Precarious Future As A Source Of Increased Personal Anxiety


The article reflects upon an individual’s precarious future, feeling fenced in a situation of uncertainty. A significant aspect of the studied problems is the fact that a person is not always ready to change in a situation of uncertainty and transformation of the habitual space of life activity. The theoretical aspect determines the main sources of increasing anxiety of an individual if he/she feels a precarious future. The pilot study explores the decreased activity vectors that increase personality anxiety. The Manifest Anxiety Scale, which is designed to investigate the level of personality anxiety manifestation, is used in the study to examine the representation of this condition in the sample. A survey method is methodologically proved by the theory of transactional analysis and aimed at exploring constraint vectors of activity. The findings of the sample respondents were analyzed in terms of anxiety severity with decreasing activity constraint vectors that cause increased anxiety. The pilot study finds out that in the sample anxiety increases if there is a decrease in the social activity vector, as well as a decrease in the activity vector responsible for structuring time and space. Subsequently, the (pre)disposition of the individual’s acceptance of uncertainty contributes to the acceptance of the multiple changes and the multivariate nature of actions possible under these changes. The outcomes of the pilot study presented in the article determine the fact that a personality’s ability to be different is an important state of being under ambiguity

Keywords: Anxiety, precarious future, personal potential, personality psychology, vision of the future


Future uncertainty is a category-defining a situation in which there is a complete or partial lack of information about probabilistic future events, in which the occurrence of life events is beyond the control of an individual. A person accepts uncertainty of the future as a limitation of his/her freedom, relying on the experience available, we realize a psychological block, a certain impossibility to act in the changed conditions.

Declaring a desire to move forward, a person nevertheless looks back and seeks support in the past. The uncertainty of the future reduces the signals of stability and the past becomes the main way to define the individual’s comprehension (Abulhanova-Slavskaja, 2018; Bernshtejn, 1990). However, the future for an individual becomes especially important, as the youth’s aspiration for the future is determined by the development of the value structure of an individual, when the individual's inner world becomes stable, no longer dependent on situational needs.

In this regard, the study of ‘personal life perspectives’ by such researchers as E.I. Golovakha, K. Levin, J. Nytten, whose works consider the features of future perception, goal setting and ways to achieve them, the anticipation of upcoming events, which determine the impact of plans on the arrangement of activities, becomes very important (as cited in Levkova et al., 2018; Levkova et al., 2019).

Bernshtejn (1990), however, defines past, present and future as one and these three-time frames only reflect the perspective of what is happening. The past in human life grows continuously, acquiring the status of the present. Any specific moment is defined by the flow of experience, and it is continuous. In today’s context of limitations and rapid changes, this flow of experience has accelerated greatly, and so there are many more requests for psychological support than in previous years. Clients who come for help render one wish, “I want it to be like before”. The person wants to keep a stable image that is much more understandable than the unpredictable and continuously becoming more complicated (Bernshtejn, 1990).

The spatial-temporal arrangement of the personality sphere includes its differentiated components, which have various structural and functional loads. The multiplicity of relations, interrelations between the structural components of the personality contributes to a clearer expression of uncertainty and the need for transformation of the personality and the ability to switch quickly between these components.

Such a circumstance powers a personality being in misbalance, but on the other hand, there is a multidimensional diversity of the personality system.

Any stage within the homeostatic functioning of a personality contains the possibility of instability, causes an increasing complexity of the personal structure and at the same time results in growing stability.

Uncertainty (variability) and mental ballast (stability) is not considered opposites, they mark a complication of functional processes of the spatial-temporal personal structure.

In a situation of uncertainty, there is a complication of connections of structural components of personality. There is a complication of the field of determination; it automatically contributes to the process of forecasting the future and probable processes.

In this context, causality and its understanding contribute to the diverse and multiple states of the personal system, which can cause entropy.

Uncertainty and unpredictability of the future provoke multidimensionality and multivariate states of personal structure (Kostromina & Grishina, 2001).

