Stability within the self: a longitudinal study of the structural implications of self-discrepancy theory.
Self-discrepancy theory emphasizes the emotional significance of patterns of relations between the self-concept and ideal and ought self-guides and predicts stability within the self related to structural characteristics independent of specific self-beliefs. It was hypothesized that whereas participants' specific self-descriptions would vary substantially over time, magnitude of self-discrepancy, regulatory focus (the individual's dominant self-guide domain), and other structural features would be stable. Participants (N = 47) were recruited from 2 samples that had completed a self-belief interview and a childhood memory cued-recall task 3 years earlier (T. J. Strauman, 1990). As expected, participants' self-descriptions varied, but magnitude and type of self-discrepancy, associations between self-guide domains and childhood memories, and correlates of regulatory focus were stable.
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