Essentialist beliefs about the self predict psychological well-being

Andrew G. Christy, Joseph Maffly-Kipp, Matthew Friedman, Andrei Cimpian, Rebecca J. Schlegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current studies tested whether self-essentialist beliefs (SEBs; that is, believing one’s identity is defined by enduring, inherent properties) enhance self-perceptions and psychological well-being. In Studies 1A (n = 208) and 1B (n = 305), we found that SEBs predicted self-perceptions and well-being, even with related variables controlled. Study 2 (n = 129) replicated and extended these findings in a short longitudinal design. In Studies 3A (n = 488), 3B (n = 404), 4 (n = 232), and 5 (n = 390), we manipulated SEBs and tested for effects on self-perceptions and well-being. Our manipulations successfully influenced SEBs, but generally did not directly affect self-perceptions and well-being. However, we consistently found indirect effects of the manipulations (via manipulation-check measures) in the predicted directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSelf and Identity
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • authenticity
  • essentialism
  • lay theories
  • self-concept
  • well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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