Self-discrepancies and affect: Incorporating the role of feared selves

Charles S. Carver, John W. Lawrence, Michael F. Scheier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

186 Scopus citations

Abstract

The authors examined ought, ideal, and feared self-discrepancies as predictors of agitation- and dejection-related affects. Overall, discrepancy from feared selves predicted anxiety and guilt, preempting the role of discrepancies from ought selves; ideal and feared discrepancies both predicted depression. Further analyses revealed interactions between actual-ought and actual-feared discrepancies in predicting anxiety and guilt. Among participants who were relatively near their feared selves, discrepancies from ought selves were unrelated to these affects. In contrast, among those whose feared selves were more distant, ought discrepancies did predict agitation-related affect, consistent with self-discrepancy theory. Discussion centers on a view in which an avoidance motive (feared self) dominates anxiety and guilt if the feared element is nearby but in which an associated approach motive (ought self) dominates anxiety and guilt if the feared element is more remote.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)783-792
Number of pages10
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume25
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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