Article

Self-Construal

Susan Cross

in Psychology

ISBN: 9780199828340
Published online November 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0051
Self-Construal

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Self-construal refers to the grounds of self-definition, and the extent to which the self is defined independently of others or interdependently with others. Initially, the term derived from perceived cultural differences in the self. Westerners were thought to have an independent self-construal, which is characterized by separateness from others, by attention to one’s abilities, traits, preferences, and wishes, and by the primacy of one’s individual goals over those of in-groups. East Asians were thought to have an interdependent self-construal, which is characterized by a sense of fundamental connectedness with others, by attention to one’s role in in-groups, and by the primacy of group goals over one’s individual goals. Later, a third characterization, the relational self-construal, was proposed; it represents the ways that people may define themselves in terms of close, dyadic relationships. Social and cultural psychologists now view these as three dimensions of the self, which virtually all people construct to some degree. Cultural differences in self-definition arise through differences in the relative strength or elaboration of these self-construals. Consequently, the literature on self-construal can seem somewhat confusing: self-construal is described at times in terms of very different understandings of the self in different cultures, and at other times in terms of universal dimensions (independent, relational, or interdependent) that vary in strength in different cultures.

Article.  9638 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Developmental Psychology ; Health Psychology ; History and Systems in Psychology ; Educational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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