Assessing self-perceptions of college students across life domains: development and validation of the self-theory scale.
Methods: Two studies were conducted among college students attending a Midwestern university to develop the Self-Theory Scale. Study 1 aimed to develop the scale, establish internal consistency, test-retest reliability and convergent and discriminant validity. Study 2 aimed to confirm the demonstrated reliability and validity and address construct and criterion validity.
Results: The resulting Self-Theory Scale contained 40 items assessing positive and negative self-theories across the ten life domains. The scale demonstrated internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and convergent, discriminant, construct, and criterion validity.
Conclusions: In summary, the Self-Theory Scale may be an important tool for college campus personnel for promoting the strengths of college students. It may also be a useful resource for researchers interested in examining long-term impact of specific strengths on adaptive functioning, particularly during the college years.
Keywords: assessment, self-theory, self-esteem, scale development
Snyder (1989) defined self-concept as a set of images that one holds about oneself across a variety of situations, emphasizing that the self-concept may vary from one context to the next. These multiple self-images are components of a more complex self-theory, which tend to be relatively unchanging (Janoff-Bulman & Schwartzberg, 1991). In appraising one's self concept and, thus, the self-theory, at least two crucial dimensions are involved. First, one must assess the valence of an event or outcome (i.e., the degree to which the event is positive or negative). Second, one must assess one's own causal linkage to that event or outcome. Often, it is difficult to view either valence or linkage in isolation because these events are so yoked to each other (Snyder, 1991).
Snyder (1991 ) suggests that, at an early age, people develop an idea of their personal capabilities and values. As time passes, children gain an understanding of their causal impact on the surrounding environment and learn that being associated with good behavior is followed by desirable outcomes and being associated with bad behavior is followed by undesirable outcomes. This often results in the tendency to attribute good outcomes to oneself and to attribute bad outcomes to outside factors (Snyder, Higgins, & Stucky, 1983). In some instances, however, individuals may develop negative self-theories in which they see themselves as being linked to negative outcomes and lacking control of the events in their lives, which may be due to a number of developmental, environmental, and genetic factors. Snyder and colleagues (Snyder, Higgins, & Stucky, 1983; Snyder, 1985; Snyder & Higgins, 1988a, 1988b; Snyder, 1989) describe reality negotiation as a cognitive activity aimed at interpreting situations in ways that validate, preserve, or amplify one's self-theory. Positive self-schemas or self-theories result in a feeling of well-being and good mental health (Segal & Blatt, 1993), whereas negative self-theories may produce emotional distress (Segal & Blatt, 1993) and lead to cognitive distortions resulting in depression (Beck & Rush, 1978) and other chronic psychological problems (Snyder, 1991). Thus, the self-theory could play an important role in conceptualizing individuals and identifying strengths upon which to capitalize.
To date, many instruments have been used to assess self-esteem and self-efficacy. For example, the Self-Efficacy Scale developed by Sherer, Maddux, and colleagues (1982) is designed to assess one's feelings of self efficacy. Likewise, the State Self-Esteem Scale developed by Heatherton and Polivy (1991) assesses an individual's self-esteem level at different times and in different realms (e.g., performance, social, appearance). The Self-Theory Scale developed here is not designed to assess one's self-esteem or self-efficacy; rather, it is designed to determine the degree to which one is likely to link oneself to positive or negative self-descriptive statements. Self-efficacy or self-esteem is not synonymous with a self-theory, but these constructs are related in that linking oneself to positive self-descriptive statements and distancing oneself with negative self-descriptors is likely to be associated with higher self-efficacy and higher self-esteem. In addition, neither the self-esteem nor the self-efficacy scales provides information regarding the complete set of life domains by which one develops a self-theory.
Overall, the basic foundation of the Self Theory Scale is that people's self-theories are based on their perceptions of themselves across a variety of life domains. The Self-Theory Scale proposed here includes roles and values commonly held by individuals, including physical appearance, physical health, intelligence, personality, meaningful activities (including the categories of academic performance, occupational performance, and leisure activities), and relationships (falling in the categories of family relationships, intimate relationships, and friendships). These categories were formed from a practical standpoint, as practitioners and researchers are commonly interested in functioning in these domains (e.g., Cooper et al., 1987; Filsinger, 1981; Ironson et al., 1989; Iso-Ahola & Weissinger, 1990; Procidano & Heller, 1983; Russell, Peplau, & Cutrona, 1980; Ryckman et al., 1982).
Study 1 was aimed at developing the Self-Theory Scale, specifically examining positive and negative values of potential items and factor loadings, and demonstrating internal consistency, test-retest reliability, convergent validity, and discriminant validity. We also aimed to verify that importance ratings are related to Self-Theory Scale scores across life domains and that most people have a positive self-theory, although negative elements may be present within overall positive self-theories as revealed on the Self-Theory Scale.
