Self-Complexity, Self-Evaluation, and Depression: An Examination of Form and Content Within the Self-Schema

Robert L. Woolfolk, James Novalany, Michael A. Gara, Lesley A. Allen, Monica Polino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Six studies examined the relationship between self-complexity and variables related to self-evaluation. Self-complexity was found to comprise two components: positive self-complexity and negative self-complexity. Positive self-complexity was sensitive to methodological factors, namely, variations in stimulus materials used for self-ratings. Negative self-complexity was relatively stable in the face of different rating stimuli and tasks and was related to trait measures of self-evaluation, psychic distress, and psychopathology. These findings were observed and replicated. Higher negative self-complexity was associated with increases in depression symptoms over time. Higher negative self-complexity also predicted a poorer prognosis and less complete recovery from depression in a clinical sample. Results are discussed in light of related research and possible social-cognitive mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1108-1120
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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