Daniel M. Ogilvie

The "Undesired" Self

Self-Discrepancy Theory

Beginning with Carl Rogers in the 1950s and for many years thereafter, discrepancies between the real self and the ideal self were shown to co-vary with a great number of other variables (e.g., life satisfaction, self-regard, treatment programs, etc.). E. Tory Higgins then introduced the concept of real-ought self discrepancies and proceeded to demonstrate that ideal self discrepancies co-vary with depression and ought self discrepancies predicted anxiety. At about the same time that Higgins and his colleagues began to publish their studies, I introduced the concept of the undesired self and argued that it is a more robust "peg" for current self-evaluations than are either the ideal or ought selves.

Publications relevant to this topic are:

   Ogilvie, D. M. (1987). The undesired self: A neglected variable in personality research.
       Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 379-385.

   Ogilvie, D. M., & Clark, M. D. (1992). The best and the worst of it: Age and sex
       differences in self-discrepancy research. In R.P.Lipka & T.M.Brinthaupt (Eds.),
       The self: Definitional and methodological issues. Albany, NY: State University
       of New York Press.

   Heppen, J. B. & Ogilvie, D. M. (2003). Predicting affect from global self-discrepancies:
       The dual role of the undesired self. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 22,
       pp. 347-368.

I continue to pursue the topic of the undesired self from time to time.  It doesn't seem to want to go away.  My most recent work on the topic involved teaming up with Florette Cohen and Sheldon Solomon.  Our research demonstrates a link between the undesired self and the fear of death.  Click here for a pdf version of the paper. The published version is:

    Ogilvie, D. M, Cohen, F., & Solomon, S. (2008).  The undesired self: Death connotations.
         Journal of Research in Personality, 43, pp. 564-576.

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