A total of 162 undergraduate students (65 men and 97 women) participated as one means of fulfilling the requirements of their introductory psychology course during Spring, 2003. The average age for the 162 participants was 19.13 (SD = 1.00). The majority of the sample were freshmen (N=113, 69.75%) and Caucasian (N=138, 85.19%). Average annual household income was $97,320 (SD = $55,275). The mean grade point average was 3.07 (SD = 0.60).
Preliminary. Self-Theory Scale. The preliminary scale consisted of 80 items, with 8 items applying to each of the 10 domains. A large pool of items (>150 items) was generated by psychology graduate students, which were then examined to identify those that most precisely assess the intended life domains and represented an even number of positively and negatively worded items, yielding a total of 80 items to be included in the preliminary scale. The items were grouped into the 10 following domains that the Self-Theory Scale is designed to measure: physical appearance, physical health, intelligence, academic performance, occupational performance, leisure activities, personality, family relationships, intimate relationships, and friendships. Eight items were included for each domain. The items were not labeled to indicate the domain they were intended to tap. Participants were asked to skip (a) work performance if they had never been employed and (b) intimate relationships if they had never been in an intimate relationship (see Appendix). (In the general population, individuals would also be asked to skip academic performance if they are not currently students.)
Valence Inventory. The Valence Inventory included the same 80 items and was administered in order to assess the degree to which items were perceived as being positive or negative. Participants were asked to rate how positive or negative they would perceive each item if that item were true of them using the following 9-point Likert scale: -4 = Extremely negative, -3 = Very negative, -2 = Somewhat negative, -1 = Slightly negative, 0 = Neutral, + 1 = Slightly positive, +2 = Somewhat positive, +3 = Very positive, +4 = Extremely positive.
Importance of Domains Inventory. Participants were asked to rate the degree to which each of the domains was important to them on a 9-point Likert Scale, ranging from 1 = Not at all important to 9 = Extremely important.
The Hope Scale. The Trait Hope Scale (Snyder, Harris et al., 1991) is a 12-item assessment of hope with subscales assessing agency and pathways, which are critical elements of Hope Theory (Babyak, Snyder, & Yoshinobu, 1993; Snyder, 2002). This scale has alphas in the high 0.70 to 0.80 range, test-retest coefficients in the 0.70 to 0.80 range, and convergent and discriminant validity (Snyder, Cheavens, & Michael, 1999; Snyder et al., 1991). The alpha for the Hope Scale in the present study was 0.78.
The Beck Depression Inventory-H. The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II; Beck, Steer, & Brown, 1996; Beck, Ward et al., 1961) is a 21-item scale used to quantify the intensity of depressive symptoms. It is internally consistent and demonstrates convergent and discriminant validity (Beck, Steer, & Brown, 1996). The alpha for the BDI in the current study was 0.84.
The Self-Efficacy Scale. The Self-Efficacy Scale (Sherer et al., 1982) is a 30-item survey containing two subscales, General and Social Self-Efficacy. Alpha reliability coefficients of 0.86 and 0.71 were obtained for the General Self-Efficacy and the Social Self-Efficacy subscales, respectively. The Self-Efficacy Scale manifests construct, convergent, discriminant, and criterion validity (Sherer, Maddux et al., 1982). The alpha for this scale in the present study was 0.84.
The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule. The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS; Watson & Clark, 1988) is a 20-item scale designed to measure a two-factor model of mood--positive affect and negative affect. The PANAS has high internal consistency (0.86 to 0.90 for PA and 0.84 to 0.87 for NA) and demonstrates variable test-retest reliability (Watson & Clark, 1988; Costa & McCrae, 1980; Watson & Clark, 1984) and convergent, discriminant, and construct validity (Watson & Clark, 1984). In the present study, alphas for the positive affect and the negative affect subscales were 0.87 and 0.84, respectively.
The State Self-Esteem Scale. The State Self-Esteem Scale (Heatherton & Polivy, 1991) is a 20-item scale developed to assess an individual's self-esteem level at different times. This scale has demonstrated a coefficient alpha of 0.92. Factor analysis showed that three factors--performance, social, and appearance self-esteem--were prominent, accounting for 50.4% of the overall variability in scores (Heatherton & Polivy, 1991). Likewise, this scale has manifested construct and criterion validity. The alpha in the current study was 0.81.
The Argumentativeness Scale. The Argumentativeness Scale (Infante & Rancer, 1982) is a 20-item scale used to assess an individual's level of argumentative behavior. Two subscales comprise the scale--tendency to approach or to avoid arguments. The scale has been shown to demonstrate internal consistency (coefficient alphas of 0.91 and 0.86, respectively), test-retest reliability of .91, and criterion, construct, convergent, and discriminant validity. In the present study, the alpha for the avoid subscale was .84, and the alpha for the approach subscale was 0.87.
