One Personality, Multiple Selves: Integrating Personality and Social Roles

Brent W. Roberts, Eileen M. Donahue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


ABSTRACT How do people maintain multiple, role‐specific self‐conceptions as well as a consistent sense of self? In a sample of middle‐aged women, we examined three issues: a the ways in which people view themselves as both different and similar across social roles (e.g., parent, friend, worker), b how role‐specific self‐conceptions and general self‐conceptions are related, and (c) the merits of predicting role‐specific criteria from role‐specific and general self‐conceptions. Results showed that subjects' self‐conceptions were specific to role contexts, yet highly correlated across those same role contexts. In addition, role‐specific self‐conceptions were more similar to the general self‐concept for roles with which the individual was more satisfied. Finally, as predicted from the bandwidth‐fidelity trade‐off, ratings of the general self correlated moderately with outcomes across all role domains, whereas ratings of role‐specific self‐conceptions correlated strongly with outcomes for the same role, but not in other roles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-218
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

Cite this