Formation and development of personality: process, factors, conditions, stages

A person as an individual is an important concept that defines an adult individual who is able to behave adequately in society, bear responsibility for his actions, and also have a healthy desire to be socially useful. Personality formation begins in infancy and continues throughout life. The most active development occurs in childhood and adolescence, when many factors influence the child’s worldview and attitude towards the world.

Personality development is a lifelong process

Determinants of development

Determinants are factors and conditions that play a leading role in the development of something. In our case, these are the leading factors in the development of personality.


In the article “The Concept of Personality in Psychology: Essence and Structure” we found that the phenomenon of a person as a person implies consideration of both elements: biological and social. The innate characteristics of a person, that is, temperament and body constitution, inclinations, etc., undoubtedly contribute to the formation of personality.

  • Initially, theories about personality followed only this approach. It was generally accepted that heredity transmits genes, genes form the hormonal background, which forms the physique and psyche, and they give the shape of personality.
  • A little later it became clear that individual characteristics make their contribution, but social factors have a greater influence on personal formation.


Personality is formed under the influence of the psychology of the group, with whose members it is on an equal footing. The environment influences the formation of personality through:

  • culture;
  • installations;
  • norms and values ​​of family, circle of friends, and other social groups;
  • structure of the country.

The social environment shapes character, which is one of the elements of the personality structure.

Interesting fact: it has been scientifically proven that even the birth order of a child plays an important role in the formation of personality. Thus, children born first and subsequently having a brother or sister are more likely to:

  • care about social acceptance or rejection;
  • hardworking and responsible;
  • prone to cooperation and submission to authorities;
  • do not seek to break the rules;
  • are distinguished by ambition;
  • prone to feelings of guilt and anxiety.


This factor began to be identified as a separate category not so long ago. It is assumed that it restrains both the social and the natural in man. This is a kind of personality regulator.

  • It is no secret that some situations dictate the style of behavior and the boundaries of what is acceptable or unacceptable. The more often a person finds himself in a situation of forced behavior, the easier it is for him to constantly show himself in this form.
  • However, precisely because of the situational nature, it is impossible to judge a person’s personality in isolation.

Currently, attempts are being made to identify specific situations, their descriptions and the essence of the influence on the individual. But in practice this is very difficult to do. For now, to assess a personality, it remains necessary to have information about his behavior in various situations.

Activity as a condition for personality formation

The main condition for the formation of personality is activity:

  • labor,
  • educational,
  • gaming,
  • communication.

Each activity is specific and plays a certain role in human development, meets his age needs, and develops certain components of personality. You can read more about activity in the article “Human activity – what is it in psychology. Types of activities and their characteristics.”

The role of parents in the development of a child’s personality

Types of stress in psychology - their characteristics and solutions

Parents play an important role in the process of personality development. Within the family circle, the personal basis of behavior, ideas about the outside world, actions and justice are laid. It is the image of parents that influences the choice of social circle (more or less close) in the future. Despite the methods of upbringing, over the course of life, the perception of parents will change and still have a strong place in the subconscious of the individual.

Positive images of parents are the key to a healthy psyche and the ability to adequately overcome life’s difficulties. Negative images based on demands, strictness and control cause inexplicable nervous tension even in an independent adult, which naturally negatively affects his quality of life.

Who is a formed personality

Psychology has proven that a person is not born, but rather becomes. However, the question of who can be considered a person remains open. There is still no single list of requirements, description of properties or classification of criteria. But some features characteristic of a formed personality can be identified.

  1. Activity. It implies voluntary activity, the ability to manage one’s life in any situation.
  2. Subjectivity. It assumes control over one’s life and responsibility for choice, that is, the role of the author of life.
  3. Bias. The ability to evaluate the surrounding reality, accept something or not, that is, not be indifferent to the world and your life.
  4. Mindfulness. The ability to express oneself in public forms.

Formation of human personality

The process of personality formation is the formation in each individual of certain human qualities that were acquired in the process of life. But what determines the manifestation of certain qualities in a person?

