Do Multiple Dimensions of Self-Concept Become More Differentiated With Age? The Differential Distinctiveness Hypothesis
AbstractA French version of the Self Description Questionnaire—I (SDQ-I) was completed by 1,103 students in Grades 2–6. Strong psychometric properties, a well-defined multidimensional structure, factorial invariance over age, small stereotypic gender differences, largely linear declines in mean levels of self-concept with age, and modest differentiation between academic competence and affect replicate and extend previous research. The authors critically evaluated theory and methodology underlying previous tests of the developmental proposal that self-concept becomes increasingly multidimensional with age. The authors developed and provided strong support for a new differential distinctiveness hypothesis, demonstrating that increasing distinctiveness—substantial age-related declines in correlations among latent factors—varied systematically depending on the extent of association between first-order factors in hierarchical models. Overall, correlations decreased with age, but correlations in the last category of the 3-category a priori classification showed little decline and some increased with age.