The uncertainty of the individual’s future can be expressed both in the internal world of the individual and in the interaction with the environment. In the internal structure, the instability of spatial and temporal functions provokes disharmony, crisis interaction of personality structures, an increase of anxiety states of the personality. Uncertainty in the interaction with the external environment entails the need for diversity of behavioural constructs, as a person falls on hard times. When uncertainty is accepted, new opportunities become possible.

Accordingly, unsteadiness, uncertainty and stability, stability gives the individual an opportunity to act, i.e. change the potency of a variety of personality states appeared.

Taking into account the fact that all processes generated by the change are irreversible, so, while reviewing uncertainty, readiness for variability becomes important in examining the nature of the anxiety developed.

As previously stated, past, present and future become one. The past cannot but affect our acceptance of uncertainty, as it can even be destructive to the personality. This is because the individual’s response to uncertainty in the future and the anxious connotation of this attitude to uncertainty can be a reflection of the trinity of past, present and future.

A person is very self-sensitive in a situation of uncertainty and instability. In an uncertain environment, past experiences are 'triggered', and the tried-and-true ones start as well as usual constructs of behaviour that have been tested and have been effective before.

However, in this kind of situation, when a new experience is possible, unpreparedness to get this new experience leads to unregulated anxiety states.

Therefore, in our view, the important aspect is that the uncertainty of the future offers the individual to actualize the internal potentials of behavioural variability. Therefore, an individual’s readiness to accept uncertainty contributes to the 'triggering' of variability mechanisms.

These (pre)dispositions create a field of acceptance of the new and unpredictable future. The individual constructs images of the environment where he or she is to act at present.

So, the individual is under the condition of having to change accordingly with a constantly and dynamically changing reality. Only under this condition the individual will be prepared to come across an uncertain future.

Problem Statement

For example, as part of the National Education Project, more than 500 families requested psychological help from May 2020 to September 2021 at the counselling centre for families with children. Of these, 47% had pandemic personality anxiety. This is quite enough to confirm the difficulty of people nowadays responding to an uncertain future.

The increasing personality anxiety in its various forms is evidenced by contemporary research: the emergence of depressive states, with anxiety and stress manifestations (Pereira et al., 2022); psychological fortitude, its correlation with anxiety, depression and personality self-esteem (Truhan et al, 2022); on the need for psychological support for anxious young people with depressive symptoms (Păsărelu et al., 2021); on psychological symptomatology and future health anxiety (Kostromina & Grishina, 2001); on different strategies of behaviour in hardship and on maladaptive patterns of interaction with the world (Levkova, 2019).

In other words, in the present context, a special form of the inner life of an individual - the ability to experience - is a special way of human existence becomes significant. Thus, intensive experiences reconstruct our experience and we, accepting this experience, reconstruct our psychological space and the image of the future in it. By relying on moral guidelines and habitual ways of making moral choices, a person chooses goals for his or her own life (Levkova et al., 2018; Levkova & Shkljar, 2020).

Taleb (2018) called the inability to think dynamically, the lack of ability to relate oneself to the future futurological blindness. The proper and the given past helps a person to take in the situation and even predict events, but do not allow us to see the dynamism of personality in the perspective of the variability or uncertainty. Under these conditions, the previous experience of a personality exceeds this changeable nature of a person, thus creating a situation of no balance. Only the dynamic transition of a personality from the phase of stability to the phase of instability allows him/her to accept inner changes and those in the environment since each phase of instability has the potential for stability and vice versa.

A person defines the present as the actualization of the future image, and thus, the present is influenced by the past. This reveals the interconnection of the past, present and future in human life (Harlamenkova et al., 2019).

Variability is an immanent, integral characteristic of the process nature of the individual that can also serve as a potential resource for accepting the uncertainty of the future as it is implied in the very nature of the individual. Acceptance of future uncertainty can be derived from two types of human action: reactive and active. Reactive actions reflect the range of tried, tested and established actions, but active actions are just defined by the individual’s image of the future.

The ability to actualize active action provides the individual with flexibility and impressionability (‘anti-fragility' according to Taleb (2018)). Environmental changes today are more transformational in nature; they are less focused on the familiar things.