Factors that influence the development of personality

  • Education in childhood and self-education in adulthood. It is quite difficult to overestimate the importance of family in the development of personality. The educational function can be considered the main task of the social institution of the social unit - the family. As a rule, harmoniously developed children grow up in prosperous and full-fledged families. It is worth noting that the problems that a child encountered in childhood are like baggage that in the future prevents a person from fully developing. Every child copies the behavior of their parents and learns to be a full member of society. It is worth noting that children at an unconscious level copy the negative and positive qualities of their parents, values ​​and ideals; we should also not forget about the usual types of thinking, strategies, behavior and lifestyles. Over time, parental instructions are transformed into an “inner voice”, and moral qualities such as morality, honor, conscience and others are actively formed. In the process of growing up, a person is guided by the knowledge he received from his parents.
  • Genetics. Each person is unique, and all because the same combination of genes is not found. A person acquires some of the components and characteristics of individuality at birth. Temperament is already determined from birth; a newborn can not only experience, but also express basic emotions. It is worth noting that family genetics is no less important than family upbringing, since mental illnesses can be transmitted genetically.
  • Life experience. Every event that happens in a person’s life affects his inner world, especially when it comes to significant events. Life experiences can transform or modify the direction or course of life. A person finds or loses motivation as a result of experiences, develops his abilities, develops character and willpower.
  • Culture and mentality . The mentality is influenced by the climate and environment in which representatives of a certain nationality live. In short, mentality can be described as “the character of the people.” For example, residents of warm countries are distinguished by their temperament, emotionality and activity. Morality, moral values ​​and culture, which are widespread in society, are instilled in every person from birth and guide the process of personality development. For example, representatives of one culture are more reserved and forced to adhere to rules of behavior, while others may behave more freely, casually and naturally. Factors in the development of personality influence it every time a person is in a new sociocultural environment. Essentially, its formation is a series of entries into new social communities.

This is interesting: what is degradation?

Stages of personality formation

  • Adaptation - this phenomenon implies the desire of each individual to some extent become the same as the rest of the representatives of his environment. The process of personality formation is carried out through its adoption of forms of activity in the social environment.
  • The second, no less important stage is called “individualization”. When a person realizes that he is “like everyone else,” he begins to actively seek and demonstrate his individual characteristics in order to achieve personalization.
  • Integration - this concept defines not so much the formation of personality, but the development of the society where a person lives. Each individual, in order to interact with society, must harmonize his individuality with it, demonstrate those individual qualities that can be used for the benefit of people. If a person brings benefit to society, then he develops.

To summarize this section, I would like to note that if one of these stages has not been completed, then a phase of disintegration begins, accompanied by the rejection of a person by society. During disintegration, the process of formation stops and can be reversed, which entails degradation.

This is interesting: what is society, what is its meaning in philosophy.

Development criteria

From the above, we can highlight the criteria for personality development, or personal growth:

  • strengthening subjectivity;
  • integrity and integration into the world;
  • productivity growth;
  • development of mental (spiritual) qualities and abilities.

A characteristic feature of a mature personality is overcoming egocentrism and acquiring a broad identity (the ability to identify oneself with the world, society, situations, nature; a sense of community and understanding).

  • In children and adolescents, personality development is assessed according to the characteristics of socialization and reflection.
  • In adults - by the ability to self-actualize, the ability to accept responsibility and stand out from society, maintaining a connection with it.

Phases of personality development according to L. I. Bozhovich

L. I. Bozhovich identified three main phases of personality development:

  1. Adaptation. During the first phase, the individual first becomes acquainted with and assimilates the established norms of behavior, then begins to master them and further use them. An individual can consider himself an accomplished person with a certain set of qualities and characteristics. However, when he joins a new group, he will have to learn its corresponding norms in order to adapt, so that he can then adopt them and become part of the healthy relationships of that society.
  2. Personalization. This phase acts as a feeling of contradiction in oneself. An individual who has adapted to a group suffers from the fact that the need for personalization is replaced by the behavior of “being like everyone else.” An individual purposefully looks for different ways to stand out. He can brag about his life achievements, experience, and wisdom.
  3. Community integration. The third phase is characterized by another feeling of contradiction. An individual wants not only to stand out from the group, but to be as useful and recognized as possible. He selects and trains such traits of his character and behavior that would serve good purposes.

