Adolescent positive self, negative self: associated but dissociable?

Academic Article


  • © 2018, © 2018 NISC Pty Ltd. Adolescence is a period of significant identity development and particular vulnerability to depression associated with negative self-evaluation. We investigated if increased depressive symptom severity was also associated with positive self-evaluation. We also considered pubertal developmental differences in positive and negative self-evaluation, and if these could reflect dissociated facets of the self. This cross-sectional sample consisted of healthy male and female adolescents (N = 109) aged 12–17 from the United States. Participants completed a self-referential encoding task, which required them to indicate if a single-word adjective was self-descriptive. We administered the Children’s Depression Inventory, the Pubertal Development Scale, and the Child Narcissism Scale. Negative-word endorsement was significantly predicted by pubertal maturation level and depressive symptoms, but not by narcissism. Positive-word endorsement was significantly predicted by narcissism and negatively predicted by depressive symptoms, but not by pubertal maturation. In this typically developing sample, positive self-judgment does not vary across the pubertal range and is positively associated with narcissistic traits, and negatively associated with depressive symptom severity. Negative self-judgements are positively correlated with puberty and are associated with depressive symptom severity only. Our findings suggest that negative and positive aspects of the self are partially dissociable.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Ke T; Wu J; Willner CJ; Brown Z; Crowley MJ
  • Start Page

  • 203
  • End Page

  • 211
  • Volume

  • 30
  • Issue

  • 3