' self-realization. From a scientific point of view, the conclusions obtained in the study can be used in further research of this problem. It will contribute significantly to the idea of self-determination as a personal resource of students' self-realization. From the perspective of practical application, the research results presented in the article will help build a strategy for psychological support of vocational education aimed at harmonizing the determinants of professional self-realization.

Problem Statement

In their work, Ryan and Deci (2017) considered self-determination as human activity and an ability to choose self-development orientation independently. Self-determination implies a person's desire for independent, autonomous behavior in harmonious interaction with the environment, considering its conditions, rules, and laws.

A similar definition of self-determination was given by Kaliteevskaya et al. (2007), who believed self-determination to be the highest form of personality self-regulation, a person's ability to act independently of external circumstances and unpredictably for outside observers, but at the same time following their logic and beliefs.

Bogomaz et al. (2019) defined self-determination as a person's ability to choose and make choices by feeling rather than by external reinforcements and stimuli. The basis of self-determination is a person's internal position being a dynamic system of motivational and affective-semantic regulation of vital activity. The prevalence of internal motivation and internalization of behavior serve as quantitative characteristics of a person's inner freedom. Perikova et al. (2021) associated self-determination and the inner activity of students with life satisfaction.

Thus, self-determination is the ability of a person to make a conscious choice based on their interests and needs, taking into account external conditions. This quality can be a considerable condition for a personality's successful self-realization. It involves a person's awareness of his capabilities and potentials and their realization in various activities, social and personal self-realization.

Research Questions

According to Apanasenko et al. (2021), it is especially significant to form the ability to adapt one's professional and personal goals to the development trends of modern society in the process of self-realization. This process does not put the individual in contradiction with society but, on the contrary, contributes to its active transformative role. On the other hand, society itself and an educational organization can also contribute to self-realization and an individual's productive life in case of self-reflection and the creation of a value system that promotes the education of healthy youth (Shutenko, 2018).

In Kudinov's polysystem model, self-realization is understood as a set of instrumental-stylistic and motivational-semantic characteristics that ensure the constancy of aspirations and readiness for a person's self-expression in various spheres of life during ontogenesis. Different conditions actively affect a person's self-realization: psychological, social, psychoecological, psychophysiological, and pedagogical. Favourable conditions determine the success of personal self-realization (as cited in Kudinov et al., 2017, 2018). At the same time, self-determination allows a person to minimize their influence on the personality during self-realization.

In modern foreign psychology, self-determination is considered as a phenomenon that allows regulating emerging needs and focusing on higher needs (the need for self-actualization and self-expression) while ignoring basic physiological needs (Armstrong, 2019; Krems et al., 2017; TadićVujčić et al., 2017; Van Egmond et al., 2017). Shogren et al. (2017) noted that independence, autonomy, and self-determination contribute both to predicting future independent life and success in educational and professional activities in youth and embody this (Howard et al., 2020).

Purpose of the Studу

The purpose of the paper is to study the manifestation of self-determination among university students with different levels of self-realization.

Research Methods

We conducted an empirical analysis in which 280 students aged 18 to 25 participated in research on the manifestation of self-determination among university students with different levels of self-realization.

Psychodiagnostic method

The diagnostic tools were made up of the following techniques: "Self-determination test" constructed by E. N. Osin - modification of K. Sheldon's self-determination scale (as cited in Osin & Leontiev, 2008); "Test of life-meaning orientations" by D. A. Leontiev (as cited in Kaliteevskay et al., 2007); "Self- management skills test" by Peisakhov (1984); "Questionnaire of personality self-realization" by Kudinov (as cited in Kudinov et al., 2018). The above analysis is based on comparisons of the average self-determination indicators identified in four groups of subjects received by the diagnostics using the Questionnaire of Personality self-realization by S. I. Kudinov and factor analysis using the principal component method by rotating the correlation matrix according to the varimax type.

Groups of subjects

According to the results of diagnostics carried out with the help of S.I. Kudinov's "Questionnaire of personality self-realization" (Kudinov et al., 2018), the subjects were divided into groups according to the level of self-realization:

Group 1 - subjects with a harmonious level of self-realization (40 people);

Group 2 - subjects with an adaptive level of self-realization (108 people);

Group 3 - subjects with an inert level of self-realization (79 people);

Group 4 – subjects with an irrational level of self-realization (53 people).