Note! An individual does not always work to make a certain impression and occupy a certain position in a group. Often the group itself forms an opinion about the individual.

Each subsequent phase cannot exist without the previous one. If an individual fails to adapt, he will feel awkward, which can negatively affect the development of his personality, resulting in personal deformation (self-doubt, timidity, lack of initiative). On the other hand, successful completion of all stages will open the way to successful socialization; the individual will be able to find ways of self-realization; self-determination and collectivism are inherent in him.

Contributing to society is an important aspiration in personal development.

The formation of personality can be compared with the saying “live and learn.” The individual regularly finds himself in new social groups associated with school, work, family and friends. It is important to learn to adapt to the activities of the group in order to feel comfortable and in demand.

Self-awareness as a separate component and sign of personality development

Self-awareness (the product of which is the self-concept) is actively formed in adolescence, although its emergence begins much earlier. It flows from the consciousness of the individual. This is a system of attitudes, an attitude towards oneself. You can read more about self-awareness in the article “Self-awareness - what is it in psychology. Its structure and functions."

Stages of personality formation

The process of personality development takes place in several stages, both good and bad.

In simple and short terms, they look like this:

  • Adaptation. A person’s ability to psychologically adapt to social groups and their activities.
  • Personalization. The need to stand out in a group, demonstrating one’s own independence.
  • Integration. Uniting with people, their activities, strengthening connections with others, in order to obtain the desired result in the future.
  • Disintegration. Characterized by self-isolation or rejection by society, attempts are made to minimize communication with others, which stops the formation of personality.
  • Degradation. It is a reverse development in which a person regresses, his performance decreases, his activity decreases and adequate behavior disappears.

Stages of Personality Development

The goal of personal development is to gain personal freedom. There are several classifications of stages of personality development.

E. Erickson's concept

In terms of considering personality development, I think E. Erikson’s theory is interesting. The psychoanalyst noted 8 stages, at each of which a person faces opposing forces of his personality. If the conflict is resolved successfully, then certain new personality traits are formed, that is, development occurs. Otherwise, a person is overtaken by neurosis and maladjustment.

So, among the stages of personality development the following can be distinguished:

  1. Contradiction of trust and distrust in the world around us (from birth to one year).
  2. Conflict of independence with shame and doubts (from one year to 3 years).
  3. Contradiction between initiative and guilt (from 4 to 5 years).
  4. Contradiction between hard work and feelings of inferiority (from 6 to 11 years).
  5. The contradiction between awareness of identity with a particular gender and a lack of understanding of the behavior characteristic of it (from 12 to 18 years).
  6. The contradiction between the desire for intimate relationships and the feeling of isolation from others (early adulthood).
  7. Contradiction between vital activity and focus on one’s problems, needs, interests (middle adulthood).
  8. Contradiction between the feeling of fullness of life and despair (late adulthood).

Concept by V. I. Slobodchikov

The psychologist considered the formation of personality from the perspective of the development of a person’s subjectivity in relation to his behavior and psyche.

Revival (up to a year)

A characteristic feature of this stage is the child’s familiarity with his body, his awareness, which is reflected in motor, sensory and sociable actions.

Animation (from 11 months to 6.5 years)

The child begins to define himself in the world, for which the baby learns to walk and handle objects. Little by little, the baby masters cultural skills and abilities. At 3 years old, the child realizes his desires and capabilities, which is expressed by the position “I myself.”

Personalization (from 5.5 years to 13-18 years)

At this stage, a person first realizes himself as the creator (real or potential) of his own life. In interaction with senior mentors and peers, the individual builds the boundaries of identity and begins to understand his own responsibility for the future.

Individualization (from 17-21 years old to 31-42 years old)

At this stage, a person appropriates and individualizes all social values, passing them through the prism of his own worldview and personal position. A person overcomes group restrictions, environmental assessments and builds his “self”. He moves away from stereotypes, outside opinions and pressure. For the first time, he himself accepts or does not accept what the world gives him.

Universalization (from 39-45 years old and onwards)

The stage of universalization is characterized by going beyond individuality to the level of existentiality. A person comprehends himself as an element of all humanity in the context of what has happened in the history of the world and what will happen.