Environmental change is sometimes perceived by the individual as the emergence of psychological hunger. Psychological hunger can be expressed in a person’s experience in different ways. Stimulus psychological hunger is a lack of familiar stimuli. Stimulus needs, as perceived by the individual, cease to be satisfied - there is a lack of touch (contact), depressive states are possible. The next option is psychological hunger for recognition (approval). A person needs non-physical ‘touch’, that is, a sense of belonging to the community around them (Tommasi et al., 2020). Regular interpersonal interaction, even conflictual ones, can meet this need. Structural hunger can also be expressed as some resistance to the change in life.

There is Epstein’s (2004) idea of ‘opportunity’ in the active actions and acceptance of change by the individual.

Research Questions

This circumstance helps us to interpret uncertainty in the future as a world of possibility, where there is no clear predetermination or the only determinism of events. Then an understanding of uncertainty in the future as a zone of possibilities as the potential of the individual comes. It is in this aspect that uncertainty in the future can actualize multiplicity and variability of personality performance.

Purpose of the Studу

The purpose of the study is to show vectors to decrease dynamic actions resulting in increased levels of personal anxiety.

Research Methods

We use the Manifest Anxiety Scale (J. Taylor) adapted by T. A. Nemchin to study the manifestations of personality anxiety. The purpose of this method of research is to determine the level of expression of personal anxiety. The method provides a five-level evaluation of the degree of anxiety, which enlarges much the interpretation of the data obtained (as cited in Rajgorodskij, 2019).

Further, we use a survey method based on the ideas of E. Byrne, which studies psychological hunger for stimuli in stressful situations. It helps to study the vectors of decrease in a person’s active actions. According to E. Byrne’s transactional analysis in a stressful situation, a person can experience positional hunger (or psychological hunger for recognition), structural hunger, stimulus hunger (as cited in Solovieva, 2012).


According to the research of the subjects (337 people, the age range of the subjects is 14-18 years old), show the manifestation of personal anxiety, when applying for psychological help within the National Project ‘Education’ in the Counseling Center for families with children (Birobidzhan), the vectors of decreasing active actions leading to increased anxiety markers were revealed.

Thus, the variability of sensory stimuli that increase activity, social approval, time and space structuring decreased under stress. (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Correlation of subjects’ anxiety and activity reduction vectors under stress
Correlation of subjects’ anxiety and activity reduction vectors under stress
See Full Size >


As can be seen from Figure 1, the increase in anxiety in adolescence (this is the period defined in the sample) increases with a decrease in social activity (no acknowledgement of achievements, no regular interpersonal interactions), and a decrease in the activity vector responsible for structuring time and space (blurring of personal, spatial lines, the unclear time distribution of learning activity).

As shown in the figure, there are two tendencies in sensory, social activity and space structuring towards stability and uncertainty. Since there is a personality anxiety (pre)disposition, any instability causes the personality to actualize the anxiety state. Therefore, the multiplicity of action variations offered by the new reality is evaluated by the individual through the acceptance of uncertainty (we see decreased markers for the respondents) or non-acceptance of the new conditions of reality (we see increased anxiety within the changing conditions of sensory, social activity and the need to restructure time and space according to the rates).

To conclude, this pilot study claims that an individual’s capacity to be different is an important state of mind under conditions of uncertainty. Here it is consistent to recall the notion of authorship of life, and concerning the topic - authorship concerning the events of life combined with responsibility for them. The author of life events is the person himself. So today, the notion of authorship of life opens a new facet - the facet of uncertainty, which generates new research solutions of this challenge.


  • Abulhanova-Slavskaja, K. A. (2018). Strategija zhizni [Life strategy]. Mysl.

  • Bernshtejn, N. A. (1990). Fiziologija dvizhenij i aktivnost'. [Physiology of movement and activity]. Nauka.

