Self

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THE UNDESIRED SELF AND EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE: A LATENT VARIABLE ANALYSIS By: Ann G. Phillips, Paul J. Silvia, and Matthew J. Paradise Phillips, A. G., Silvia, P. J., & Paradise, M. J. (2007). The undesired self and emotional experience: A latent variable analysis. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 26, 1035-1047. Made available courtesy of Guilford Press: http://www.guilford.com/cgibin/cartscript.cgi?page=periodicals/jnsc.htm&cart_id=951774.7814 ***Note: Figures may be missing from this format of the document Abstract: Many self-theories presume that discrepancies between the self and goals for the self influence emotional experience. The present research compared how discrepancies from ideal selves, ought selves, and undesired selves predict negative emotions. In particular, the research tested Ogilvie's (1987) claim that the undesired self has stronger effects on well-being relative to ideal and ought selves. A total of 231 participants completed several measures of self-discrepancies and negative emotions. Consistent with Ogilvie's hypothesis, discrepancies from the undesired self significantly predicted negative emotions, whereas discrepancies from the ideal and ought selves did not. No type of discrepancy, however, predicted negative affect when global selfesteem was entered as a predictor, indicating a lack of incremental validity for self-discrepancies. Article: Many self-theories presume that discrepancies between the self and goals for the self influence emotional experience. The present research compared how discrepancies from ideal selves, ought selves, and undesired selves predict negative emotions. In particular, the research tested Ogilvie's (1987) claim that the undesired self has stronger effects on well-being relative to ideal and ought selves. A total of 231 participants completed several measures of self-discrepancies and negative emotions. Consistent with Ogilvie's hypothesis, discrepancies from the undesired self significantly predicted negative emotions, whereas discrepancies from the ideal and ought selves did not. No type of discrepancy, however, predicted negative affect when global selfesteem was entered as a predictor, indicating a lack of incremental validity for self-discrepancies. People distinguish between the self as it is and the self as it could be (Markus & Nurius, 1986). Representations of possible states of the self function as goals and standards (Carver & Scheier, 1998; Duval & Wicklund, 1972), so it is important to understand how these self-states influence self-regulation. Several theories have examined how representations of possible selves differ (Carver, 1996; Higgins, 1987; Ogilvie, 1987) and whether these differences influence emotion and action (Leary, 2003; Ogilvie, 1987; Phillips & Silvia, 2005). Self-discrepancy theory (Higgins, 1987) proposes that discrepancies from ideal and ought selves create negative affect. Ogilvie (1987), in contrast, suggests that the undesired self-an avoidance-based self-goal-has a more powerful influence on emotions relative to ideal and ought selves. The present research examines how these three kinds of possible selves-ideal selves, ought selves, and undesired selves-predict emotional experience. SELF-DISCREPANCY THEORY Self-discrepancy theory (Higgins, 1987) posits three domains of the self: actual, ideal, and ought. The actual self is the person's representation of who he or she is currently. The ideal self is the representation of who he or she would like to become, such as wishes and aspirations for the self. The ought self is the representation of who a person feels he or she should become, such as duties and obligations for the self. Self-discrepancy theory predicts that discrepancies between the actual and ideal selves cause dejected emotions such as depression and sadness, and that discrepancies between the actual and ought selves cause agitated emotions such as anxiety and tension (Higgins, Klein, & Strauman, 1985).

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