Private vs. public self-consciousness and self-discrepancies
More details
Hide details
Institute of Psychology, The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Lublin, Poland
Submission date: 2015-10-08
Final revision date: 2015-11-16
Acceptance date: 2015-11-17
Online publication date: 2015-11-30
Publication date: 2016-03-18
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2016;4(1):58-64
We studied the relationships of self-discrepancies with private and public self-consciousness. It was postulated that private self-consciousness is more strongly related to actual–ideal discrepancy than to actual–ought discrepancy, and that the latter is more strongly related to public self-consciousness.

Participants and procedure
The sample consisted of 71 students aged 19-25, who completed the Self-Consciousness Scale and the DRP procedure for measuring self-discrepancies.

The results did not confirm the hypotheses, but revealed a correlation between actual–ideal discrepancy and social anxiety. It also turned out that private self-consciousness negatively correlates with the time of rating ideal-self attributes and positively with the time of rating ought-self attributes.

Self-consciousness may be related not so much to the size of self-discrepancies as to the accessibility of the content of each self-standard. The results are also consistent with the sequence of studies that challenge the central thesis of Higgins’s theory concerning the specific relationship between actual-ought discrepancy and anxiety.
Bak, W. (2014). Self-standards and self-discrepancies. A structural model of self-knowledge. Current Psychology, 33, 155-173.
Bruch, M. A., Rivet, K. M., & Laurenti, H. J. (2000). Type of self-discrepancy and relationships to components of the tripartite model of emotional distress. Personality and Individual Differences, 29, 37-44.
Carver, C. S. (2012). Self-awareness. In: M. R. Leary, & J. P. Tangney (eds.), Handbook of self and identity (pp. 50-68). New York: Guilford Press.
Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1980). Private and public self-attention, resistance to change, and dissonance reduction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 390-405.
Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1985a). The Self-Consciousness Scale: A revised version for use with general populations. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 15, 687-699.
Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1985b). Self-consciousness and self-assessment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48, 117-124.
Duval, T. S., & Wicklund, R. A. (1972). A theory of objective self-awareness. New York: Academic Press.
Fenigstein, A. (2009). Private and public self-consciousness. In: M. R. Leary, & R. C. Hoyle (eds.), Handbook of individual differences in social behavior (pp. 495-511). New York: Guilford Press.
Fenigstein, A., Scheier, M. F., & Buss A. H. (1975), Public and private self-consciousness: Assessment and theory. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 43, 522-527.
Fromson, P. M. (2006). Self-discrepancies and negative affect: The moderating roles of private and public self-consciousness. Social Behavior and Personality, 34, 333-349.
Higgins, E. T. (1987). Self-discrepancy: A theory relating self and affect. Psychological Review, 94, 319-340.
Higgins, E. T. (1996). The “self digest”: Self-knowledge serving self-regulatory functions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 1062-1083.
Higgins, E. T., Shah, J., & Friedman, R. (1997). Emotional responses to goal attainment: Strength of regulatory focus as moderator. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 515-525.
James, W. (1890/1950). The principles of psychology. New York: Dover.
Key, D. E., Mannella, M., Thomas, A. M., & Gilroy, F. D. (2000). An evaluation of Higgins’ self-discrepancy theory and an instrument to test its postulates. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 15, 303-320.
Nasby, W. (1989). Private self-consciousness, self-­awareness, and the reliability of self-reports. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 950-957.
Ozgul, S., Heubeck, B., Ward, J., & Wilkinson, R. (2003). Self-discrepancies: Measurement and relation to various negative affective states. Australian Journal of Psychology, 55, 56-62.
Silvia, P. J., & Duval, T. S. (2001). Objective self-awareness theory: Recent progress and enduring problems. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5, 230-241.
Snow, C. J., & Duval, T. S. (2004). When the self stands out: Figure-ground effects on self-focused attention. Self and Identity, 3, 355-363.
Vohs, K. D., & Baumeister, R. F. (2004). Understanding self-regulation. An introduction. In: R. F. Baumeister, & K. D. Vohs (eds.), Handbook of self-regulation. Research, theory, and applications (pp. 1-9). New York/London: Guilford Press.
Zaborowski, Z. (1989). Psychospołeczne problemy samoświadomości [Psychosocial problems of self-consciousness]. Warszawa: PWN.
Copyright: © Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk This is an Open Access journal, all articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License (, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top