Module 5: young people, society and AOD: learner's workbook

2.1 Significance of values and attitudes

Page last updated: 2004

Values are beliefs about what is good and desirable. This includes what we consider good and desirable for ourselves, for others and for the wider community.

Each worker has a unique perspective on the world and has their own set of values. These can often be traced back to our experiences as children and the messages that we get from our parents, friends and society as we grow into adults. As we mature we develop our own attitudes towards life. We discard some parts of our value system and adopt new values.

We bring to the workplace a whole range of life experiences that define who we are. It is neither possible nor desirable to separate ourselves into a 'work' self and another 'social' or 'family' self. We may modify our behaviour to fit work or social situations, but it is not psychologically healthy to alter our whole personality or to split our psyches into separate selves.

Our identity is not fixed but is constantly evolving as a result of our interactions with friends, family, co-workers and clients. We are also influenced by our interactions with employers and with social institutions. For example, people who work in a health environment might absorb ideas about harm minimisation. These ideas are gradually absorbed into our value system and become part of who we are.

Task - writing exercise

Note: If you are completing this by distance learning ask two other people for their responses to these questions and compare them to your own. Write your first response and encourage those who assist you to do the same.

Question - Write down three words that describe what you think about young people today.

Question - In one or two sentences describe the role of parents in today's society.

Question - Write down three words that describe what you think of young people who use AOD.

The importance of being aware

Being aware of our values and attitudes is important because it helps us to:
  • identify why we are doing what we are doing
  • identify what the consequences of our actions will be for ourselves or for the young person or colleague
  • consider other or better options
  • be more aware of the reasons for our responses to situations.