Findings

The average values of self-determination indicators (autonomy and self-expression) according to the "Self-Determination Test" by E. N. Osin (as cited in Osin & Leontiev, 2008) are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: The comparison of average values of self-determination indicators among subjects with different levels of self-realization
The comparison of average values of self-determination indicators among subjects with different levels of self-realization
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The histogram shows an evident prevalence of the average values of autonomy among the respondents with adaptive and inert levels of self-realization. At the same time, we identified 12.5% (5) of subjects with a high level of autonomy in the first group. 36% (40) of subjects were determined in the second group. 56% (44) of subjects were found in the third group, and 22% (41) of respondents were identified in the fourth. It means that fewer subjects with a high level of autonomy belonged to the group with harmonious self-realization. There was also an apparent prevalence of average values of self-expression among subjects with adaptive and inert levels of self-realization. The lowest values of self-expression were explicit in the fourth group, in which more than a third of the respondents (36%) had a low level for this indicator.

Figure 2 shows the comparison of average values of self-management skills among the respondents.

Figure 2: The comparison of average values of self-management skills among the respondents
The comparison of average values of self-management skills among the respondents
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The average values for the general indicator of self-management skills in the selected groups differed slightly. However, as a result of quantitative analysis, we found out that in the first group with a harmonious level of self-realization, the number of subjects with an average amount by this indicator prevailed (40%), and no respondents with high and low levels were identified. This factor distinguished this group from the third and fourth ones, in which subjects with an average level of self-management skills also prevailed in number, but we could also identify students with high and low levels. These results may suggest that a high level of self-management ability can contribute to a person's moderation in self-realization. It consists of orientation to the social environment, "you need to be no worse than others," whereas reducing the level of self-management to above-average increases significantly the desire for self-development and develops the ability to distribute and use personal resources of the individual.

The comparison of average values according to the "Test of life-meaning orientations" by D.A. Leontiev (as cited in Kaliteevskay, et al., 2007) among the respondents is shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: The comparison of average values of life awareness among subjects with different levels of self-realization
The comparison of average values of life awareness among subjects with different levels of self-realization
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This parameter made it possible to reveal a significant difference in average values in all four groups. Moreover, there was certain regularity. The lower the level of self-realization of subjects, the lower life awareness was. Meaningful goals and the ability to set aims and achieve results influence self-realization significantly. On the contrary, the lack of a life goal or its meaning and the inability to correlate goals with the future results make obstacles to self-realization.

Next, we will consider the factor structures of the components of self-determination of subjects with different levels of self-realization, which are presented in Table 1.

Table 1 - Factor structure of the components of self-determination of subjects with different levels of self-realization
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Let us turn to the factor structure of the components of self-determination of subjects with a harmonious level of self-realization. The first factor included the most significant elements describing life awareness (life goals, process, and results, the locus of control "life," and the total indicator of life awareness). Thus, a high level of life awareness, defining a flexible interaction with the external environment, plays a significant role in the self-realization of students. It confirms the position of R. Ryan and E. Deci's self-determination theory (2017), as well as D. A. Leontiev's concept (as cited in Kaliteevskay, et al., 2007) and Uhl-Bien and Pillai's (2007) views on self-determination. The second factor was represented by autonomy, self-expression, forecasting, decision-making, and self-management skills. We can confirm that successful self-realization demands volition, which allows a person to regulate self-development, make decisions independently, and act based on his goals. However, they turn out to be less significant than life awareness. The third factor was marked by goal setting, quality assessment criteria, and self-management. The role of these elements in the process of personal self-realization is minimized. However, we should not deny their influence on the phenomenon under study. The fourth factor included such components of self-determination as correction and a general indicator of self-management abilities. Even though the proportion of their influence is minimal, it is impossible to deny the overall effect of this characteristic on the self-realization process. The average level of their severity in the subjects is manifested together with higher values of self-realization.

