Adaptive changes in the self-concept during a life transition

Kristen C Kling, Carol D. Ryff, Marilyn J. Essex

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations

Abstract

Theories about the self-concept suggest that different aspects of the self are organized according to importance, or psychological centrality. The ways in which psychological centrality can change and how these changes are associated with psychological well-being were investigated in a sample of aging women who had experienced community relocation. The self-concept was measured before and after the move, with regard to five life domains (health, family, friends, economics, and daily activities). It was hypothesized that well-being is maximized by increasing the psychological centrality of life domains in which one is doing well and by lowering the psychological centrality of life domains in which one is doing poorly. The hypothesized, adaptive psychological centrality shifts emerged in the health and friends domains for select outcome measures. Centrality shifts with different patterns of directionality were observed for the other three domains and are interpreted as reflecting problem-focused coping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)981-990
Number of pages10
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume23
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1997

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