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Two studies examined the relationship between the content of a self-threat and the attractiveness of available self-affirmations (C. M. Steele, 1988). After self-threat was induced by means of a cognitive dissonance procedure, participants' choices for affirmations were examined in order to explore whether the attractiveness of a given affirmation depends on its relevance to the threatened domain of the self-concept. The authors hypothesized that when faced with a threat to a specific self-conception or standard, individuals may forego affirmations within the threatened self-concept domain in favor of affirmations of unrelated, compensatory domains. Both studies supported this hypothesis and further suggested that such selective self-affirmation can lead individuals to modify their self-concepts by identifying with self-aspects that justify dissonant behavior and by disidentifying with the standards that such behavior violates. 1995 American Psychological Association.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
author list (cited authors)
Aronson, J., Blanton, H., & Cooper, J.