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Self-concept is an important outcome variable that facilitates attainment of other desirable outcomes. Self-concept formation is based in part on the frames of reference or standards of comparison used to evaluate one's accomplishments. The internal/external frame of reference model posits dimensional comparisons such that accomplishments in one domain are used as a basis of comparison for evaluating accomplishments in other domains, along with the accomplishments of other individuals (social comparison). Based on extensive support in educational settings that generalizes across gender, age, and nationality, it explains why high achievement in one domain (e.g., mathematics) can have negative effects on self-concepts in another domain (verbal).


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Book Chapter

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