If the lifestyle is adaptive, Adler referred to it as a socially useful type. To be so characterized, a person must act in ways beneficial to others. This does not necessarily imply economic productivity or acts generally considered altruistic. Adler included artists and poets as people who "serve a social function more than anyone else. They have taught us how to see, how to think, and how to feel" (Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956, p. 153). These people have a well-developed sense of "social interest," which is described in a later section of this chapter. In addition, they feel a sense of internal control (Minton, 1968), an attitude that is especially important in the cognitive social learning theories of Rotter, Mischel, and Bandura.
Longitudinal research confirms Adler's prediction that style of life is consistent from childhood to adulthood (Pulkkinen, 1992). Identification of lifestyle in childhood is particularly important because intervention may prevent undesirable patterns from becoming resistant to change (Ansbacher, 1988).
Although Adler said that each person was fully responsible for his or her own choices in life, he did recognize that circumstances could incline people toward either undesirable or desirable styles of life. He was critical of restrictive sex roles (especially for women), of warlike orientations in government, and of poverty and adverse living conditions. These societal factors impede the development of a psychologically healthy lifestyle. Because style of life is developed early, the family is a particularly important influence. Adler, like Freud, described relationships with parents. In addition, he considered the impact of siblings on personality development.
A child begins life in a helpless state. Parents can help or hinder the development of a healthy lifestyle to compensate for this fundamental felt minus. They can help prevent neurosis by protecting the child from tasks too difficult to be successfully completed and by ensuring that appropriate tasks are available. Parents err if they tiy to make their chil-
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