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,
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.