Adjustment in Psychology?

Adjustment in Psychology?

 The concept of Adjustment was initially a biological one and was a comer stone in Darwin's theory of evolution (1859). In Biology, the term usually employed was an adaptation. Darwin maintained that only those organisms most fitted to adapt to the hazards of the physical world survive. Biologists have continued to the concerned with the problem of biological adaptations, and much of human illness is based on the process of transformation to the stress of life.

In psychology, Adjustment refers to the behavioral process of balancing conflicting needs or needs challenged by obstacles in the environment. Humans and animals regularly adjust to their environment. For example, when their physiological state stimulates them to seek food, they eat (if possible) to reduce their hunger and adapt to the hunger stimulus. Adjustment disorder occurs when there is an inability to make a normal adjustment to some need or stress in the environment.

The dictionary meaning of the word "adjustment" is to fit, make suitable, adapt, arrange, modify, harmonize, or make correspondent. Thus, Adjusting between two things means adjusting one or both of them to correspond to each other. For example: wearing of cloth according to the season.  As we can't change the season, so we have to modify our clothes.

 However, the concept of Adjustment is not as simple as adaptation. Psychologist and scholars differ considerably in interpreting its meaning and nature. James Drever defines Adjustment as the modification to compensate for or special meat condition.

Skinner (1952:102),  "Adjustment involves the organization of personality. This organization leads to the stability that is a dynamic adjustment of the individual to his social and physical environment." 

Munn (1995: 21), "Adjustment is accommodating or fitting oneself to circumstances, as when we say that a student is adjusted to 4 or gets along well, with the group in which he finds himself"

According to Shaffer, L.S. "Adjustment is the process by which living organisms maintain a balance between their needs and the circumstances that influence these needs' satisfaction.

In the words of Coleman, James C., "Adjustment is the outcome of the individual's attempts to deal with the stress and meet his needs: also his efforts to maintain harmonious relationships with the environment.

And according to Carter V Good, "Adjustment is the process of finding and adopting modes of behavior suitable to the environment or the change in the environment." Adjustment can be defined as a process of altering one's behavior to reach a harmonious relationship with one environment. This is typically a response brought about by some change that has taken place. The stress of this change causes one to reach a new type of balance or homeostasis between the individual (both inwardly and outwardly) and their environment.

The Adjustment has been analyzed as an achievement as well as a process in psychology. Interpreting Adjustment as an achievement would necessitate effective performance in doing what one was expected to and engaged in. This would mean judging the quality on certain parameters. However, psychologists have been interested to examine Adjustment as a process. This entails examining the interaction of the individual with the external world.

 Adjustment refers to a process wherein one builds variations in the behaviour to achieve harmony with oneself, others or the environment with an aim to maintain the state of equilibrium between the individual and the environment. Adjustment must encourage specific changes so that the optimum relationship between the self and surrounding can be achieved and maintained

Adjustment a Continuous process

The process of Adjustment is continuous. It starts at one's birth and goes on without stop till one's death. A person and his environment are continually changing, and his needs following the demands of the changing external environment. Consequently, the process or terms of an individual's Adjustment can be expected to change from situation to situation. According to Arkoff  (1968), there is nothing satisfactory or complete Adjustment, which can be achieved once and for all time. It is something that is continuously achieved and re-achieved by us (Mangal,2006).

 Adjustment Mechanism

An adjustment mechanism is a device used by the individual to achieve satisfaction of the need indirectly. This helps reducing tensions and assists him in maintaining self-respect. With limits adjustment mechanisms are desirable and very helpful in dealing with frustration. Carried to extreme, they lead to behavior disorders. Following are adjustment mechanisms:

  • Compensation. Compensation is a concept where the individual attempts to cover up his/her weakness in one area by exhibiting his/her strength in another. A student deficient in physical activities may compensate himself for showing promising results in the academic field and vice versa.

  • Identification. Identification is a concept when an individual attempts to identify himself with some successful person. To hide his failures, a student may identify with his father and talk about his success. 

  • Rationalization. Rationalization means shifting responsibility for our failures to factors outside it, i.e., many students attribute their failure to the stiff question paper.

  • Projection. This tends to 'push out' upon another person's own unrealized, frustrated ambitions or attribute to another one's faults. For example, school learners are often the victims of their parents' projection of their former hopes for higher education and higher social status.

  • Day-Dreaming. The creative fulfillment of needs is called daydreaming. Daydreaming provides mental relief to an individual if it is done with limits. It becomes very detrimental when it is carried to excess (Aggarwal,1995).

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