The unifying premise of the last decade's research on the self is that the self-concept does not just reflect on-going behavior but instead mediates and regulates this behavior. In this sense the self-concept has been viewed as dynamic-as active, forceful, and capable of change. It interprets and orgaÂ nizes self-relevant actions and experiences; it has motivational consequences, providing the incentives, standards, plans, rules, and scripts for behavior; and 0066-4308/87/0201-0299$02.00 MARKUS & WURF it adjusts in response to challenges from the social environment. Virtually all of the early theoretical statements on the self-concept accord it this dynamic role (see Gordon & Gergen 1968), yet until very recently the empirical work lagged far behind these sophisticated conceptions of how the self-system functions. Indeed, the majority of self-concept research could best be deÂ scribed as an attempt to relate very complex global behavior, such as deÂ linquency, marital satisfaction, or school achievement, to a single aspect of the self-concept, typically self-esteem. In 1974, Wylie reviewed the literature and concluded that the self-concept simply could not be powerfully implicated in directing behavior. In the last decade, however, researchers have redoubled their efforts to understand the self-concept as one of the most significant
Annual Review of Psychology – Annual Reviews
Published: Feb 1, 1987
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