Papers from the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology Conferences

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Research into self-complexity has been hampered by problems with its measurement. The present study was designed to test the generality of Western findings about self-complexity and improve the measurement and our understanding of this construct by examining the relationships of four measures of self-complexity to coping and psychological adaptation with 347 Chinese college students. A new measure, the Self-Complexity Task was developed to obtain the number of self-aspects and the average distinction among self-aspects separately, and was employed in parallel to Linville’s H measure as the overlap among self-aspects in terms of their descriptive traits. As found in Western cultures, the positive correlation between the H statistic and overlap supports the position that H is not an appropriate measure of self-complexity. Among the four measures, the average distinction is the most powerful indicator of self-complexity in terms of its relationship with coping and adaptation variables in the sample of Chinese college students. Although higher average distinction implies the use of more effective coping strategies, it may be the latter which directly affects adaptation in the long run. Implications of these findings are discussed for future research of self-complexity from a cross-cultural perspective.

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