Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Psychologists' childhoods : who becomes helpers and why ?

People can go into a career in psychology for many reasons ; altruism, the pursuit of personal growth and satisfaction and a wish for vocational achievement. It has also been suggested that people go into psychology to resolve personal distress, to fulfil needs for closeness and intimacy that were not met in childhood or to continue with a role in which they - rather than their parents - were the caretakers within the family ('parentification'). A study of 166 students in London found that those who wanted to become clinical psychologists did have higher rates of perceived childhood sexual abuse and neglect compared to other psychology students and business studies' students and they also reported more 'parentification' experiences between the ages of 14 and 16 than business students. However those students who wanted to become clinical psychologists were no more likely than other students to be suffering from mental health problems in the present.

Nikcevic, Ana V., Kramolisova-Advani, Jana and Spada, Marcantonio M. - Early childhood experiences and current emotional distress : what do they tell us about aspiring psychologists. Journal of Psychology January 2007, 141(1), 25-34

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