Do Individual Differences in Authenticity Influence the Magnitude and Affective Consequences of Self-Discrepancies?
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Theories of self-regulation address the continuous process in which individuals compare their behavior to salient goals or standards. Two well-known theories of self-regulation, self-discrepancy theory (SDT) and regulatory focus theory (RFT), each make distinctions regarding the types of standards and goals in reference to which individuals self-regulate. Authenticity--the idea of being one's true self--has the potential to influence the kinds of goals or standards that individuals come to possess and may have implications for understanding the outcomes of self-regulatory processes. This research links the construct of authenticity with SDT and RFT, emphasizing how individual differences in authenticity could influence the motivational and affective consequences of self-regulation predicted within each theory. Individual differences in authenticity were expected to influence the nature of the goals and standards that individuals hold, as well as the acute and chronic affective consequences of discrepancies between the actual self and the ideal and ought self-guides respectively. Specifically, individual differences in authenticity were expected to predict magnitude of actual:ideal and actual:ought self-discrepancy as well as the intensity of distress that individuals report (acutely as well as chronically) in association with self-discrepancies. More importantly, self-discrepancies were expected to be less prevalent among individuals high in authenticity, but more distressing among high-authenticity individuals than among individuals with lower levels of authenticity. The results of this research suggest that individual differences in authentic behavior do have a direct influence on both acute and chronic affect. Authenticity was found to interact with self-discrepancies in predicting chronic affect. Authenticity has a unique role in the process of self-regulation, distinct from the contributions of SDT and RFT.
DepartmentPsychology and Neuroscience
regulatory focus theory
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