Let's consider the factor structure of the components of self-determination of subjects with an adaptive level of self-realization. The first factor included the most significant components as planning, decision-making, the general indicator of self-management skills, life goals, life process, and its result, the locus of control "I," the locus of control "life" and life awareness, in other words, characteristics corresponding to the semantic sphere of personality and self-management. The data obtained were similar to the study results of the first group (subjects with a harmonious level of self-realization). However, the importance of self-management skills increased for this group. The second factor in this study group differed significantly from the first as it included quality assessment criteria and self-management. These indicators played a less significant role (presented by the third factor) in the first experimental group with a harmonious level of self-realization. In the group with an adaptive level of self-realization, they were more considerable. Self-expression represented the third factor. The result of this factor in this experimental group was reduced. Thus, we could conclude that it affected self-realization positively. In the group with a harmonious level of self-realization, this indicator had a more significant impact. Goal-setting represented the fourth factor, and its result was also reduced in this group. It may indicate a positive effect of the component on personal self-realization since this group of respondents contained a higher level of self-realization, and the goal-setting factor was influential.

Next, we will consider the factor structure of the components of self-determination of subjects with an inert level of self-realization. The first factor included such significant components as contradiction analysis, forecasting, goal-setting, planning, quality assessment criteria, decision-making, self-control, correction, and a total indicator of self-management skills, in other words, characteristics corresponding to the sphere of behavior and action management. The study results suggest that the explicitness of these characteristics along with a reduced level of life awareness can play a restraining role in the individual's self-realization. The features of the meaning-of-life sphere of the personality represented the second factor, including life goals, life process and its results, the locus of control "I," the locus of control "Life," and the general indicator of life awareness. The ratio of self-determination components that constituted the second-factor elements indicated the priority of their functioning regarding the peculiarities of the phenomenon. These may be expressed by the fact that the respondents of this group felt life is subject to their control, supposed that they could choose the direction of their own lives, and make decisions while not taking into account some limitations of the environment. As a result, they experience difficulties in self-realization: when faced with unfavourable environmental conditions, they choose to abandon activity (inertia). Examining the third factor, we noted that such characteristics as self-expression and autonomy were less significant in this group. Given the certain remoteness of these components from the centre, we can state that the manifestation of self-expression and independence are not fundamental in the self-expression of the subjects of this group, which may explain their low activity in the process of self-realization. The fourth factor was the additional characteristic "age of the subjects" introduced. However, considering the remoteness of this characteristic from the centre, we can state that its manifestation is not fundamental in the self-realization process of the subjects of this group.

Next, we will consider the factor structure of the components of self-determination of subjects with an irrational level of self-realization. Its first factor was represented by self-determination as general self-management skills, life goals, the locus of control "I," and "life." The second factor of subjects with an irrational level of self-realization included such characteristics of self-determination as autonomy, self-expression and contradiction analysis, forecasting, goal-setting, and decision-making. Given their place in the factor structure, we can state confidently that their role in the self-realization of these respondents is less significant than that of the respondents of other groups. When considering this factor structure as a whole, we can assume that a high level of self-management skills with life awareness and age orientation (or attitudes regarding age) can negatively influence self-realization. The respondents' confidence in this group in having the possibility to control their lives generates a lack of personal initiative and activity, both in fulfilling tasks and self-improvement. As a result, attitudes are formed: "I can change everything at any moment," "I'm fine," and a tendency to believe that everything happens by itself, so you don't need to make any efforts for your development.

Conclusion

Individuals with a high (harmonious) level of self-realization are characterized by an average level of autonomy, self-expression, and self-management skills with a high level of life awareness. The subjects with a low (irrational) level are also more often characterized by an average level of autonomy and self-expression. Although, the average values of self-management skills and life awareness are noticeably lower than in other groups (with a harmonious, adaptive, and inert level of self-realization).

The most productive factor structure of self-determination, ensuring the success of self-realization, consists of the following characteristics (in the order of importance): 1) life awareness; 2) a person's confidence in the availability of choice (autonomy), and a sense of alignment of life with desires (self-expression); 3) presence of a subjective model of the desired result (goal setting), the possibility and ability to evaluate the achieved result (evaluation criteria); 4) self-management skills.

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03 June 2022

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Borzova, T. V., & Plotnikova, E. S. (2022). Self-Determination Of Students With Different Levels Of Self-Realization. In & N. G. Bogachenko (Ed.), AmurCon 2021: International Scientific Conference, vol 126. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 146-155). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2022.06.17