Unbound MEDLINE

Adolescent psychological and academic adjustment as a function of discrepancies between actual and ideal self-perceptions.

Abstract

Actual-ideal discrepancies are associated with adolescent emotional distress and there is evidence that the size of discrepancies matters. However, the direction of discrepancies has not been examined, perhaps due to limitations of widely used self-discrepancy measures. Two hundred and twelve 7th, 9th and 11th grade students (59% female) in a public school in Jamaica described their actual and ideal selves in several different domains--friendship, dating, schoolwork, family, sports, and religion/spirituality--using a Pie measure. Students also completed measures of depressive symptoms, self-esteem, and academic achievement. Discrepancies favoring the ideal self and those favoring the actual self were linked to depressive symptoms, low self-esteem, and poor school grades in the domains of friendship, dating, and schoolwork. Effects were stronger among older adolescents than among younger adolescents. Theories of actual/ideal self-discrepancies have focused on problems arising when the ideal self overshadows the actual self; however, the present study finds that self-discrepancies, regardless of their direction, are a liability. Implications for self-discrepancy measurement, adolescent development, and clinical practice are discussed.

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  • Publisher Full Text
  • Authors

    Ferguson GM, Hafen CA, Laursen B

    Source

    Journal of youth and adolescence 39:12 2010 Dec pg 1485-97

    MeSH

    Achievement
    Adaptation, Psychological
    Adolescent
    Adolescent Psychology
    Age Factors
    Aspirations (Psychology)
    Child
    Cross-Sectional Studies
    Defense Mechanisms
    Depressive Disorder
    Female
    Friends
    Humans
    Male
    Personal Satisfaction
    Personality Assessment
    Psychometrics
    Self Concept
    Social Identification
    Socioeconomic Factors

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
    Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    19830533