Participants began by signing the consent form and then were given the Valence Inventory, the Preliminary Self-Theory Scale, the Importance of Domains Inventory, and the remainder of the aforementioned scales (in that order), including a demographics questionnaire. Six weeks after the initial testing, participants were e-mailed the Preliminary Self-Theory Scale with instructions to complete the scale electronically, yielding a 48% test-retest response rate.
Principal components exploratory factor analyses on the preliminary Self-Theory Scale found that the main factor accounted for 17.11% of the variance, with no demonstration of more than one primary factor from scree plots examination. All other factors accounted for less than 8.00% of the variance.
Self-Theory Scale Design
The goal was to develop a 40-item instrument with four items assessing each of the 10 domains. Of these four items, the intent was that two would be negative and two would be positive, selecting items that had high factor loadings with two items that were positively worded and two items that were negatively worded with roughly equal valence ratings.
For each domain, factor analysis was run to evaluate which items were most closely related to the factor of interest (i.e., 10 factor analyses were performed without rotation). Items in each domain were analyzed by first examining the factor loadings of each item and then considering the valence of the two negative and the two positive items (see Table 1). For the Physical Health domain, for example, the two positive and two negative items that loaded most heavily were also reasonably balanced; thus, these items were used. For Physical Appearance, the two positive items that loaded most heavily on the main factor were not balanced with the two negative items that loaded the most heavily (positive valence ratings of 2.11 and 2.21 and negative valence ratings of -2.51 and -2.47). Thus, we decided to include a positive item that loaded heavily on the main factor for Physical Appearance and had a higher positive valence rating (2.42). This process was used for each of the domains.
Again, principal components factor analysis was performed on the 40-item Self-Theory Scale to evaluate its structure and verify the degree to which each item taps the appropriate factor as well as the main factor (Table 1). The overall main factor of the Self-Theory Scale accounted for 20.08% of the variance. All other factors accounted for less than 10% of the variance.
Correlations with Overall Self-Theory Scale Scores and Subscale Intercorrelations
In order to calculate subscale scores, ratings on the negative items were subtracted from ratings on the positive items. Overall Self-Theory Scale scores were calculated in the same manner. Each of the subscales manifested significant correlations with the overall Self-Theory Scale scores (Table 2).
Analysis of Importance of Domain in Relation to Self-Theory
The relationships between perception of one's self in a given domain and importance of the domain to one's self was explored (Table 2) to investigate the role of reality negation in assessing linkages to positive and negative statements about oneself. Ratings of all Self-Theory Scale subscale scores and Importance Inventory scores were correlated, with the exceptions of Intelligence (r(164) = 0.14, p = .07) and Academic Performance (r(164) = 0.10,p = .22).
The overall alpha for the Self-Theory Scale, containing the 40 items selected using the previously described procedure, was .85. The alpha for the 10 domains across the Self-Theory Scale was 0.73. The alphas for each of the 10 domains were as follows: Physical Appearance = 0.70; Physical Health = 0.78; Intelligence = 0.66; Academic Performance = 0.73; Occupational Performance = 0.59; Leisure Activity = 0.78; Personality = 0.60; Family = 0.79; Intimate Relationships = 0.79; and Friendships = 0.79.
Test-retest reliability for the Self-Theory Scale (6-week latency) was .70 (N = 83, p < .001). Test-retest reliabilities for the domains were: Physical Appearance r(81) = 0.70 (p = .004); Physical Health r(81) = 0.83 (p < .001); Intelligence r(81) = 0.76 (p < .001); Academic Performance r(81) = 0.40 (p < .001); Occupational Performance r(72) = 0.36 (p = .002); Leisure Activities r(81) = 0.67 (p < .001); Personality r(81) = 0.67 (p < .001); Family r(81) = 0.71 (p < .001); Intimate Relationships r(68) = 0.72 (p < .001); and Friendships r(81 ) = 0.68 (p < .001).
Convergent and Discriminant Validity
Addressing convergent validity, Self-Theory Scale scores were correlated significantly with scores on: the Hope Scale, r(132) = 0.52, p < .001; the BDI, r(132) = -0.41 ,p < .001; the Self-Efficacy Scale, r(132) = 0.49,p < .001; the Self-Esteem Scale, r(132) = 0.43,p < .001 ; and the positive affect subscale, r(132) = 0.30,p < .001, and the negative affect subscale of the PANAS, r(132) = -0.22, p = .01. Addressing discriminant validity, a significant correlation was not found between the Self-Theory Scale and Argumentativeness scores, r(132) = 0.10, p = .24.
