The Importance of Importance in the Physical Self: Support for the Theoretically Appealing but Empirically Elusive Model of James

Authors


concerning this article should be addressed to Magnus Lindwall, Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, P.O. Box 500, SE-405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden. Email: Magnus.Lindwall@psy.gu.se.

Abstract

ABSTRACT This study tested James's theoretical assumption that the importance people attribute to different physical self-domains, in combination with perceived competence in those domains, influences higher order self-concepts. Data from four large samples (total N=1,831) from Sweden, Great Britain, Portugal, and Turkey were analyzed. A new version of an instrument, the Physical Self-Perception Profile-Revised (PSPP-R), was used to measure perceived competence and importance of physical self-domains, along with global self-esteem. Competence-importance interactions contributed significantly to higher order self-concepts in 3 of 4 PSPP subdomains. The same result was found in the structural equation modeling analyses and latent interaction analyses. Idiographic analyses showed that domains rated as intraindividually more important explained more global self-esteem variance compared with less important domains. In general, support for James's hypothesis was found across the different analyses. Differences between the methodology and results in the present study compared with previous studies are discussed.

Ancillary