The interrelated roles of dispositional authenticity, self processes, and global role functioning in affecting psychological adjustment
Goldman, Brian Middleton
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Prior perspectives have suggested that authentic functioning is necessary for individuals’ to experience optimal levels of psychological health (e.g., Maslow, 1968; Rogers, 1961; Deci & Ryan, 2000). Recently, a multicomponent construct of dispositional authenticity was defined as the unimpeded operation of one’s core self in one’s daily enterprise (Goldman & Kernis, 2002; Kernis, 2003). Accordingly, dispositional authenticity is comprised of four interrelated components (1) awareness (e.g., self-understanding), (2) unbiased processing (e.g., objective self-evaluation), (3) behavior (e.g., congruence between one’s actions and needs), and (4) relational orientation (e.g., sincerity in relationship functioning with one’s intimates). Previously, Goldman, Kernis, Piasecki, Hermann & Foster (2004) found that higher dispositional authenticity scores were pervasively linked with healthier psychological (e.g., greater life satisfaction), and interpersonal adjustment (e.g., lower levels of attachment insecurity and cultural estrangement). The present study sought to examine the interrelationships between dispositional authenticity, various self characteristics considered to reflect a “stronger sense of self” (e.g., having high self-esteem level, a clearly defined self-concept, etc.), and individuals’ functioning within five commonly enacted social roles (i.e., being a son/daughter, a student, a romantic partner, a friend, and an employee), to predict their subsequent psychological adjustment. Seventy six participants’ completed several self-report measures at three separate experimental sessions over the course of approximately one month. Regression analyses revealed that dispositional authenticity, a stronger sense of self, and role functioning ratings were each significant predictors of subsequent ratings of psychological adjustment. However, when controlling for the influence of one another, only a stronger sense of self and healthy role functioning uniquely predicted subsequent psychological adjustment scores. The findings suggest authenticity influences psychological adjustment indirectly by its affect on either a stronger sense of self or one’s role experiences.