Japanese Journal of Social Psychology
Online ISSN : 2189-1338
Print ISSN : 0916-1503
ISSN-L : 0916-1503
Does higher self-concept differentiation predict better psychological adjustment? A re-examination from the perspective of Level of Personal Agency
Jian DuKazuo Kato
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2020 Volume 36 Issue 1 Pages 1-9


It has been asked theoretically whether or not more Self-Concept Differentiation (SCD) leads to better psychological adjustment; empirical findings, however, have shown results inconsistent with theoretical hypotheses so far. We argued that previous studies have focused only on the differentiation of self, without acknowledging two types of people being possibly confounded. We hypothesized that the tendency of thinking in more abstract/organized vs. concrete/unorganized ways (as measured by Level of Personal Agency, LPA) would be one of the factors that could distinguish those two types. To examine this possibility, 320 Chinese college students were asked to complete a questionnaire including measures of SCD, LPA, and Subjective Well-Being (SWB). Findings demonstrated the expected significant interaction between LPA and SCD. In the low LPA group, high SCD students self-rated lower in SWB than low SCD students; in the high LPA group, however, high SCD students scored higher in SWB than low SCD students. Those findings suggested that to predict psychological adjustment, we need to take into account not only the extent of SCD, but also the organizing tendency of thinking.

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