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Self-Discrepancies on the Big Five Personality Factors METHOD “In each kind of self, material, social, and spiritual, men distinguish between the immediate.

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Presentation on theme: "Self-Discrepancies on the Big Five Personality Factors METHOD “In each kind of self, material, social, and spiritual, men distinguish between the immediate."— Presentation transcript:

1 Self-Discrepancies on the Big Five Personality Factors METHOD “In each kind of self, material, social, and spiritual, men distinguish between the immediate and actual, and the remote and potential, between the narrower and the wider view, to the detriment of the former and advantage of the latter.” (p. 315) Since William James penned these words in 1890, psychologists have been interested in measuring different conceptualizations of self, such as the actual, ideal, and ought selves. In recent years a number of researchers have further attempted to measure discrepancies among these different selves on the Big Five personality traits. The current study introduces a generic method for measuring the actual, ideal, and ought selves on any trait model of personality. The method incorporates Kelly’s repertory grid technique and relies on Multiple Group Confirmatory Components Analysis to compute scores for the various selves on the different traits. We demonstrate how this method can be used to measure the actual, ideal, and ought selves on the Big Five personality factors. Using the scores for the different selves, we also test several key predictions of Higgins’ theory that links different self-discrepancies to depression, anxiety, and self-esteem. The current study shows the new method of assessment to be more parsimonious and empirical than existing methods. The results regarding the predictions derived from Higgins’ theory, however, were not supported. INTRODUCTION  Hart, Field, Garfinkle, and Singer (1997) posited a semantic space model of cognition in which the different selves are situated. Given this semantic space, the proximities between the actual and ideal selves can be measured and correlated with measures of self-esteem and mood. Higgins (1987) also relied on a semantic space model of cognition, and specifically showed that the discrepancy between the actual and ideal selves regulates particular emotional states such as depression and anxiety.  Efforts have also been made to integrate self-discrepancy research with modern trait theories of personality. Hart, Field, Garfinkle, and Singer (1997), for instance, examined the relationships between various self-discrepancies and scores on the NEO-FFI (Costa & McCrae, 1989), a measure of the Big Five personality factors: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, and Agreeableness.  Hafdahl, Panter, Gramzow, Sedikides, and Insko (2000) further introduced a novel measurement and scoring procedure to obtain scores for different selves (e.g., the actual and ideal selves) on the Big Five factors. They then computed discrepancies between various pairs of selves and correlated the resulting values with measures of self-esteem and depression.  In the current study, we introduce a novel method for measuring self-discrepancies on the Big Five personality traits. This new method is standardized and parsimonious, offering significant advantages over the complex and time-consuming procedures employed in previous studies. We also show how this method can be used to test the relationships between self-discrepancies on the Big Five personality traits and other psychological measures. More specifically, we test several of the key predictions from Higgins’ self-discrepancy theory. Using Idiogrid (Grice, 2002), participants completed repertory grids in which they rated the actual, ideal, and ought selves, and 22 other individuals (e.g., mom, dad, significant other) on 30 Big Five personality descriptors (6 items per trait). The actual self was defined as “yourself as you truly are.” The ideal self was defined as “yourself as you would truly like to be.” The ought self was defined as “yourself as others would expect or like you to be.” The Big Five descriptors were randomly selected for each participant from the International Item Pool (Goldberg, 1999). Participants finally completed the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), with anxiety and depression subscales, and the Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale (RSE). PARTICIPANTS  Multiple Group Confirmatory Components Analyses (MGCCA) were conducted to fit the Big Five trait model to each participant’s grid. MGCCA creates a semantic space comprised of the Big Five factors in which the different selves and 22 individuals are situated. Figure 1 shows one participant’s 2-dimensional semantic space comprised of the extraversion and neuroticism traits. CONCLUSIONS  The present study shows that a trait model of personality can be assessed at the level of the individual, and that ratings for different selves can be obtained on personality traits in a parsimonious and empirical fashion.  The current methods are consistent with semantic space approaches to self- concept, although the results of analyses comparing self-discrepancies on the Big Five traits to subjective emotional well-being were mostly nonsignificant.  Future directions include eliciting personally relevant constructs and Big Five dimensions to compare nomothetic and idiographic self-discrepancies. CONTACT INFORMATION Please send inquiries to: Brenda McDaniel Dr. James Grice Thank you for your interest in our research! One hundred twenty-nine undergraduate students (72 women and 57 men), 18 to 29 years of age (M = 19.6, Mdn = 19), participated in this study in exchange for course credit. Four participants were excluded from data analysis due to computer malfunctions and clerical errors. The sample consisted of 81.4% Caucasians, 4.7% African Americans, 4.7% Native Americans, 3.1% Asian-Pacific Islanders, 1.6% Hispanics; and 4.7% of the participants reported their ethnicity as “other.” RESULTS (CONT.)  The Big Five component scores were compared to the measures of depression, anxiety, and self-esteem. Results from regression analyses generally failed to support Higgins’ self-discrepancy theory. However, depression was associated with ratings on extraversion [F (3, 110) = 3.03, p =.03, R 2 =.08] for the ought self alone (b = -1.13, β =.54, p =.04). No relationships with anxiety were found. Also, for conscientiousness the actual/ideal self-discrepancy predicted self-esteem while controlling for the ought self ratings [F (3, 111) = 3.34, p =.02, R 2 =.08; actual self b = 2.08, β = 1.05, p =.05; ideal self b = -3.68, β = 1.52, p =.02; ought self b = 2.66, β = 1.36, p =.05].  MGCCA also yields scores for the actual, ideal, and ought selves, as well as for the other 22 rated individuals, on the five components. These scores represent the relative positions of the different selves and the other individuals on the Big Five traits. Figure 2 shows the average component scores for the actual, ideal, and ought selves on each of the Big Five traits. As can be seen, the ratings for the three selves varied across the five traits, but the ideal self was consistently rated most extreme. Brenda L. McDaniel & James W. Grice Oklahoma State University ABSTRACT RESULTS Figure2. Mean Component Scores for Various Selves on the Big Five Dimensions


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