The Implications of Unmitigated Agency and Unmitigated Communion for Domains of Problem Behavior

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Abstract

Agency and communion are broad dimensions of personality that reflect a focus on the self and a focus on others, respectively. In this article, we distinguish unmitigated agency, a focus on the self to the exclusion of others, from agency, and we distinguish unmitigated communion, a focus on others to the exclusion of self, from communion. We argue that it is unmitigated agency and unmitigated communion that are linked to domains of problem behavior, in particular relationship difficulties and poor health behavior. Unmitigated agency and unmitigated communion are associated with a lack of support from others, a reluctance to ask others for help, and a range of poor health behaviors. The reasons for these links differ. The links to problem behavior for unmitigated communion individuals stem from their tendency to subjugate their own needs to the needs of others and their dependence on others for esteem. The links to problem behavior for unmitigated agency individuals stem from their unwillingness to attend to relationships and their negative view of others.

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