Analysis of Self-Theories
For all domains, average subscale scores were positive, providing support for the reality negotiation theory. With a possible range of -16 to 16, the averages for each domain are as follows: Physical Appearance, M = 6.03, SD = 5.12; Physical Health, M = 3.91, SD = 7.18; Intelligence, M = 5.80, SD = 5.09; Academic Performance, M = 3.10, SD = 2.98; Occupational Performance, M = 10.57, SD = 3.86; Leisure Activities, M= 6.88, SD = 5.81; Personality, M = 10.99, SD = 3.38; Family, M = 10.38, SD = 5.48; Intimate Relationships, M = 11.88, SD = 4.36; and Friendships, M = 12.02, SD = 3.61. With a possible range of-160 to 160, the Self-Theory Scale score average was 78.88 (SD = 25.97), with an overall coefficient of variability being .33.
The purpose of this study was to develop the Self-Theory Scale to assess the degree to which people link themselves to self-descriptive items that vary in content favorability. This study resulted in a reliable and valid 40-item scale with four items assessing each of ten domains. The Self-Theory Scale received considerable support in that it demonstrated internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and convergent and discriminant validity. Accordingly, the Self-Theory Scale tentatively can be considered as passing the usual psychometric standards.
A couple of important considerations must be made in interpreting the present study and the resulting scale. The exclusive inclusion of college students may have impacted our findings. For example, this may have resulted in the items in the Intelligence subscale accounting for the least amount of variance for the Intelligence factor and also having one of the lowest correlations to the total Self-Theory Scale score (0.45 compared to around 0.60 for others). In addition, the Academic and Occupational Performance subscales exhibited low test-retest reliabilities, which may reflect fluctuations in priorities and accompanying behaviors over the semester period. Also, the Intelligence and Academic Performance subscales did not exhibit a strong correlation between the subscale scores and importance of the domain. Thus, exploring these subscales in other populations would provide important information.
Another concern is that in some of the subscales (i.e., Physical Appearance, Physical Health, Intelligence, Academic Performance, Occupational Performance, Personality, and Intimate Relationships), the negatively worded items had lower factor loadings than the positively worded items. This may be related to the difficulty of endorsing negatively worded items as opposed to not endorsing positively worded items, which is implied by Snyder's (1991) theory of reality negotiation. Overall, Study ! provides some justification for the psychometric foundation and utility of the Self-Theory Scale.
Study 2 was aimed at demonstrating construct and criterion validity for the subscales as well as for the overall Self-Theory Scale. Thus, we chose to administer psychometrically sound measures to provide validation of the overall scale and each individual subscale. This study was also aimed at providing additional support for our contention that people generally possess positive self-theories such that average scores on the Self-Theory Scale are positive for both males and females.
Participants included 210 undergraduate students (98 males and 112 females) in Spring, 2004, who were enrolled during mass surveying of introductory psychology classes as one means of fulfilling research credits. The average age for the participants was 19.51 (SD = 1.89). The sample was composed of 142 freshmen, 39 sophomores, 15 juniors, and 14 seniors. The racial composition was as follows: 138 European American, 3 Asian Americans, 7 African Americans, l I Hispanic Americans, and 6 who classified themselves as "other." Average annual household income was $71,458 (SD = $57,237). The mean grade point average was 3.02 (SD = 0.54).
The Body Shape Questionnaire. The Body Shape Questionnaire (Cooper, Taylor, Cooper, & Fairburn, 1987) is a 34-item questionnaire that assesses concern about body shape. It has demonstrated convergent and discriminant validity. Its alpha in the current study was 0.97.
The Pennebaker Inventory of Limbic Languidness. The Pennebaker Inventory of Limbic Languidness (Pennebaker, 1982) is a 54-item inventory that taps the frequency of common physical symptoms and sensations. The scale is internally consistent (alpha of 0.88), shows good test-retest reliability (0.79 to 0.83), and has undergone extensive convergent and discriminant validation. The alpha in the present study was 0.89.
The Physical Self-Efficacy Scale. The Physical Self-Efficacy Scale (Ryckman, Robbins, Thornton, & Cantrell, 1982) is a 22-item scale assessing one's perceived physical self-concept. There are two primary subscales--the perceived Physical Ability subscale and the Physical Self-Presentation Confidence subscale. The scale manifests internal consistency (alpha ranging from 0.75 to 0.85), test-retest reliability (total: r = 0.85,p < .001; physical ability: r = 0.69, p < .001 ; and physical self-presentation confidence: r = 0.80, p < .001), and convergent, concurrent, and predictive validity. The alpha for the present study was 0.74.
The Job in General Scale. The Job in General Scale (Ironson, Smith, Brannick, Gibson, & Paul, 1989) is an 18-item scale designed as a global measure of job satisfaction. The scale has exhibited good internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha from 0.91 to 0.95 and item-total correlations from 0.48 to 0.74). Convergent and discriminant validity have also been exhibited (Ironson, Smith, Brannick, Gibson, & Paul, 1989). The alpha for the present study was 0.92.
