The research presented in this article was supported by grants R03 AG19328 and R01 AG21147 from the National Institute on Aging to Manfred Diehl. The authors would like to thank Brent Roberts and an anonymous reviewer for their thoughtful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.
Contextualized Self-Representations in Adulthood
Article first published online: 24 SEP 2007
Journal of Personality
Volume 75, Issue 6, pages 1255–1284, December 2007
How to Cite
Diehl, M. and Hay, E. L. (2007), Contextualized Self-Representations in Adulthood. Journal of Personality, 75: 1255–1284. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2007.00475.x
- Issue published online: 24 SEP 2007
- Article first published online: 24 SEP 2007
ABSTRACT Theorizing has focused on individuals' self-representations as a psychological resource for coping with life stress and developmental challenges in adulthood. Many of the prominent theories have conceptualized self-representations with regard to specific social contexts (e.g., role-specific self-representations) and have examined specific structural organizations of the self-concept with regard to psychological adjustment. This article describes research on the associations between self-concept structures and psychological well-being in adulthood. Specific emphasis is given to the feature of self-concept differentiation (SCD). Most research suggests that a high level of SCD tends to indicate self-fragmentation and tends to be associated with poorer adjustment and psychological well-being. Findings from a daily diary study with adults of all ages are reported showing that different levels of SCD were in a consistent and meaningful way related to the daily endorsement of positive and negative self-attributes. Daily self-representations, in turn, were significantly related to individuals' level of daily negative affect and to intra-individual variation in negative affect. These findings suggest that SCD may exert its effect on adjustment and psychological well-being through specific ways of processing self-related information.