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The Authentic Personality: A Theoretical and Empirical Conceptualization and the Development of the Authenticity Scale

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This paper was published as Journal of Counseling Psychology, 2008, 55 (3), pp. 385-399. It is available from http://psycnet.apa.org/?fa=main.doiLanding&doi=10.1037/0022-0167.55.3.385. Doi: 10.1037/0022-0167.55.3.385 Metadata only entry This article describes the development of a measure of dispositional authenticity and tests whether authenticity is related to well-being, as predicted by several counseling psychology perspectives. Scales were designed to measure a tripartite conception of authenticity, comprising self-alienation, authentic living, and accepting external influence, which was supported with exploratory factor analysis. Multigroup confirmatory factor analysis showed that the factor loadings were invariant across sample, ethnicity, and gender. The scale showed substantial discriminant validity from the Big Five personality traits, nonsignificant correlations with social desirability, and 2- and 4-week test-retest correlations ranging from r = .78 to .91. Each subscale was strongly related to self-esteem and aspects of both subjective and psychological well-being. This article provides the first direct test of several theoretical models that view authenticity as integral to well-being.
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... Rogers postulierte, dass die Erfahrung von Kongruenz, die Übereinstimmung zwischen Selbstkonzept und Erleben, als eine Basis zur Erreichung einer Fully Funtioning Person fungiert (Rogers, 1961(Rogers, , 1965. Kongruenz, operationalisiert als Authentizität (Proctor et al., 2016;Wood et al., 2008), nimmt eine relevante Rolle in der humanistischen Psychologie ein. Authentizität wird zum einen als ein ungehindertes Leben des True Self, somit des wahren Selbst, definiert (Schlegel et al., 2011). ...
... Empirisch zeigen sich zum einen positive Korrelationen in Zusammenhang mit Authentizität, beispielsweise mit dem subjektiven, dem psychologischen Wohlbefinden sowie mit dem Selbstwertgefühl (Ménard & Brunet, 2011;Wood et al., 2008). Außerdem steht das Führen eines authentischen Lebens in Zusammenhang mit der Fähigkeit, Glück und Freude auszudrücken (Robbins, 2006). ...
... Außerdem steht das Führen eines authentischen Lebens in Zusammenhang mit der Fähigkeit, Glück und Freude auszudrücken (Robbins, 2006). Überdies konnten negative Korrelationen zwischen Authentizität und Angst, Stress sowie Depressionen festgestellt werden (Wood et al., 2008). ...
Thesis
Das Ziel der vorliegenden Studie besteht darin, ein Verständnis des subjektiven Erlebens der Anwendung des Human Design Systems (HDS) zu vermitteln. Da es an wissenschaftlicher Forschung zu diesem Thema mangelt, war eine vertiefende empirische Auseinandersetzung notwendig. Hierfür wurde anhand einer Heuristic Self-Search Inquiry (HSSI) das persönliche Erleben der Forschenden im Anschluss an zwei Human Design-Sitzungen innerhalb von zwei Phasen und einer Follow-up-Phase erhoben. Darauf folgten eine Auswertung der Daten anhand der Kategorien Entscheidungen, Identitätsgefühl und Emotionen mit jeweiligen Unterkategorien sowie eine kreative Verarbeitung des Erlebens im Rahmen der kreativen Synthese. Die Ergebnisse vermitteln u. a. anhand der Aspekte wahrgenommene Selbsterkenntnis, Lebenssinn, Selbstakzeptanz, erhöhtes Authentizitätserleben, Integration von Selbstaspekten sowie verstärkter emotionaler Ausdruck einen Überblick über das subjektive Erleben des HDS und geben Aufschluss über Entwicklungschancen sowie Herausforderungen, die mit der Anwendung des HDS einhergehen können. Hieraus kann ein erstes psychologisches Verständnis des HDS abgeleitet werden, das in zukünftigen Forschungen genutzt werden könnte, um die Anwendung des HDS noch engmaschiger zu untersuchen. Zudem sind weiterführende Studien mittels quantitativer Messinstrumente zur Untersuchung der subjektiven Effekte denkbar, die aus der Anwendung hervorgingen. The aim of the present study is to provide an understanding of the subjective experience of using the Human Design System (HDS). Since there is a lack of scientific research on this topic, an in-depth empirical investigation was necessary. For this purpose, a Heuristic Self-Search Inquiry (HSSI) was used to collect the personal experience of the researchers following two Human Design sessions within two phases and a follow-up phase. This was followed by an analysis of the data using the categories of decisions, sense of identity, and emotions with respective subcategories, as well as a creative processing of the experience within the creative synthesis. The results provide an overview of the subjective experience of the HDS on the basis of the aspects of perceived self-knowledge, meaning in life, self-acceptance, increased experience of authenticity, integration of self-aspects, and increased emotional expression, among others, and provide information about development opportunities as well as challenges that can accompany the application of the HDS. From this, an initial psychological understanding of the HDS can be derived, which could be used in future research to more closely examine the use of the HDS. In addition, further studies using quantitative measurement instruments to examine the subjective effects that emerged from its use are conceivable.
