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J Pers. 2004 Aug;72(4):727-60.

Is self-complexity linked to better coping? A review of the literature.

Author information

  • 1McDaniel College, Westminster, MD 21157, USA. ekoch@mcdaniel.edu


Initial theorizing depicted self-complexity as the number of nonoverlapping self-aspects, such as traits, roles, and behaviors, and proposed that greater self-complexity is linked to better coping in response to stress and negative events. A review of the literature, however, finds inconsistent results. The inconsistency apparently arises from variation in the measurement of self-complexity. The different measures stem from disagreement over the definition of self-complexity, and the various definitions apparently result from theoretical disagreement about how to conceptualize the structure of self-knowledge. The present paper reviews the self-complexity literature and suggests directions for future research. The present paper suggests a positive, moderating relationship between self-complexity and coping, and additional research that includes careful measurement and definition of self-complexity may provide stronger support for this relationship.

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