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  • The Lived Experience of Self-Identified Introverts: A Phenomenological Approach to

    Understanding the Essence of Introversion with Respect to Self-concept

    Paula Jean Remus B.A., University of Calgary, 2000

    A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of the Degree of

    MASTER OF ARTS

    in the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies

    O Paula Jean Remus, 2005 University of Victoria

    All rights reserved. This thesis may not be reproduced in whole or in part, by photocopy or other means, without the permission of the author.

  • . . Introversion 11

    Supervisors: Dr. Geoff Hett and Dr. Blythe Shepard

    Abstract

    The term introversion has been associated with such traits as "introspection"

    and "quietness", as well as more current yet controversial terms like "shy" and "anti-

    social". The misperceptions of the term "introvert" has led many introverted

    individuals to feel misunderstood in our predominantly extraverted Western society.

    The present study employed a hermeneutic phenomenological approach to explore the

    lived experience of self-identified introverts. To understand how the self-concept of

    introverts has been influenced by our extraverted society, five self-identified

    introverts were interviewed. Interviews were thematically analyzed to identify

    categories: Perceptions of Self, Perceptions and Concepts of Self in Relation to

    Others and Environment, Trial and Tribulation Experiences, and Meaningful

    Experiences and The Call for Change. Challenges associated with being a self-

    identified introvert essentially involved social realms (e.g., educatiodwork systems,

    and general relationships with others). Implications for the general, educational, and

    counselling communities were discussed, in addition to recommendations for societal

    change.

    Supervisors: Dr. G. Hett and Dr. B. Shepard (Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies)

  • ... Introversion 111

    Table of Contents

    . . Abstract ......................................................................................................................... 11

    ... Table of Contents ......................................................................................................... 111

    List of Tables ................................................................................................................ v

    Acknowledgements ...................................................................................................... vi

    . . Dedication ................................................................................................................... vll

    Chapter One: Introduction ............................................................................................ 1 .................................................................................... Introducing the Phenomenon 1

    .......................................................................................... Statement of the Problem 7 ................................................................................................. Purpose of the Study 7

    ......................................................................................... Summary of Chapter One 8

    Chapter Two: Literature Review ................................................................................. 10 ............................................................................................................. Introduction 10

    ...................................... Historical Groundwork on Introversion and Extraversion 10 .................................................... Characteristics of Introversion and Extraversion 13

    ........................................... Self-Consciousness: A Distinct Introverted Quality 16 ............................................................................................................ Self-concept 17

    ...................................... Working Example of the Misconceptions of Introversion 19 ...................................................... Division Between Shyness and Introversion 20

    .............................................. Temperament Type and Self-concept: Implications 21 ......................................................... Implications for the Counselling Community 24

    ................................................................................................................. Summary 26

    Chapter Three: Methodology ...................................................................................... 27 ............................................................................................................. Introduction 27

    General Approach . Qualitative Paradigm .............................................................. 27 Research Design ...................................................................................................... 28

    Why Phenomenology? ........................................................................................ 28 Why Hermeneutic (Interpretive) Phenomenology? ............................................ 29

    Entering Assumptions ............................................................................................. 33 Participants .............................................................................................................. 34 Pre-Pilot and Pilot Study ......................................................................................... 36

    ....................................................................... Instrumentation for Data Collection 36 ................................................................................... Procedure for Data Analysis 40

    ................................................................................................ Quality of the Study 42 ................................................................................. Criteria of Trustworthiness 42

    ............................................................................................ Ethical Considerations 46 ..................................................................................... Summary of Chapter Three 46

  • Introversion iv

    .................................................................................................. Chapter Four: Results 48 ............................................................................................................. Introduction 48

    ..................................................................... Essential Structure of the Experience 48 Categorical. Cluster. and Thematic Structures ........................................................ 51

    Category One: Perceptions of Self .................................................................... 52 Category Two: Perceptions & Concepts of Self in Relation to Others & Environment ...................................................................................................... 58 Category Three: Trial and Tribulation Experiences ........................................... 77

    .................... Category Four: Meaningful Experiences and The Call for Change 89 Reflections from the Primary Researcher ............................................................. 103

    ................. The Researchers Experience of "Being" a Self-Identified Introvert 103 Reflections on the Research Process ................................................................. 106

    ..................................................................................... Summary of Chapter Four 108

    ............................................................................................... Chapter 5: Discussion 110 ........................................................................................................... Introduction 110

    ......................................................................................... Research Contributions 110 ...................................................................................................... Purpose One 110 ..................................................................................................... Purpose Two 113

    ........................................................................... Comparisons to the Literature 115 ............................................................................................................ Limitations 119 ........................................................................................................... Implications 120

    ......................................................... Implications for the General Community 120 ............................................................. Implications for Educational Institutes 121

    ................................................... Implications for the Counselling Community 121 ............................................................................. Future Directions for Research 122

    ...................................................................................................... Final Summary 123

    ................................................................................................................. References 126

    ..................................... Appendix A: Self-Assessment for Introverts Questionnaire 134

    Appendix B: Informed Consent Form ....................................................................