Authenticity as a state; its mediating relationship between mood and wellbeing, and the role of self-consciousness
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State versus trait: the experiment explored the dichotomy in personality theory by investigating whether judgements of authenticity were susceptible to different mood conditions. Life satisfaction and self consciousness were included as additional variables. Happy, sad and neutral film clips were used to induce levels of positive and negative affect in participants, while empirical measures of authenticity were adapted from two different scales, due to a lack of existing measures. Results shows that high levels of negative affect were related to lower authenticity and wellbeing, and low levels of negative affect were related to higher authenticity and wellbeing. Authenticity was found to mediate the relationship between mood and wellbeing. This result was not consistent across both measures of authenticity, only one was found to be influenced by state mood when trait happiness was controlled for, or across both measures of affect, as positive affect didn’t relate significantly to any of the variables. Self consciousness as mediator was also investigated unsuccessfully. A relationship indicative of the role of affect regulation, relating to private self-consciousness, in authentic functioning was found. The study is the first to investigate authenticity as an affective state, hence significant findings set an intriguing precedent for future research, as well as having implications for clinical and counselling psychology by illuminating the role of authenticity in explaining why mood might be so important to wellbeing.