The Self-Concept Over Time: Research Issues and Directions

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
David H. Demo, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Although theoretical attention has been devoted to the situational variability of the self-concept, empirical investigations continue to rely on one-shot methodologies. Such efforts assume that data obtained through these methods can be generalized to other situations in the person's life, even to subsequent years or stages in the life course. Self-concept is a structural product of reflexive activity, but it is also susceptible to change as the individual encounters new roles, situations, and life transitions. The data reviewed in this paper suggest that: (i) self-evaluation generally becomes more favorable through the life-span; (ii) self-evaluation is represented by a "moving baseline" from which situational fluctuations emerge; (iii) self-concept is characterized by both stability and change over the life course; and (iv) environmental stability plays an important role in self-concept stability. Several avenues of research are recommended to develop an accurate, meaningful, and testable theory of the self-concept over time.

Additional Information

Annual Review of Sociology, 18, 303-326.
Language: English
Date: 1992
Self-evaluation, Life course, Situational variability, Self-image, Identity

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