As we see, personality development is closely related to age-related development. But if you pay attention to the dates indicated in brackets, you can note their wide range. Moreover, the older a person becomes physiologically, the wider the range of personal development. From this arises what is popularly called “precocious” or “stuck in development.” But now you know that, perhaps, no one got stuck anywhere and “ran away”, the point is the difference in physical and personal development.

In addition, personality development can be considered as a change in a person’s individual psychological space, which includes:

  • body;
  • surrounding personally significant objects;
  • habits;
  • relationships, connections;
  • values.

These elements do not appear immediately; they accumulate as the child develops physically. But in an adult personality, all these elements can be distinguished. For the favorable development of personality, the integrity of the above components is important.

Life path

The structure of personality is formed in the process of life, that is, in the development of a person as a subject of his own life. The goals, motives and values ​​of the individual are reflected in the life plan, which structures the life path.

Simply put, this is a person’s life script. There is still no consensus on this issue.

  • Some scientists (S. L. Rubinshtein, B. G. Ananyev), mainly domestic ones, are of the opinion that only a person forms and regulates his script. That is, he consciously chooses the path, but not without the help and influence of his parents.
  • Other researchers (Adler, Berne, Rogers) adhere to the theory of the unconscious. And among the leading factors that determine the scenario are the parents’ parenting style and their personal characteristics, the child’s birth order, first and last name, random stress factors and situations, and upbringing by grandparents.

Personal growth

Personal growth is a product of life’s journey, considered through an assessment of an individual’s ability to manage his life, build relationships with others, defend his beliefs, and perceive life as one in all its diversity.

  • The basis of this is reflection. A quality that begins to develop in childhood and which involves a person’s analysis of his own actions. This is an element of self-awareness - introspection.
  • The second basic element arising from reflection is personal autonomy, that is, self-control, taking responsibility for one’s choice and the right to make this choice.

Personal growth is closely related to self-esteem and evaluation, or rather, it is nothing more than a transition from a system of external criteria to a system of internal ones, based on personal beliefs.

The concept of personality development

The process of personality formation, which begins in the first months of birth, continues almost continuously throughout life. An individual gains experience in communication, learns to adapt to the situation, realizes his uniqueness and tries to show it to others. Over time, there is a need to stand out from the crowd.

Note! Often the need to stand out in society and be useful to it occurs at the level of contradiction.

Later, the individual wants to be useful to others, to contribute to the development of society. All this is the formation of personality, which is characterized by different stages and phases. When describing how personality is formed, modern sources of information adhere to long-established definitions of these stages and phases of personality formation. They include information about how an individual behaves almost from birth, and what impact various factors have on his personal development.


Now it’s worth moving on to a description of the existing stages in the formation of an individual’s personality. The main and essential phases of personality development will be considered.

The main stages of personality development according to A. N. Leontiev

To begin with, it is worth turning to the division according to A. N. Leontiev, according to which the human personality in the process of its formation experiences two births :

  1. The first birth of personality occurs during the preschool age of the individual. It is marked by the appearance of the first hierarchical relationships. During this period, social norms for the first time subjugate immediate impulses. Psychologist and philosopher A. N. Leontyev gives an example that very well describes the process occurring in this case. This is called the “bittersweet effect” . The situation is this: a preschool child receives the following task from the experimenter - to take candy from the table, but without getting up from his chair. Of course, the task is essentially impossible, but at the same time it demonstrates a very important point in the process of personality formation. The child sits on a chair that is located opposite the table with candy lying on it. The experimenter leaves the room for a while, but has the opportunity to observe the subject remotely. The child does not have the opportunity to leave his seat, but at the same time, when the adult leaves the room, he gains freedom, gets up and takes the candy, then calmly sits back on the chair. At this moment the experimenter returns. He always praises the child for his patience and obedience, and then offers him candy as a prize. The child, feeling guilty, immediately refuses, and then, after offers to take the prize candy, begins to cry. The candy he took became “bitter” for him . Now it’s worth analyzing the situation in detail. The child was placed in a rather difficult situation for him. The task and the conditions for its implementation created a conflict of motives . That is, the child simultaneously wants to take candy from the table (direct motivation), but at the same time, he wants to follow the adult’s order (social motive). When the adult left the room, immediate impulse took precedence in this conflict of motives. But when the experimenter returned, and then praised and offered candy, the social motive was updated in the child’s mind. The conflict of motives provoked the child’s experience , which already indicates the formation of certain personal qualities in his thinking.
  2. The second birth of personality according to A. N. Leontiev occurs already in adolescence . At this stage, a person actively tries to understand his motives, rethink his goals and objectives, and also makes efforts to subordinate and resubordinate his motives. The second criterion for the formation of a personality, which was indicated at the beginning of the article, precisely designates the individual’s inclination towards self-knowledge and self-improvement. During this period, the teenager is highly active in society, trying to realize himself in it. Special activities organized by society increasingly intersect with the activities of the individual.

