Do We See Ourselves As Others Infer: A Comparison of Self-other Agreement On Multiple Dimensions of Self-Concept From Two Continents

Year: 1990

Author: Marsh, Herbert W., Byrne, Barbara M.

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Self-other agreement between self-concept ratings and self-concepts inferred by significant others is of theoretical and practical importance, but the Shrauger and Schoeneman (1979) review found no evidence for such agreement. In the present investigation the Self Description Questionnaire III (SDQII) was completed by Australian (n=151) and Canadian (n=941) university students, and by the significant others selected by students as the person in the world who knew them best. Self-other agreement on each of the 13 SDQIII scales was very high for Australians (mean rs = .568) and Canadians (mean r =.560). Guidelines for evaluating multitrait-multimethod (MTMM) data and a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) approach both provided strong support for convergent and discriminant validity. An important new extension of the MTMM CFA approach to multistudy data showed that all parameter estimates were reasonably invariant (i.e., equal) for Australians and Canadians. This self-other agreement is much higher than found elsewhere and its replication across two continents dramatically refutes the Shrauger and Schoeneman (1979) conclusion. Critical features leading to this high self-other agreement appear to be the use of: older subjects; multiple dimensions of self-concept based on instruments with strong psychometric properties; and significant others who know the subject very well.