  • Epstein, M. (2004). Znak probela: o budushhem gumanitarnyh nauk [The Gap Mark: On the future of the Humanities]. Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie Nauka.Harlamenkova, N. E., Byhovec, Ju. V., Dan, M. V., & Nikitina, D. A. (2019). Perezhivanie neopredelennosti, trevogi, bespokojstva v uslovijah COVID-19 [Experiencing uncertainty, anxiety, worry in COVID-19 settings]. Materialy VIII Mezhdunarodnoj̆ konferenci imolodyh uchenyh «Psihologija – nauka budushhego». Retrieved from

  • Kostromina, S. N., & Grishina, N. V. (2001). V prostranstve voznikajushhego: psihologija izmenenij i psihologija vozmozhnogo kak vector razvitija psihologii lichnosti [In the space of happening: psychology of change and psychology of possible as a vector for the development of personality psychology].Психологи%0Aподписчики&utm_content=

  • Levkova, T., Bazhenov, R., Solina, S., Romanova, M., & Chebarykova, S. (2019). Ethic Characteristics of Decision-Making by Students in Situation of Moral Choice. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences, 58, 660-667.

  • Levkova, T. V., Plotnikova, E. S., Bazhenov, R. I., Maslova, T. M., & Ivanchenko, V. N. (2018). Self-determination in the structure of personal self-determination in adolescence. AstraSalvensis, 6, 341-352.

  • Levkova, T. V., & Shkljar, N. V. (2020). Obraz budushhego u sovremennyh studentov v aspekte zhiznennyh smyslov lichnosti [Modern students’ image of the future in terms of personal life narratives]. Sovremennye tendencii razvitija sistemy obrazovanija. Sbornik materialov Vserossijskoj nauchno-prakticheskoj konferencii, 173-179.

  • Levkova, T. V. (2019). Prognosticheskij harakter projavlenija dezadaptivnyh shem lichnosti [The predictive nature of the manifestation of maladaptive personality patterns]. Sbornik materialov III Mezhdunarodnyj nauchno-obrazovatel'nyj forum "Heilongjiang - Priamurye", 472-476.

  • Păsărelu, C. R., Dobrean, A., Andersson, G., & Zaharie, G. C. (2021). Feasibility and clinical utility of a transdiagnostic Internet-delivered rational emotive and behavioural intervention for adolescents with anxiety and depressive disorders. Internet Interventions, 26, 100479.

  • Pereira, A. T., Cabaços, C., Araújo, A., Amaral, A. P., Carvalho, F., &Macedo, A. (2022). COVID-19 psychological impact: The role of perfectionism. Personality and Individual Differences, 184, 111160.

  • Rajgorodskij, D. Ja. (2019). Prakticheskaja psihodiagnostika. Metodiki i testy [Practical psychodiagnostics. Methods and tests]. Samara: «BARHAR-M».

  • Solovieva, S. L. (2012). Trevoga i trevozhnost': teorija i praktika [Anxiety and Uneasiness: Theory and Practice]. Medicinskaja psihologija v Rossii, 6(17).

  • Taleb, N. (2018). Antihrupkost'. Kak izvlech' vygodu iz haosa. [Anti-fragility. How to capitalise on chaos].

  • Truhan, T. E., Gianniou, F.-M., & Papageorgiou, K. A. (2022). Differences in psychiatric symptoms between the UK and Greece prior to and during COVID-19: The roles of subclinical narcissism and mental toughness. Personality and Individual Differences, 185, 111308.

  • Tommasi, M., Toro, F., Arnò, S., Carrieri, A., Conte, M. M., Devastato, M. D., Picconi, L., Sergi, M. R., & Saggino, A. (2020). Physical and Psychological Impact of the Phase One Lockdown for COVID-19 on Italians. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 563722.]

Copyright information

About this article

Publication Date

03 June 2022

eBook ISBN



European Publisher



Print ISBN (optional)


Edition Number

1st Edition




Cite this article as:

Levkova, T. V., & Levkova, D. A. (2022). Precarious Future As A Source Of Increased Personal Anxiety. In N. G. Bogachenko (Ed.), AmurCon 2021: International Scientific Conference, vol 126. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 613-619). European Publisher.