Self-Concept clarity (i.e., the clarity and consistency of self-beliefs) defines a key component of one’s self-view. Low self-concept clarity is associated with poorer self-esteem, mental health, and psychological adjustment. Preliminary research suggests that affirming one’s values bolsters self-concept clarity. In psychotherapy, values clarification is used to help clients find valued life directions and commit to these, however such techniques have not yet been utilised in relation to self-concept clarity enhancement. The purpose of the current research program was to investigate whether experimental enhancement of self-concept clarity (via values) would lead to favourable outcomes to well-being. We hypothesised that affirmation (Study 1) and clarification (Study 2) of values would enhance levels of self-concept clarity and this would lead to more effective coping and improved mood (Study 1), and greater goal achievement, and value congruent behaviour (Study 2). Study 1 was a cross-sectional between-group design which included 125 participants from the general population. Study 2 was a longitudinal between-within group design (with three time-points) which included 65 La Trobe University students. Only in Study 2 did we find that values interventions resulted in beneficial outcomes. Values clarification (an extension of values-affirmation) enhanced self-concept clarity (for those initially lower in this construct) and resulted in positive affective and behavioural outcomes relating to goal achievement, mood, coping, and value congruent living. Values clarification, however, resulted in attenuation of self-concept clarity for those higher in this construct at baseline. Our research indicates that self-concept clarity is an important construct in research and therapeutic contexts, that can be enhanced via values manipulations, and may be of the greatest benefit to those with unclear and inconsistent self-belief structures. The practical VALUES CLARIFICATION AND SCC xii and theoretical implications will be discussed in addition to future directions for the research on self-concept clarity enhancement and its associated outcomes
Submission note: "A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Clinical Psychology [to the] School of Psychological Science, Faculty of Science, Technology, and Engineering, La Trobe University, Bundoora"
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