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Open Access Publications from the University of California

World Cultures eJournal

UC Irvine

Does the Twenty Statements Test Elicit Self-Concept Aspects that are Most Descriptive?

  • Author(s): Carpenter, Sandra;
  • Meade-Pruitt, S. Maria
  • et al.

The Twenty Statements Test (TST) is widely used in cross-cultural psychology to elicit descriptions of the self-concept through free-format responses. This study examines whether the TST elicits descriptors that are most descriptive of the self-concept. Members of four ethnic groups in the United States participated, to assess the generalizability of the obtained patterns. Participants generated self-descriptions for the actual, ideal, and ought selves, then rated each description for its descriptiveness. Although a large proportion of self-descriptions were rated as “extremely descriptive,” some participants did not use the “extremely descriptive” rating for any of the descriptions they generated. Results suggest that descriptors generated earlier in the sequence are most descriptive, as are those generated in the actual self measure. The ratings of the extent of descriptiveness of the responses did not vary across four ethnic groups in the United States. These results are discussed in terms of the interpretation of TST-generated self-descriptions in cross-cultural research and other potential factors that influence which descriptors are elicited.

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