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Thesis

Self-discrepancy theory: A description, integration and evaluation

26 July 1996

Abstract

Self-discrepancy theory examines the relationship between specific cognitive
self-representations and specific affective states. The purpose of this paper is
to describe self-discrepancy theory and present an integration with an object
relations perspective, in order to facilitate the contextual understanding of
the theory and improve its theoretical and clinical utility. First, the
postulates of this theory and the empirical supports for its constructs are
presented. Next, a model of theoretical integration, referred to as a
theoretically progressive integration model (Neimeyer, 1987), is presented. A
synthesis of self-discrepancy theory with an object relations perspective is
developed, and the clinical applicability of this synthesis is discussed.
Finally, implications and limitations of the theory are discussed. While
various aspects ·of self-discrepancy theory may need further attention and
explication, it seems to be a useful contribution to the field of psychology and
its practice.


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