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Many researchers in psychology have sought to identify and examine various factors that foster mental health and psychological well-being. The way one perceives and experiences one's self (also called "sense of self') has been one of these factors. The concept of a dialectical self refers to a specific way we sense or view ourselves. An individual with a dialectical sense of self recognizes not only positive attributes of the self but also negative qualities. It represents an ability to accept and tolerate contradictions and fluidity in the self. Although previous studies have shown that a dialectical self is associated with lower levels of self-control and well-being (Spencer-Rodgers, Peng, Wang, & Hou. 2004), These studies have only addressed the relationship of a dialectical self with hedonic forms of well-being (i.e., basic global judgments of life satisfaction and experiencing more positive emotions over negative ones). The purpose of this study is to examine if such a negative relationship holds true with other notions of well-being, specifically eudaimonic and social well-being. The latter types of well-being go beyond hedonic well-being and tap into other elements of well-being such as meaning in life, self-actualization, personal growth, social integration, and coherence. It is anticipated that a more dialectical self will be generally associated with lower levels of hedonic well-being, but with higher levels of eudaimonic and social well-being.


This paper was a recipient of the 2012 Booth Library Awards for Excellence in Student Research and Creative Activity, Graduate level.

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