First, this study examined the relationship among the dimensions of trait empathy, internal other-consciousness, concern for others, and interpersonal adjustment (family relations, friendship, and relations with teachers) in first-grade junior high school boys and girls. The dimensions of trait empathy, which influenced the scores of the interpersonal adjustment scales, were different between boys and girls. The boys' scores pertaining to friendship and relations with teachers were influenced by empathic concern; however, the girls' scores for the same scales were influenced by cognitive empathy. Second, this study examined (1) what emotion is shared by these students and (2) with whom and to what degree is it shared among junior high school pupils, using a newly developed empathy scale containing these dimensions. The following were prepared as its subscales: sharing emotions with family, sharing emotions with friends, sharing emotions with strangers, sharing pleasure, sharing suffering, sharing sadness, and sharing anger. The results revealed that junior high school pupils shared emotions with their family and friends to great extent; however, they did not share similar emotions with strangers. Among the four emotions, they shared pleasure the most. The girls' scores in the empathy-related traits were higher than those of the boys'.
Feelings of young people about inferiority in their appearance were analyzed and developmental changes in adolescence were investigated. Participants were junior high school, senior high school, and university students (n=433) who responded to items about recognition of inferiority in their appearance and related feelings. The results indicated that these feelings could be classified into six types: dissatisfactory feelings, sad feelings, ego-shrinking feelings, hostile feelings, yearning feelings, and self-affirmative feelings. Moreover, the results of cluster analysis indicated that the feelings could be classified into five types; other-ignoring type, self-affirmative type, self-negative type, yearning type, and other-aggressive type. For male, junior high school students showed the other-aggressive type more than other age-groups, high school students showed the other-ignoring type more than other age-groups, and university students showed the self-affirmative type more than other age-groups. Conversely, for females, junior high school students showed yearning type more than other age-groups, high school students showed the self-negative type and yearning types more than other age-groups, and university students showed the self-affirmative type more than other age-groups. These findings suggest that developmental changes of these feelings in adolescence are in transition; for males, aggression and ignoring others were disappearing and inferiority in their appearance was being accepted, whereas for females, yearning for others was changing into self-negation and inferiority in their appearance was being accepted.
The function of friendship in the internal adaptation of college students was investigated. Undergraduates (n=315; 165 males and 150 females) were asked to imagine two kinds of friends, a high-interaction intimate friend (HI-friend) and a low-interaction intimate friend (LI-friend), and to respond to the Friendship Function scale, the Degree of Relationship Satisfaction scale, the Feeling of Fulfillment scale and the General Health Questionnaire-12. Results indicate the following. (1) Most undergraduates had both HI- and LI-friends. (2) In male students, the significance of HI-friendships to the "meaning of life," directly promoted a feeling of fulfillment, and the "prospect of continuing LI-friendships," indirectly promoted psychological health. (3) In female students, "affirmation and acceptance" by HI-friendships, directly promoted life satisfaction. Moreover, the "prospect of continuing the friendship," "advice, and self-disclosure" in LI-friendships indirectly promoted psychological health.
I have advocated "Transformative and Consensual Validation" as a research method in adolescent psychology, to help understand the adolescent as an agent in their own development. This method is based on the following two requisites: First, research should focus on the process of participants' transformation, which occurs through the awareness of who they are. Second, the changes measured by a researcher should be confirmed by the participants themselves. The review of four empirical studies that used this method suggested that, only when participants shared the research frame, could they support the research results. The paper concludes that further studies, beyond the educational settings in which previous studies were done, are needed in order to generalize from the findings.
Psychological problems of university students when deciding on their future careers were investigated. In Study 1, based on the information from free description and previous studies on worries of such students, a questionnaire was created. The factor analysis of a questionnaire identified six types of worries. Comparing the worries of students that had decided on careers with those that had not, indicated that the later group had vague and uncertain worries about the self, and about the lack of self-confidence. In Study 2, the relationship between beliefs about career decisions and worries was investigated. Three kinds of beliefs about career decisions were identified. Results indicated that the beliefs, "career decisions should be made only once and should not be changed," and "my own social assessment is decided by my career," were related to worries about career decisions.