Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family Consumer Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

D. Kim Openshaw


D. Kim Openshaw


Gerald R. Adams


Frank R. Ascione


It is posited that self-conception disparity is the amount of difference between an individual's ideal self-conception and his or her real self-conception. Such a postulation arises directly from the literature wherein the self-concept is conceptualized as a multitude of self-conceptions an individual has. During the evaluative phase (i.E., the comparison of the ideal self-conception against the real self-conception), an image (self-image) of one's self is evoked. This self-image is associated with an affective response referred to as self-Esteem.

Two methods of computing self-conception disparity are compared and contrasted: (a) the often-used subtraction-Absolute Value Method and (b) a ratio method based on the work of James (1890) conceptualizing self esteem as the quotient of one's successes to his or her pretensions.

Results of the study indicate that the two methods share only a minimal amount of common variance, thus suggesting that they are either not measuring what they purport or that they may be accounting for different phenomena relative to self-esteem. In comparing the two methods for their ability to predict common external variables that have been correlated with self-esteem, the results indicate that the Ratio Method accounts for a greater proportion of the variance than does the Subraction-Absolute Value Formula.

While more research is certainly needed to ferret out the question regarding which method of calculating self-conception disparity is of greatest utility, the results of this study suggest that the Ratio Method appears to lend itself more accurately to conceptualizing the nature of self-conception disparity.