The Leisure Boredom Scale. The Leisure Boredom Scale (Iso-Ahola & Weissinger, 1990) is a 16-item scale assessing perceptions of leisure as boredom. It demonstrates good internal consistency (alpha = .86) and concurrent and construct validity. The present alpha was 0.88.
The Frequency of Self-Reinforcement Questionnaire. The Frequency of Self-Reinforcement Questionnaire (Heiby & Campos, 1986) is a 30-item scale assessing the relationship between depression and frequency of self-reinforcement. An individual with low FSR is commonly described as someone whose self-confidence and self-esteem fluctuates due to self-esteem being dependent on external sources of reinforcement, which may not be present at times. This scale demonstrates internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and split-half reliability as well as construct and criterion validity. Its alpha in the present study was 0.80.
The Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale. The Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale (Russell, Peplau, & Cutrona, 1980) is a 20-item scale assessing loneliness. It shows internal reliability (alpha = 0.94) and concurrent and criterion validity. Its alpha in the present study was 0.92.
The Liking People Scale. The Liking People Scale (Filsinger, 1981 ) is a 15-item scale assessing attitudes toward others, which is an indicator of interpersonal orientation. It demonstrates internal consistency (alpha from 0.75 to 0.78) and criterion validity, convergent, construct, discriminant, and predictive validity. Its alpha in the present study was 0.86.
The Provisions of Social Relations Scale. The Provisions of Social Relations Scale (Turner, Frankel, & Levin, 1983) assesses perceptions in relation to five of the "provisions" identified by Weiss ([974; attachment, social integration, reassurance of worth, reliable alliance, and guidance). For each of its 18 items, respondents are asked to rate how closely each statement describes their relationships. It manifests construct validity, internal consistency, and test-retest reliability. In the present study, alphas for the total scale and support from family and support from friends subscales were 0.82, 0.81 and 0.72, respectively.
The Perceived Social Support from Friends and Family Scales. The Perceived Social Support from Friends and Family Scales (Procidano & Heller, 1983) assesse the extent to which an individual perceives that his or her needs for support, information, and feedback are fulfilled by friends and by family (Procidano & Heller, 1983, p. 2). These scales are related but separate constructs (Procidano & Heller, 1983). Both scales are internally consistent (Cronbach alphas of .88 and .90, respectively) and manifested convergent, discriminant, and construct validity. The alphas for Perceived Social Support from Friends and Perceived Social Support from Family Scales in the present study were 0.85 and 0.92, respectively.
The Satisfaction with Life Scale. The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SLS; Deiner, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985) is a five-item scale assessing global life satisfaction. It manifests internal consistency (alpha of 0.87), test-retest reliability (r = 0.82), and convergent, construct, and criterion validity. Its alpha was 0.88 in the present study.
The General Well-Being Schedule. The Well-Being Schedule (Fazio, 1977) is a 14-item scale assessing self-representations of subjective well-being and distress, as well as the presence, severity, and frequency of some symptoms. This scale exhibits internal consistency (alphas from 0.91 to 0.95), test-retest reliability (r = 0.85), and construct, concurrent, convergent, and discriminant validity. Its alpha in the present study was 0.93.
Demographics Questionnaire. Participants reported grade point average, body mass index, health status, and other variables for examining construct validity.
Participants were run in groups of ten, with each person being seated in a private cubicle. The students began by signing the consent form and were then given a questionnaire packet and answer sheet. The participants completed the aforementioned measures and were then debriefed.
Both men and women generally had positive self-theories across domains (see Table 3). Men and women differed on the Academic Performance, Occupational Performance, Leisure Activities, and Family Relationships subscales, as well as the overall Self-Theory Scale.
Physical Appearance Subscale. The Physical Appearance subscale showed a significant relationship with weight (r(208) = -0.33, p < .001 ), the Body Shape Questionnaire (r(206) = -0.45, p < .001), the perceived physical ability subscale of the Physical Self-Efficacy Scale (r(206) = 0.44, p < .001), the physical self-presentation confidence subscale of the Physical Self-Efficacy Scale (r(206) = .40,p < .001, respectively), and the overall Physical Self-Efficacy Scale (r(206) = -0.50, p < .001).
Physical Health Subscale. The Physical Health subscale was related to the number of hours per week spent in physical activity (r(209) = 0.23, p = .001), perceived health of diet (r(209) = -.45, p < .001 ), satisfaction with health (r(209) = -0.51, p < .001), the Body Shape Questionnaire (r(206) = -0.17, p = .02), the Pennebaker Inventory of Limbic Languidness (r(209) = -0.17,p = .01), the perceived physical ability subscale of the Physical Self-Efficacy Scale (r(206) = 0.53, p < .001), the physical self-presentation confidence subscale of the Physical Self-Efficacy Scale (r (206) = 0.23, p = .001), and the overall Physical Self-Efficacy Scale (r(206) = 0.46,p < .001).
