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Self-Presentational Authenticity, Variability, and Well-Being

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Dina Gohar
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People regularly monitor and control the impressions others form of them but differ in the degree to which they both convey impressions that are consistent with their private self-views (self-presentational congruence) and present different images of themselves to different targets (self-presentational variability). This study examined the implications of self-presentational congruence and variability for psychological and social well-being. Participants rated the impressions that they tried to make on nine individuals in their lives and completed measures of psychosocial well-being. Results indicated that self-presentational congruence predicted psychosocial adjustment (higher subjective well-being, social support quality, social efficacy, and self-esteem; and lower anxiety, depression, and loneliness) beyond personality variables such as self-consciousness, fear of negative evaluation, and Machiavellianism. Self-presentational variability across targets also predicted better psychosocial adjustment, with variability across non intimates being most predictive. Thus, self-presentational flexibility may promote psychosocial well-being as long as people's projected images are reasonably congruent with their private self-views.