... Earlier conceptual frameworks of authenticity emphasise the complexity of the concept and explain that being authentic involves self-awareness and understanding, processing of selfrelevant evaluative information, behavioural consistency with one's values and norms and open relational functioning (Kernis and Goldman, 2006). The tri-dimensional framework of Wood et al. (2008) have become popular and conceptualise authenticity as a disposition defined by one's ability to follow and live according to one's true emotions and values (authentic living); perceived congruence between your conscience and actual experience (low self-alienation); and one's ability to resist external influences and expectations. In terms of the latter and third construct in the Wood et al. (2008) framework, research advancing the state authenticity concept has emphasised that authenticity is related to being open to external influence, rather than rejecting or resisting it (Sedikides et al., 2019). ...
... The tri-dimensional framework of Wood et al. (2008) have become popular and conceptualise authenticity as a disposition defined by one's ability to follow and live according to one's true emotions and values (authentic living); perceived congruence between your conscience and actual experience (low self-alienation); and one's ability to resist external influences and expectations. In terms of the latter and third construct in the Wood et al. (2008) framework, research advancing the state authenticity concept has emphasised that authenticity is related to being open to external influence, rather than rejecting or resisting it (Sedikides et al., 2019). In this way, the state approach again emphasises personal agency in deciding who and how one is and wants to be (Roberts et al., 2005). ...
... This also reminds of Kernis and Goldman's (2006) view of authenticity as reflecting optimal self-esteem (feeling of high self-worth and acceptance) and relates to Goodwin's (2019, p. 33) use of best-self as the 'self-checking' point for women's sense of authentic leadership. As such, in this study authenticity is defined from an eudaimonic, existential, state perspective and define it as an individual difference construct (Kernis, 2003;Wood et al., 2008) formed by an ongoing process (Barnard and Simbhoo, 2014) of the realignment of thoughts, emotions and behaviour (Roberts et al., 2005;Kernis and Goldman, 2006) with notions of bestself (Roberts et al., 2005;Human et al., 2012). Best-self denotes people's cognitive construction of the qualities and characteristics they display when they deem themselves at their best (Roberts et al., 2005;Cable et al., 2013). ...
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Law enforcement poses a difficult work environment. Employees’ wellbeing is uniquely taxed in coping with daily violent, aggressive and hostile encounters. These challenges are compounded for women, because law enforcement remains to be a male-dominated occupational context. Yet, many women in law enforcement display resilience and succeed in maintaining a satisfying career. This study explores the experience of being authentic from a best-self perspective, for women with successful careers in the South African police and traffic law enforcement services. Authenticity research substantiates a clear link between feeling authentic and experiencing psychological wellbeing. The theoretical assumption on which the study is based holds that being authentic relates to a sense of best-self and enables constructive coping and adjustment in a challenging work environment. A qualitative study was conducted on a purposive sample of 12 women, comprising 6 police officers and 6 traffic officers from the Western Cape province in South Africa. Data were gathered through narrative interviews focussing on experiences of best-self and were analysed using interpretive phenomenological analysis. During the interviews, participants predominantly described feeling authentic in response to work-related events of a conflictual and challenging nature. Four themes were constructed from the data to describe authenticity from a best-self perspective for women in the study. These themes denote that the participating women in law enforcement, express feeling authentic when they present with a mature sense of self, feel spiritually congruent and grounded, experience self-actualisation in the work–role and realign to a positive way of being. Women should be empowered towards authenticity in their world of work, by helping them to acquire the best-self characteristics needed for developing authenticity.
