Self-Concept Clarity and the Management of Social Conflict


concerning this article should be addressed to Myriam N. Bechtoldt, J. W. Goethe-University, Dept. of Psychology, Kettenhofweg 128, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany. E-mail:


ABSTRACT: In 4 studies we examined the relationship between self-concept clarity and conflict management. Individuals with higher self-concept clarity were overall more active and showed more cooperative problem-solving behavior than people with low self-concept clarity. There were no relationships with contending or yielding. The positive relationship with cooperative behavior was mediated by less rumination (Study 2) and moderated by conflict intensity (Study 3). Specifically, it applied to relatively mild conflicts (Study 3). Finally, Study 4 extended these findings to the group level: Dyad members with higher self-concept clarity engaged in problem solving, whereas dyad members with lower self-concept clarity did not. We conclude that higher self-concept clarity associates with proactive problem solving in social conflict.