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J Pers. 2006 Dec;74(6):1527-56.

Personality reflected in a coherent idiosyncratic interplay of intra- and interpersonal self-regulatory processes.

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  • Institute of Psychology, University of Bern, Switzerland.


This article discusses a framework that conceptualizes personality in terms of a unique pattern of interacting intra- and interpersonal self-regulatory mechanisms employed in the service of constructing and maintaining a desired self. These personal goals motivate the individuals' self-construction efforts and give direction, organization, and coherence to the self-regulatory dynamics--both within the person and in the social world in which they play out. The framework is illustrated through research on construct validation of the narcissistic personality type and extended by brief applications to dependency and rejection sensitivity to show how it may help us understand the complex signatures that are the expressions of a personality type. It offers a guide for where to look for and how to organize the unique features and idiosyncratic dynamics of different self-construction types and to make sense of their otherwise often seemingly paradoxical expressions. In so doing, the framework speaks to basic goals of personality psychology by providing an approach for capturing trait-like individual differences while simultaneously shedding light on the psychological mechanism that underlies them.

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