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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2011 Jun;37(6):838-49. doi: 10.1177/0146167211400621. Epub 2011 Mar 11.

Self-concept consistency and culture: the differential impact of two forms of consistency.

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University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA.


Self-concept consistency is viewed as central to authenticity and adjustment in Western cultures. The authors propose that the implications of self-concept consistency depend on both the cultural background of the individual and the type of consistency involved. Specifically, although consistency of the self-concept across different contexts may be less important in East Asian than Western cultures, East Asians may still benefit from consistency within specific social contexts over time (i.e., maintaining stable, distinct relational selves). Supporting these ideas, across three studies, inconsistency of trait self-perceptions across different relationship contexts was linked to lower subjective authenticity and relationship quality for European Americans but not East Asian Americans. However, inconsistency within the same relationship context over time showed similar negative associations with these outcomes in both groups. Overall, the results suggest that inconsistency may be less consequential for East Asians relative to Westerners only if it reflects culturally prescribed adjustment to different social contexts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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