Intelligence Subscale. The Intelligence subscale was significantly related to GPA (r(206) = 0.28,p < .001 ), satisfaction with intelligence (r(208) = -0.50,p < .001), and satisfaction with performance as a student (r(205) = -0.37,p < .001). The intelligence subscale was not significantly related to number of hours spent studying per week (r(207) = 0.05, p = .51).
Academic Performance Subscale. The Academic Performance subscale was significantly related to GPA (r(206) = 0.44, p < .001), number of hours spent studying per week (r(207) = 0.25, p < .001), and satisfaction with performance as a student (r(200) = -0.48, p < .001), but not to satisfaction with intelligence (r(203) = -0.03, p = .68).
Occupational Performance Subscale. The Occupational Performance subscale was related to the Job in General Scale (r(198) = 0.21, p = .003), but not to satisfaction with job performance.
Leisure Activities Subscale. The Leisure Activities subscale was related to satisfaction with leisure time activities (r(208) = -0.31, p < .001). This subscale was also related to the Leisure Boredom Scale (r(207) = 0.61, p < .001).
Personality Subscale. Personality subscale scores were related to satisfaction with personality (r(207) = -0.50,p < .001 ), as well as other measures used to assess construct validity except for the Body Shape Questionnaire, the Pennebaker Inventory of Limbic Languidness, and the Liking People Scale.
Family Relationships Subscale. The Family Relationships subscale was related to satisfaction with family relationships (r(208) = -0.54, p < .001). This subscale was also related to the Frequency of Self-Reinforcement Questionnaire (r(205) = 0.31 ,p < .001), the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale (r(207) = 0.29, p < .001), the Liking People Scale (r(205) = -0.20, p = .004), the family subscale of the Provisions of Social Relations Scale (r(207) = -0.48, p < .001), the overall Provisions of Social Relations Scale score (r(207) = 0.42, p < .001), and the Perceived Social Support from Family Scale (r(206) = 0.52, p < .001).
Friendship Subscale. The Friendship subscale was related to satisfaction with friendships (r(175) = -0.17, p = .02). This subscale was also related to Frequency of Self-Reinforcement Questionnaire (r(202) = .21 ,p = .004), the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale (r(204) = 0.36, p < .001), the Liking People Scale (r(202) = -0.20, p = .005), the friend subscale of the Provisions of Social Relations Scale (r(204) = -.47, p < .001), the overall Provisions of Social Relations Scale score (r(204) = -0.39, p < .001), and the Perceived Social Support from Friends Scale (r(202) = 0.43, p < .001).
Intimate Relationships Subscale. The Intimate Relationships subscale was related to satisfaction with relationship with significant other (r(160) = -0.41 ,p < .001). This subscale was also related to scores on the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale (r(174) = 0.34, p < .001) and the Provisions of Social Relations Scale (r(175) = -0.25,p = .001), but not the Frequency of Self-Reinforcement Questionnaire (r(172) = 0.15, p = .052) and the Liking People Scale (r(173) = 0.01, p = .90).
Self-Theory Scale scores were related to weight (r(162) = -0.26, p = .001), GPA (r(161) = 0.31 ,p < .001), the Physical Self-Efficacy Scale (r(162) = 0.45, p < .001), the Leisure Boredom Scale (r(163) = 0.41, p < .001), the Frequency of Self-Reinforcement Scale (r(160) = 0.27, p = .001), the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale (r(162) = 0.48, p < .001), the Provisions of Social Relations Scale (r(163) = -0.39, p < .001), the Satisfaction with Life Scale (r(163) = 0.52,p < .001), the General Well-Being Scale (r(162) = -0.54,p < .001), the Job in General Scale (r(163) = 0.23, p = .003), and the Perceived Social Support from Friends (r(162) = 0.42,p < .001) and Family Scales (r(162) = 0.32, p < .001).
Overall, Study 2 provided support for the construction of the Self-Theory Scale. Important relationships were found between each of the subscales, satisfaction with each subscale domain, and objective measures of performance in each area. Relationships also were found that were not hypothesized, which is expected given that the Self-Theory Scale consists of one main factor. However, the strongest relationships were those hypothesized.
Developing three distinct social interactions subscales was validated. The Family Relationships and Friendships subscales were related to the Provision of Social Relations Scale and both the family and friendship subscales of this scale, as well as the Perceived Social Support from Family and the Perceived Social Support from Friends Scales. However, stronger relationships were found among the friendship scales and among the family scales. Interestingly, the Intimate Relationships subscale of the Self-Theory Scale was more highly related to the friendship subscales but was unrelated to the Perceived Social Support from Family Scale.
