ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 6, Issue 3, 278-296, 2015
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Blending in at the Cost of Losing Oneself: Dishonest Self-Disclosure Erodes Self-Concept Clarity in Social Anxiety

Authors
  Elizabeth Orr - Department of Psychology & Centre for Mental Health Research, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  David Moscovitch - Department of Psychology & Centre for Mental Health Research, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Volume 6, Issue 3, 2015, Pages 278-296
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5127/jep.044914

Abstract
Self-concept clarity helps to promote self-esteem and guide adaptive social behavior. Recent studies have found that people with higher levels of trait social anxiety exhibit significantly diminished levels of self-concept clarity, but the mechanisms that might link higher social anxiety with lower self-concept clarity are untested and unknown. We propose that the relation between social anxiety and self-concept clarity is mediated by dishonest self-disclosure – a self-protective strategy in which one asserts an inauthentic or dishonest opinion to others based on what one believes others wish to hear rather than one’s own genuine viewpoint. To test this prediction, we manipulated the honesty of participants’ self-disclosures during a social task in the laboratory and measured subsequent changes in self-concept clarity. As hypothesized, dishonest relative to honest self-disclosure led to significantly reduced levels of self-concept clarity, but only amongst participants with higher levels of trait social anxiety. These findings help to elucidate the processes underlying the link between social anxiety and self-concept clarity and provide insight into the costs of adopting an inauthentic façade during interpersonal encounters when social conformity motives become salient.

Table of Contents
Introduction
Method
Participants
Procedure
Primary Measures
Self-Concept Clarity Scale (SCCS; Campbell et al., 1996).
Certainty about Controversial Opinions.
Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM; Bradley & Lang, 1994).
Subjective Units of Distress Scale (SUDS).
Social Phobia Scale (SPS; Mattick & Clarke, 1998).
Predicted future honesty.
Manipulation Check Ratings
Perceived honesty during talk.
Perceived “free will.”
Results
Preliminary Results
Manipulation Checks
Primary Analyses
Effect of condition on self-concept clarity as measured by the SCCS
Effect of condition on certainty of opinions
Effect of condition on perceived arousal and anxiety
Effect of condition on perceived arousal and anxiety about meeting other participant
Effect of condition on expected future honesty
Discussion
Acknowledgements
References

Correspondence to
Elizabeth M.J. Orr, Ph.D., and David A. Moscovitch, Ph.D., University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave. West, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1

Keywords
Social anxiety, conformity, self-disclosure, self-concept clarity, self-certainty

Dates
Received 3 Jan 2014; Revised 26 Mar 2015; Accepted 26 Mar 2015; In Press 2 Oct 2015







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