Preparation of this manuscript was facilitated by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD 19914) and the National Institute of Mental Health (MH 18922) to the Human Motivation Program, Department of Psychology, University of Rochester.
The Imaginary Audience, Self-Consciousness, and Public Individuation in Adolescence
Article first published online: 28 APR 2006
Journal of Personality
Volume 62, Issue 2, pages 219–238, June 1994
How to Cite
Ryan, R. M. and Kuczkowski, R. (1994), The Imaginary Audience, Self-Consciousness, and Public Individuation in Adolescence. Journal of Personality, 62: 219–238. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.1994.tb00292.x
- Issue published online: 28 APR 2006
- Article first published online: 28 APR 2006
- Manuscript received December 26,1991; revised November 3,1992.
ABSTRACT In this study, we examined the construct of the imaginary audience (Elkind & Bowen, 1979), presumably a precipitant of adolescent egocentrism, as it relates to public individuation and self-consciousness. We hypothesized that the imaginary audience inhibits public individuation and represents a critical form of public self-consciousness. We also argued that the imaginary audience is a normal aspect of early adolescent development that diminishes in the context of secure parental relationships by late adolescence but remains salient if these relationships are insecure. These hypotheses were examined in a cross-sectional study of 850 adolescents in the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 12th grades. Support was generally found for the hypothesized relations. The validity and limitations of the imaginary audience and public individuation constructs are discussed, along with more general theoretical issues concerning adolescent self-consciousness.