School of Arts and Humanities
Actual-ideal and actual-ought self-discrepancies have been theorised to be independently associated with depressive and anxious symptoms respectively. This study tested this prediction and extended it to consider whether rumination mediates these relationships. One hundred and thirty-eight students (48 males, 90 females) listed four adjectives describing how they would ideally hope to be and four adjectives describing how they ought to be. Participants then rated how distant they perceived themselves to be from each of their ideal and ought selves, as well as the importance of each ideal and ought self. Finally, participants self-reported levels of negative rumination, anxious and depressive symptoms. Actual-ideal self-discrepancy was independently associated with both anxious and depressive symptoms, whereas actual-ought self-discrepancy was independently associated with anxious symptoms only. Rumination mediated the independent relationships between actual-ideal self-discrepancy and anxious and depressive symptoms. Actual-ought self-discrepancy retained an independent association with anxious symptoms that was not mediated through rumination. Anxious and depressive symptoms both have independent associations with actual-ideal self-discrepancies, whereas anxious symptoms are uniquely associated with actual-ought self-discrepancies. We reveal further evidence for rumination as a cognitive-motivational transdiagnostic process linking self-regulatory difficulties with anxious and depressive symptoms.
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Available for download on Friday, October 15, 2021