Two studies examined the effects of self-congruence and negative elaboration on life transitions. Study 1 involved college students considering the transition from college to careers. Students with greater self-congruence reported decreased dejection and higher quality of life. Students with high negative elaboration reported greater dejection and lower quality of life. Students with high self-congruence and low negative elaboration had higher self-esteem than students with high self-congruence but high negative elaboration. Study 2, a prospective study of new mothers, showed that low self-congruence during pregnancy was associated with higher postpartum dejection, but only for mothers with high negative elaboration. Together, these studies indicate that self-congruence promotes, and negative elaboration impairs, well-being. Furthermore, negative elaboration may moderate the effects of self-congruence. For impending transitions (college to career) negative elaboration may decrease the benefit of high self-congruence, and for completed transitions (becoming a mother) negative elaboration may exacerbate the liability of low self-congruence.
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