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Psychol Bull. 2006 Mar;132(2):151-79.

The relational self revealed: integrative conceptualization and implications for interpersonal life.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1650, USA.


The authors offer a new, integrative conceptualization of the relational self based on a synthesis of recent approaches to the self and significant others. This conceptualization provides a sharper and fuller definition of the relational self than does any existing approach alone and a common framework to interpret findings from separate literatures. The authors then present 5 propositions and evidence to support the thesis that relational selves exert a pervasive influence on interpersonal life. Specifically, relational selves (a) shape a wide range of psychological processes and outcomes, (b) exert their influence automatically, (c) serve basic orientation and meaning functions, (d) provide continuity and context-specific variability in personality, and (e) carry implications for psychological well-being. Discussion focuses on remaining issues and implications for future research.

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