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Self-Discrepancy Theory

Self-discrepancy theory was developed in an attempt to answer the following question: Why is it that when people are emotionally overwhelmed by tragedies or serious setbacks in their lives—such as the death of their child, the loss of their jobs, or the break-up of their marriages—some suffer from depression whereas others suffer from anxiety? Even when the tragic event is the same, people's emotional reactions can be very different. The answer proposed by self-discrepancy theory is that even when people have the same specific goals, such as seniors in high school wanting to go to a good college or older adults wanting a good marriage, they often vary in how they represent these goals. Some individuals represent their goals (or standards), called self-guides in self-discrepancy ...

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