... Similarly, Study 1 operationalized sense of self as self-concept clarity, which is clearness and certainty about oneself; a similar alternative operationalization is to use awareness of self, which is awareness of one's feelings and sense of self (Sheldon et al., 1996). Self-concept clarity and awareness of self are both positive indicators of sense of self, so another way to generalize the results is to test a negative indicator, such as self-alienation, which is feelings of not knowing oneself or feeling out of touch with oneself (Wood et al., 2008). Given the purpose of replicating and generalizing Study 1's results, Study 2 employed Study 1's measures plus these three alternative operationalizations of self stability and sense of self. ...
... Sense of self was also measured by the 4-item Self-Alienation subscale of the multidimensional Authenticity Scale (Wood et al., 2008). Example items include "I feel as if I don't really know myself very well," "I feel alienated from myself," and "I feel out of touch with the 'real me.'" ...
Article
According to narrative identity theory, narratives underlie a strong sense of self because they unify and integrate identity (McAdams, 2008). Consistent with this, individual differences in cinematic self, how storied people experience themselves (Wong, Dirghangi, & Butner, 2020), positively relate to stronger self outcomes. If narratives provide a robust structure for identity, then the consequences of having a stronger or weaker narrative identity may be particularly evident during instability. Two studies tested the hypothesis narrative identity moderates the relationship between self-instability and sense of self. Significant interactions were observed across university students ( N = 172) and online adults ( N = 248), that were consistent across measures of self (self-concept clarity, self-alienation, self-awareness) and stability (stability of self, labile self-esteem), and remained significant controlling for self-esteem. The results support the idea a highly storied identity structures a more robust self than a lesser storied identity and that narrative identity promotes resilience during unstable times.
... In contrast, we view social support at work (i.e., social support from colleagues and supervisors) as a resource that emerges from the group and supervisor levels (Nielsen et al., 2017). As authenticity is dependent on balancing our autonomous individuality and interrelatedness (Schmid, 2005;Wood et al., 2008), job autonomy and social support at work might be especially relevant resources to affect employees' authenticity. ...
... Similarly, having high levels of job autonomy might act as a double-edged sword as it was previously linked to job satisfaction and unethical behavior (Lu et al., 2017). Living authentically, however, centers on individuals who live in accordance with their own values and beliefs (Wood et al., 2008). Thus, job autonomy might promote AAW in some circumstances, but too much might be counterproductive. ...
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Authenticity at work (AAW) is an important work-related state. Little is known about how other work-related resources can promote AAW and the link between AAW and organizational self-actualization (OSA). In three studies, we drew on conservation of resource theory to determine whether AAW serves as a mediator between three distinct work-related resources (i.e., social support at work, job autonomy, authentic leadership) and OSA. Studies 1 and 2 used a cross-sectional design (Ns = 209; 597), and study 3 used a two-wave longitudinal design (N = 143) to evaluate data from employees. While studies 1 and 2 supported a positive, indirect relation between job autonomy, social support at work, and OSA via AAW, study 3 and additional post hoc findings challenged these results. Alternatively, a reciprocal, cross-lagged effect of OSA on AAW is plausible. Lagged effects from work-related resources to AAW or OSA were not supported in study 3. Authentic leadership (AL) was not related to OSA via AAW. Instead, post hoc analysis suggested two serially mediated links between AL and OSA. All three studies confirmed the proposed factor structures of AAW and OSA. The findings extend both our knowledge regarding the concepts of AAW and OSA and the promotion of AAW and its relation to OSA. We discuss the dynamics of work-related resources, AAW, and OSA and conclude with implications for future research, organizations, leaders, and employees.
... Dispositional authenticity is marked by the alignment between values, feeling, and behavior. It can be measured through questions about self-alienation (e.g., "I feel out of touch with myself"), authentic living (e.g., "I always stand by what I believe in"), and accepting external influence (e.g., "other people influence me greatly"; Wood et al., 2008). LGB-specific authenticity centralizes self-acceptance of LGB identity and positive LGB identity (Riggle et al., 2014). ...
