The undesired selves of repressors

Leonard S. Newman, Tracy L. Caldwell, Thomas D. Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


People with a repressive coping style are highly motivated to defend themselves against self-concept threats. But what kinds of unfavourable personal characteristics are they most focused on avoiding? Weinberger (1990) suggested that repressors are primarily concerned with seeing themselves (and having others see them) as calm, unemotional people who are not prone to experiencing negative affect. A content analysis of the actual (self-ascribed) and undesired attributes of 349 male and female college students, however, provided no support for that hypothesis. Instead, relative to other participants, repressors' undesired selves consisted more of traits exemplifying disagreeableness (as defined by the five-factor model). Repressors might not engage in affective self-regulation for its own sake, but because it allows them to control expression of traits with which they are more directly concerned.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)709-719
Number of pages11
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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