Societal Influences on Personality Development

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 4
Words: 868
Reading time:
3 min

Apart from biological influences on personality, social scientists have found out that society also plays an important role in shaping human personality. The process of personality development is a long one and involves changing a person’s attitude and hence character through the acquisition of information which enables them to build confidence. The gained information plays a crucial role in influencing our character, actions as well as thoughts.

Nurture factors influence our individuality greatly. These societal factors take a long time to shape our character and self-confidence. It is worth noting that the personality of an individual is a product of complicated mental qualities which leave individuals very different from others. Usually, people around us are able to find out our personality through our emotional tone and temperament. Other people can also know our personality by evaluating our character, morals, attitude as well as our expectations. In fact, our beliefs, expectations, and values acquired through socialization play an important role in creating our personality than hereditary factors.

One of the major influences on our personality is our childhood experiences when we are being brought up by our parents. For example, parents in North America bring up their children so that they can be independent and self-sufficient.

They involve them in family decisions like choosing which type of entertainment the family should have, they assign them minor house chores from which they are paid and allowed to choose their meals. In China, things are different, and children are taught family values. They are taught to make decisions with family members’ interests in mind. They are taught to suppress individual desires whenever they conflict with family interests. Children in China are taught to respect adults and are not allowed to behave like adults until when they attain adulthood.

Gender also plays an important role in influencing our personality. Almost all societies of the world teach their boys and girls different social skills and are exposed to different socialization with different expectations from specific genders.

Psychosocial theory

The theory was an idea of Erik Erikson, a German psychologist and follower of Sigmund Freud. Through the theory, Erik asserts that individuals go through various stages of psychological development, which are eight in number. He argues that each stage involves conflict in emotional forces. People who go through the eight stages successfully, according to Erik, achieve a healthy ratio or balance. Erik refers to this balance as basic values. The theory puts emphasis on concepts like generatively and mutuality which refers to consequences of family connections and the relationship of parents and their children’s interests, respectively.

Erik argues that parents have a big effect on their children’s psychosocial development, and parents in response are psychologically affected by pressure from their children’s dealings. At the peak of development, according to the theory, parents have to deal with the consequences of their parenting as they prepare to die peacefully. The theory can be put to account for social factors like.


War is a consequence of two or more conflicting parties, and none of them is willing to compromise their interests. These conflicts of interests are relevant to Erik’s psychosocial theory at the initial stage, where individuals with differing interests are driven by the desire to pursue their interests for their personal gain. Accompanied by life issues like the failure of diplomacy to resolve the conflict, war is triggered. To days’ life complications and interests like the desire to dominate other people /societies are the main causes of war if Erik’s theory is to be taken seriously.


Technology is a result of intensive research carried out by scientists to discover simpler and easier ways of doing work. Growth in technology also results from competition and desire to emerge the winner. According to Erik’s psychosocial theory, technology could be related to stage five of identity versus role confusion. Societies that are likely to advance in technology, according to this theory, are those that tend to encourage free-thinking and independence among its citizens.


If crime is related to this theory, then it could be a result of dissatisfaction by a segment of members of society. Erik says that it is not possible to have a balanced society in a community where people are independent and are pursuing their personal interests independently. Individuals who feel left out from legal avenues of self-actualization begin to break the law to gain a fair position in society.

Gang activities

Gang activities are carried out by people in society who did not get opportunities to develop careers to have a legal source of income. They are mainly school dropouts, especially those from poor families who, because of childhood deprivation, opt to engage in gangster activities in order to actualize.


The spread of AIDS is relevant to generatively versus stagnation. People who are not successful engage in reckless sexual activities, which increase the spread of HIV/AIDS.