Developing two distinct subscales tapping Academic Performance and Intelligence also was validated. The Academic Performance subscale of the Self-Theory Scale was more highly related to GPA, and the number of hours per week spent studying was related to the Academic Performance subscale, but not to the Intelligence subscale. Satisfaction with intelligence was related to the Intelligence subscale but not to the Academic Performance subscale.
The present series of studies developed an internally consistent, reliable, and valid measure for assessing one's Self-Theory. Furthermore, the Self-Theory Scale has been shown to support the theory upon which it is based, such that people tend to have positive self-theories, and thus endorse more positive attributes. Its relationship to level depression symptoms and negative affect provides support for the assertion that those with more positive self-theories have better mental health (Segal & Blatt, 1993). Furthermore, the students tended to rate domains as being more important if they also perceived themselves positively in those given domains. This suggests support for processes of reality negotiation aimed at preserving positive self-theories (Snyder, Higgins, & Stucky, 1983). The Self-Theory Scale can begin to be used to gain an understanding of one's self-theory in a relatively efficient manner.
There are some important limitations to the present research. The use of a college sample limits the implications that can be derived and the overall generalizability to the general population. This holds especially true for the Occupational Performance and Intimate Relationships subscales, as many college students have limited experiences in these domains. Thus, future work applying the Self-Theory Scale to a broader population is necessary. Second, future studies should aim to include a larger number for purposes of factor analysis. Third, many additional studies are needed to examine the psychometric properties of the Self-Theory Scale, as well as to show how scores on the Self-Theory Scale are related to the reality negotiation process. As such, the present study is but a start in a potentially promising line of research.
The resulting Self-Theory scale may have utility in assessing college student strengths by providing the ability to gain a fairly quick assessment of individuals' self-theories. Likewise, as we increase the information about the relationship of Self-Theory Scale score to the tendency to negotiate reality and how this measure operates in other populations, the scale will have been greater potential usefulness. In assessing these self-theories, it may be helpful for practitioners in identifying negative self-theories as well as deficiencies in negotiating reality. Understanding the specific areas within which an individual struggles most may allow practitioners to develop interventions tailored to the specific needs of an individual and potentially capitalize on the strengths of the individual. In addition, the Self-Theory Scale may have applications for a wide range of research activities. Its ability to assess one's perceptions of oneself across ten life domains may be helpful to ascertain distinct connections between self-assessment and current and future functioning, well-being, and health.
Directions: Please rate the degree to which you see yourself as possessing the characteristic mentioned in each item. We are interested in your perceptions of these items, not what other people might think. Therefore, in the blank before each item, please use the following 9-point scale and write the number that best describes how true each characteristic is for you.
1 2 3 4 5 Not at all Very Slightly Slightly Somewhat Moderately true true true true true 6 7 8 9 Considerably Strongly Very Strongly Absolutely true true true true
Example: ___smiles all the time
Person A feels as though she smiles quite often, so she gives herself an 8 in the blank.
Person B feels as though she is usually kind of negative and does not smile too often, so she gives herself a 2 in the blank.
Please read each item, and using the 9-point scale, place the number in the blank that best describes how true it is of you.
__1. My physical appearance turns others away.
__2. I definitely am not sexually appealing or attractive.
__3. I am very pleased with overall appearance of body.
__4. I have a highly appealing figure or physique.
__5. I am extremely physically fit.
__6. I have poor nutrition.
__7. I never exercise.
__8. I adhere to a regular exercise routine.
__9. I have superior intellectual abilities.
__10. I have a superior memory.
__11. I am easily frustrated with intellectual activities.
__12. I am contused frequently.
If you are not currently a student, skip to question 17.
__13. I am very serious about coursework when I'm in school.
__14. I have very poor academic performance.
__15. I am always prepared for class.
__16. I rarely attend class.
If you have never been employed, skip to question 21.
__17. I couldn't care less about my job performance.
__18. I am highly respected by the people I work with.
__19. I often am late or absent from work.
__20. I get glowing job evaluations.
__21. My free time is full of meaningful and pleasant activities.
__22. I don't know what to do with my free time.
__23. I am interested in a variety of activities outside of work and family.
__24. I am unmotivated to pursue interests during my flee time.
__25. I have a dull and boring personality.
__26. I have a great sense of humor.
__27. I work well with others.
__28. I am shallow.
__29. I can't stand to be with my family members.
__30. I treasure the time I spend with my family.
__31. My family interactions are usually unpleasant.
__32. Love is expressed openly among my family members.
If you have never been in an intimate relationship, please skip to item 37.
__33. I easily have fun with my intimate other.
__34. 1 feel ignored by my intimate other.
__35. I am proud of my relationship with nay intimate other.
__36. I avoid my intimate other.
__37. I do not trust my friends.
__38. I do not feel valued by my friends.
__39. I get along well with my friends.
__40. I enjoy spending time with friends.
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CARLA J. BERG
Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.
