The article highlights the peculiarities of reflection development at people of different ages. Reflection as a structural component of personality is develop synchronously with moving into adulthood. However, this natural process can be slowed down and even distorted due to traumatic negative life experiences. The frustration of basic social needs leads to refusal to reflect on painful experiences. In turn, an individual’s life experience cannot be assimilated by him/her. A vicious circle emerges: the development of reflection, which is closely related to personal growth in general, is inhibited, and personal growth cannot take place without awareness and assimilation of one’s life experience. Thus, it can be concluded that personal maturity, the development of its components, in general, and reflection, in particular, are not always related to an individual’s age.
These phenomena were studied in the empirical study participated by people of different ages; the narrative method was used. A narrative can become an important means for psychological cognition of experience as a holistic component of personal consciousness. Narratives give an opportunity to understand better an individual and various aspects of his/her experience and to identify the life moments that become events for the individual and later become part of his/her personality. By analysing narrative texts, we can identify psychologically significant structures of life experience characteristic for the studied age groups. At different age stages, narratives have special structures and content characteristics, which reveal an individual’s personal qualities and his/her worldview. Three age groups were selected: primary schoolchildren, adolescents (high school students) and university students.
The dynamics of reflection development at different age groups was determined. The indicators of reflection development at primary schoolchildren corresponded to the normal distribution. Increased reflexivity is observed at adolescents. These processes are somewhat slowed down at university students, so their reflection and personal maturity were at the level lower compared to that of adolescents.
The existing correlation between reflection and the ability to understand and integrate one’s own life experience is proved; the indicators characterizing personal development and the indicators of reflection were closely related. The relations between reflection and personal maturity showed certain dynamics. It is manifested in different quantitative and qualitative terms at different life stages. Reflection and personal maturity are developed synchronously, but not always in correspondence with age development.
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