Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Gender and Emotional Intelligence as Predictors of Adolescent Problems

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Gender and Emotional Intelligence as Predictors of Adolescent Problems

Article excerpt

The biggest difference in girls and boys is in how they are treated (Mackoff, quoted in Angier, 1998). From the time that a child is bom, sex-related and gender appropriate means are used in every way to differentiate between girls and boys. Their toys, clothing, room decoration are all based on the sex of the child. By the time the child is an adolescent, he/she has learnt the stereotypes associated with being a male or female in the culture and gender appropriate behaviour is strongly encouraged. The effect of socialization on gender identity and gender roles is immense and results in differentially influencing the self-concepts evolved, ego-structures, personal goals and the cognitive-adaptational heuristics of boys and girls (Block, 1983).

Adolescence being an age that comes along with a lot of changes, physical, emotional, social, cognitive, changes in body image, changes in attitude, interests, interpersonal relationships and changes in their identity, gives rise to several problems. The way boys and girls differentially perceive these problems are due to their gender-based identities formed from childhood.

In the past, many researchers have emphasized the importance of socialization and parental influence on the formation of gender identities. A study conducted in Great Britain on socialization and gender roles within the family studied how gender socialization and parents' attitudes mediate traditional gender roles and the effect of their attitude towards gender roles. The relationship between the gender related and opposite gender parent with the adolescent was also studied. It was found that the relation with the same gender seems to have a strong reinforcing power on an already existing traditional attitude; the relation with the parent of opposite sex was found to be a strong factor in reducing stereotyped attitudes (Crespi, 2003).

Recently, Eccles' (2010) study on gender role stereotypes, expectancy effects, and parents' socialization of gender differences revealed that parents distort their perceptions of their own children in gender role stereotypic activities such as maths and sports, that the child's gender affects parents' causal attributions for their children's performance in gender role stereotypic activities, and that these perceptual biases influence the children's own self-perceptions and activity choices.

It would be interesting to see how these differentially formed gender identities between male and female adolescents relate to the way that they perceive their everyday problems.

For adolescents to be able to effectively, tactfully and rationally cope with their problems it is important to be in control of emotions and not let them get out of hand. Daily, emotions affect our relations with other people, our self-identity, and our ability to complete a task.

A relatively recent concept, emotional intelligence is the area of cognitive ability involving traits and social skills that facilitate interpersonal behaviour. Intelligence can be broadly defined as the capacity for goal-oriented adaptive behaviour, whereas emotional intelligence focuses on the aspects of intelligence that govern self knowledge and social adaptation. The emotional quotient embraces two aspects of intelligence. The first, understanding yourself, your goals, intentions, responses and behaviour and the second, understanding others and their feelings (Goleman, 1995). Many studies have supported the fact that emotionally intelligent individuals are psychologically well adjusted and face less behavioural and social problems (Femandez-Berrocal et al., 2006; Lopes & Salovey, 2003; Petrides et al., 2004).

A study conducted on modem youth problems by Fernandez and Varghlse (2001) describes the role of gender in different youth problems, however other relating factors have been ignored such as specific problem areas pertaining to males and females. The main focus so far in India has been on suicide; aggression; depression and other psychiatric disorders; and reproductive and other health problems in the youth (Sethi, 2003; Cummings, 2001; Garland 1993). …

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