Personality and Problems of Adjustment

Personality and Problems of Adjustment

Personality and Problems of Adjustment

Personality and Problems of Adjustment

Excerpt

Over twenty years ago Dean William T. Root and I, then graduate students in psychology, had many agreeable and stimulating conversations about the limitations of intelligence testing--then the educational rage--in the diagnosis of conduct problems of children and adults. We expressed a hope that psychologists and educators would come to reckon with the emotional and social-cultural factors in the making of the personality. Root had arrived at this standpoint from his teaching and wide reading, plus several years of clinical work, I from my reading of Sumner, Cooley, Dewey, and Rivers, and from my contacts with W. I. Thomas and G. H. Mead, who had been my teachers previously. Then, too, my experience at that very time in giving intelligence tests to schoolchildren and to men in the military service further convinced me of the need for this wider view regarding the factors which enter into thought and conduct.

In 1920, at the University of Oregon, I began giving a course dealing with problems of personality and social adjustment in which I drew on pertinent materials from physiology, psychology, psychiatry, and sociology. In those days there were no suitable textbooks, but F. L. Wells Mental Adjustments was used as an introduction to pertinent psychological phases, and the writings of Thomas, Mead, Freud, White, Rivers, and Cooley furnished supplementary reading. Since the attempt was made to link human thought and behavior to the constitutional factors, on the one hand, and to the social-cultural, on the other, the approach was frankly eclectic, and some of my professional colleagues at the time were good-naturedly skeptical of having such a course in the psychological curriculum.

During my fourteen years at the University of Wisconsin this course was frequently revised. Students began coming from other fields than psychology and sociology--from education, economics, journalism, and speech, and even from prelegal and premedical departments. To satisfy the needs of this wider clientele new material was constantly added or old material modified or dropped out. The present book is frankly an outgrowth of this particular course. Into its making have gone not only the questions--personal and theoretical--of the students and many others, but considerable clinical experience, extensive examination of the literature, and, I trust, some serious thought of my own. The basic standpoint of the book is stated in the opening chapter and is . . .

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