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As a common experience for sexual minority individuals, sexual orientation concealment has complex implications. Self-determination theory (SDT) and previous studies suggest a mediation path where hiding sexual orientation is associated with well-being through eroding lesbian, gay, bisexual-specific authenticity and inducing loneliness. However, this relationship has rarely been examined using longitudinal data. This study also built on minority stress theory to determine whether the psychological process of concealment operates differently as a function of perceived acceptance in different contexts. A community sample of 636 sexual minority individuals in Hong Kong (48.3% men, 50.5% women, and 1.3% transgender and nonbinary individuals; mean age = 25.36 years) was recruited through lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) social media, nongovernmental organizations, and social venues to complete a baseline and 1-year follow-up survey. The results showed that loneliness mediated the relationship between concealment and well-being. Moreover, the mediation path from concealment to well-being via loneliness was moderated by the perceived LGBT-friendliness of the family. The negative association between concealment and well-being was only significant when the family was perceived as supportive of sexual and gender minorities. The study findings elucidated the complex mechanisms involved in the adverse outcomes of sexual orientation concealment and highlighted the importance of loneliness and family context when working with sexual minority clients on their concerns over sexual orientation concealment. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
... Other one-dimensional measures rely on items from the Authenticity Scale (AS) (A. M. Wood et al., 2008), the Authenticity Inventory (AI) (Kernis & Goldman, 2006), and the Authentic Leadership Questionnaire (ALQ) (Walumbwa et al., 2008). As these scales were developed to measure authenticity as a self-experience ("Am I authentic?"), ...
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Although being perceived as authentic is seen as a success factor in modern political communication, little attention has been paid to how citizens evaluate politicians’ authenticity. The state of research thus lacks a valid instrument to measure citizens’ perceptions of politicians’ authenticity. This article addresses this gap in the literature and proposes a new multidimensional scale of perceived political authenticity. We conducted three consecutive studies to test the instrument’s composition, performance, and validity and present a final 12-item scale. Results from an expert panel and two online quota surveys show that citizens rely on three political authenticity dimensions - ordinariness, consistency, and immediacy - to judge politicians’ authenticity. Factor analyses were used to establish construct validity and show that the new scale is a robust and reliable measure. Finally, we find that higher perceived political authenticity is positively associated with party identification and the intention to vote for politicians.
... They believe being authentic entails projecting yourself on social media as who you really are. This viewpoint is parallel to the definition of authenticity in the empirical psychology field (Wood et al., 2008). Eli added that it means "sticking to your unique taste and style, executing those honestly". ...
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Purpose In spite of the rise of social media influencers observed in the 2010s, the direction and future of influencers are ambiguous. This popular yet overused marketing tool has shown certain problems and limitations such as a decrease in perceived authenticity and market saturation. Additionally, the outbreak of COVD-19 has amplified the significance of these factors and made many companies and influencers reconsider their involvement in influencer marketing. Within this context, this paper aims to explore whether influencers were impacted by diminishing perceived authenticity, market saturation or the prolonged pandemic. Also, the authors aim to investigate influencers’ perception of the future of influencer marketing post-pandemic. Design/methodology/approach To gain insight into trends in influencer marketing from the influencer’s perspective, this paper uses qualitative research in the form of interviews with influencers and industry professionals. Findings The findings highlight the importance of perceived authenticity for success in influencer marketing. Most interviewees indicated that they had noticed a boom in social media influencer marketing before the pandemic, yet provided mixed views regarding the market during the pandemic. Several believe that influencers will continue to be relevant in the increasingly digital world (e.g. increasing digital marketing spend and e-commerce), whereas an expectation of new digital platforms and innovations was also observed. In the long term, saturation and decreased effectiveness were predicted by several interviewees. Originality/value This under-researched topic is of relevance especially to consumer goods companies, as social media marketing and influencer marketing are currently highly effective and popular tools. To refine marketing strategies designed around influencers, understanding the limitations, in the context of COVID-19, is crucial.
... To measure participants' authenticity, the Authenticity Scale (Wood et al., 2008) was used. The 12-item scale is equally divided into 3 dimensions which are scored separately. ...
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