Phases of personality development according to L. I. Bozhovich

L.I. Bozhovich offers a different point of view on the process of formation of an individual’s personality. In his opinion, turning points in the process of human personality development are crises that arise at the junction of two ages . Analysis of these crises allows us to better explore the psychological essence of the process of personal formation. Each age carries a central systemic neoplasm . Such neoplasms arise in response to the needs of the child. It should be noted that they carry a motivating force due to the presence of an affective component.

L. I. Bozhovich identified the following main stages:

  1. A newborn child cannot be called a person and cannot develop in this direction, because he simply does not have such an opportunity. During this period of his life, the child is simply an organism that has its usual biological needs;
  2. Already in the second year of life, the child develops his first personal neoplasm. It consists in the appearance of motivating ideas, which indicate the child’s ability to act in accordance with his internal motivations. Taking the path of personality formation can be traced by the child’s behavior in situations when they do not do it the way he wants it. The desire to do everything according to one’s inner motives can cause protest in the child;
  3. The crisis of three years marks the emergence in the child of a desire to influence the processes occurring around him. At this age, the child tries to perform some actions independently, which indicates the formation of his desire to influence the surrounding reality to satisfy his needs and desires;
  4. The third stage and crisis of seven years is characterized by the emergence in the child of consciousness of himself as a part of society. Here the child is trying to assess his place in the system of social relations. At this stage of personality formation, the formation of the child’s internal position is observed. There is also a protest that occurs if the child does not get what he wants;
  5. Adolescence is the most intense period influencing the formation of an individual's personality. A teenager is immersed in a complex world of experiences and goes through the “millstones” of society. He develops self-awareness and develops a strong desire for self-realization, self-affirmation and self-education.

Necessary criteria for personality development

To begin with, it is worth identifying two criteria for the formation of a human personality, which were highlighted by L. I. Bozhovich:

  1. The first criterion highlights the role of the presence of hierarchy in one specific sense in a person’s motives. Literally, this means a person's ability to abandon his own immediate motives in favor of something else. In this case, considering this criterion, we can say that the individual has indirect behavior. It is worth noting that the motives by which immediate impulses are overcome are socially significant. Also, these motives are social in origin, which implies the following: the motives appeared and were formed in the conditions of existence that influence the development of human society;
  2. The second criterion refers to the ability to consciously manage one’s behavior. The foundation of consciously made decisions is an understanding of one’s own principles, motives and goals.

We can say that the second criterion differs from the first in that it presupposes direct conscious subordination of certain motives . The first criterion notes the indirect behavior of a person, which has the peculiarity that it is likely to be based on decisions made, and a spontaneously formed motivational hierarchy . Spontaneous morality can also be considered - a phenomenon that means the implementation of an action or the adoption of this or that decision without having a justification for the reason for committing the act in this particular way. But at the same time, human behavior is not immoral or inappropriate.

The second feature is also a unique definition of mediated behavior, but at the same time, it emphasizes the presence of self-awareness as a special personal authority.


The formation of personality is influenced by a whole tandem of factors. What will a person become? Depends both on the “baggage” that his ancestors and parents awarded him, and on his own efforts. Personality formation is a process that continues throughout life, and any stop here can mean degradation and stagnation. Anyone who does not want to be on the sidelines of life will have to make a lot of effort.

Let's listen to the words of Brian Tracy: “Take control! You feel positive about yourself to the extent that you consider yourself in control of your own life.”

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