Academic journal article Studia Psychologica

Personal Need for Structure, Anxiety, Self-Efficacy and Optimism

Academic journal article Studia Psychologica

Personal Need for Structure, Anxiety, Self-Efficacy and Optimism

Article excerpt

Abstract: The aim of the study is to contribute to the explanation of mutual relations between personal need for structure, anxiety, optimism and self-efficacy. The research sample comprised 237 university students (men n = 48 and women n = 189). The following instruments were administered: Personal Need for Structure (PNS), Spielberger's Trait Personality Inventory (STPI), Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale (GSES) and Life Orientation Test - Revised (LOT-R). Significant differences between men and women in their PNS score and its subfactors - desire for structure and response to the lack of structure - were found. Women showed stronger need for structure and its subfactors. Personal need for structure and the response to the lack of structure in women was positively correlated with anxiety. Subfactor desire for structure did not show any relations with the studied characteristics. The results showed a negative relation of personal need for structure with optimism in women and no differences were found in the need for structure and its subfactors in relation to the degree of self-efficacy.

Key words: personal need for structure, anxiety, self-efficacy, optimism, pessimism

Human senses are flooded daily with information and the limited capacity for concentration raises the question of information processing, because without it we would perceive the world as an unimaginable chaos. The need to reduce this information chaos is closely related to the need to form structural representations of the outer and inner world, and to categorize events into meaningful units, which help people adapt to new events and understand them with minimum cognitive effort. The personal need for structure helps an individual to control and predict events in the complicated world (Cohen, Stotlan d, & Wol fe, 1955; Neuberg & Newsome, 1993) and, as found by Sollár and Turzáková (2014), personal need for structure also positively relates to fear of losing control.

Sarmány-Schuller (2001) says that this personality construct is related to the more basic process of categorization, which helps one to understand and differentiate the vast amount of information flooding an individual every day. Categorization based on comparison of individual stimuli (situations) makes it possible to explore things under their surface and to understand the concealed rules based on the work with the category's elements.

According to Kelly (1963), individuals create a set of personal constructs, which they then apply to outer reality. It seems that individuals perceive the world through some kind of filter, which is formed by personal constructs used in categorizing phenomena and persons. These constructs have complicated bonds with other systems of personality and its history.

If the primary motive for categorization is to provide structure, and if there are individual differences in the manner and extent of which people categorize their social world, then one of the variables differentiating individuals is personal need for structure.

Neuberg and Newsom (1993) state that people differ significantly in the extent to which they are dispositionally motivated to make cognitive structures of their world in a simple, clear-cut way. Thompson, Naccarato, Parker, & Moskowitz (2001) in their characteristics of personal need for structure mention personality motivation and behavioral characteristics typical for individuals with different personal need for structure. Individuals with high personal need for structure prefer structure, clarity and definiteness in many situations, and are less willing to change their attitudes and stereotypes due to new information (Neuberg & Newsom, 1993; Schaller, Boyd, Yohannes, & ÓBrien, 1995; Sarmány-Schuller, 1997, 2001; Ruiselová, 2000; Sollár, 2005, 2008). They experience ambiguity and "grey spots" as problematic and troublesome and feel averse to ambiguity. Tolerance of ambiguity is a way of perceiving and processing information concerning uncertain stimuli and situations (Frenkel-Brunswik, 1949). …

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