How Does Self-concept Clarity Influence Happiness in Social Settings? The Role of Strangers Versus Friends

Ezgi Merdin-Uygur, Gülen Sarial Abi, Zeynep Gürhan-Canli, Ozlem Hesapci

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Self-concept clarity (SCC), defined as the extent to which the content of an individual’s self-beliefs is clearly and confidently defined and internally consistent, influences experiences in social relationships. This paper extends the previous literature on SCC by proposing and demonstrating that high-SCC individuals anticipate and experience more happiness than low-SCC individuals when they share a social setting with friends and anticipate and experience less happiness than low-SCC individuals when they share a social setting with strangers and that this is because of perceived interpersonal distance. A series of four studies, including both online studies and a field study, support these predictions. Alternative explanations of self-esteem and self-efficacy are also ruled out. The findings yield both theoretical contributions and practical implications.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSelf and Identity
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)443-466
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Self-concept clarity
  • Perceived interpersonal distance
  • Experience with strangers
  • Experience with friends
  • Happiness

Cite this