C. R. SNYDER
Department of Psychology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.
Table 1. Self-Theory Scale factor analysis results for items included on the final scale % Variance accounted Factor Valence Life Domain for loadings ratings Appearance 53.06% My physical appearance turns others -0.59 -2.51 away I'm definitely not sexually -0.69 -2.47 appealing or attractive I have a highly appealing figure or 0.80 2.11 physique I am very pleased with the overall 0.81 2.42 appearance of body Health 61.11% I have poor nutrition -0.66 -2.22 I never exercise -0.81 -2.27 I am extremely physically fit 0.79 2.47 I adhere to regular exercise 0.86 2.05 routine Intelligence 49.52% I am easily frustrated with -0.67 -1.73 intellectual activities I get confused frequently -0.60 -1.82 I have superior intellectual 0.83 2.62 abilities I have a superior memory 0.71 2.27 Academic 55.91% I have very poor academic -0.61 -2.66 performance I rarely attend class -0.70 -2.00 I am very serious about coursework 0.87 2.36 when in school Always prepared for class 0.78 2.35 Occupation 46.47% I couldn't care less about job -0.65 -3.17 performance I am often late or absent from work -0.35 -2.74 I am highly respected by people I 0.82 3.17 work with I get glowing job evaluations 0.81 2.66 Leisure 60.21% I don't know what to do with my -0.78 -1.11 free time I am unmotivated to pursue my -0.81 -2.10 interests during free time My free time is full of meaningful 0.73 2.07 and pleasant activities I am interested in various 0.77 2.46 activities outside of work and family Personality 47.36% I have a dull and boring -0.74 -2.94 personality I am shallow -0.53 -2.90 I have a great sense of humor 0.72 3.13 I work well with others 0.74 3.24 Family 66.77% I cant stand to be with family -0.87 -2.93 members My family interactions are usually -0.80 -2.63 unpleasant Love is expressed openly among my 0.75 2.95 family members I treasure the time I spend with my 0.85 3.07 family Intimate relationships 58.48% I feel ignored by my intimate other -0.58 -3.24 I avoid my intimate other -0.78 -3.29 I easily have fun with my intimate 0.88 3.44 other I am proud of my relationship with 0.79 3.26 my intimate other Friendships 52.65% I do not trust my friends -0.69 -3.27 I do not feel valued by my friends -0.73 -3.18 I get along well with my friends 0.75 3.07 I enjoy spending time with my 0.73 3.36 friends Note: Factor analysis was run per domain. The main factor accounted for 17.11 % of the total variance. Table 2. Correlations between Self-Theory subscale scores and total Self-Theory score and importance ratings Importance Total Score Ratings Life Domain r (p) r (p) Physical Appearance .56 (<.001) .24 (.002) Physical Health .60 (<.001) .30 (<.001) Intelligence .45 (<.001) .14 (.07) Academic Performance .14 (.10) .10 (.22) Occupational Performance .58 (<.001) .25 (.002) Leisure Activities .62 (<.001) .26 (.001) Personality .72 (<.001) .30 (<.001) Family Relationships .61 (<.001) .50 (<.001) Intimate Relationships .60 (<.001) .45 (<.001) Friendships .60 (<.001) .37 (<.001) Table 3. Average Self-Theory Scale scores Total Men Subscale M SD M SD Physical Appearance 5.30 5.26 5.28 5.30 Physical Health 3.58 6.14 3.64 5.75 Intelligence 4.53 5.23 5.00 5.33 Academic Performance 7.27 5.35 5.75 5.72 Occupational Performance 9.96 4.90 8.98 5.46 Leisure Activities 6.71 5.22 5.91 5.54 Personality 10.40 3.79 9.98 3.92 Family Relationships 9.08 6.27 7.30 6.96 Intimate Relationships 11.43 4.78 11.01 5.26 Friendships 11.16 4.65 10.67 4.42 Total Score 80.24 27.70 74.00 30.08 Women Subscale M SD p Physical Appearance 5.32 5.25 ns Physical Health 3.52 6.48 ns Intelligence 4.12 5.12 ns Academic Performance 8.64 4.61 <.001 Occupational Performance 10.80 4.21 0.01 Leisure Activities 7.41 4.83 0.04 Personality 10.77 3.66 ns Family Relationships 10.64 5.15 <.001 Intimate Relationships 11.80 4.30 ns Friendships 11.58 4.81 ns Total Score 85.96 24.11 0.01 Note: N = 209 for Total (except Occupational Performance, N = 198 and Intimate Relationships, N = 175). N = 98 for Men (except Occupational Performance, N = 91 and Intimate Relationships, N = 83). N = 111 for Women (except Occupational Performance, N = 107 and Intimate Relationships, N = 92).
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|Author:||Berg, Carla J.; Snyder, C.R.|
|Publication:||College Student Journal|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2010|
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