First Advisor

Hugo M. Maynard

Term of Graduation

Fall 1991

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Self-perception in adolescence, Adolescent psychology



Physical Description

1 online resource (4, v, 92 pages)


Mark Snyder (1974) in his Self-Monitoring (SM) construct proposed there were two ways in which people might be classified: high and low self-monitors. High SM individuals attend to environmental cues and respond to the expectations of a given situation, while low SM individuals respond to their feelings, inner states and personal values. This construct has been extensively researched with adults and children, but not with adolescents.

David Elkind (1979), in his Imaginary Audience (IA) construct, suggested that upon reaching puberty, teenagers become vitally aware of how they are perceived by others. Elkind maintained that girls in early adolescence were more aware of the IA than boys, but that this would even out over time.

It was hypothesized in this study that SM, because of the IA, would be higher in younger adolescents and then drop towards adult levels as age increased. It was also hypothesized that younger girls would have higher levels of SM than younger boys, and that these gender differences would diminish with increasing age. Since SM specifically addressed attending to the environment, and since adolescents in alternative schools and jails were considered to be "streetwise" (i.e. environmentally aware), it was predicted that teenagers in restricted situations would be higher SM than teenagers in regular school.

Procedures consisted of two rounds. In the first, 161 students at four sites were evaluated using Snyder's 18item SM scale and a task in which the subject matched male and female targets to make up hypothetical dates based on photographs and bio-sketches. Subjects were also asked to 3 select a hypothetical date for themselves. Subjects were considered high SM if they scored high on the SM scale; Snyder's SM construct predicts that high SM subjects use "looks" to make up pairs. There was an overall main effect supporting Snyder's SM construct. However, on a site-bysite basis, results were mixed. Age and gender differences were marginally supported. When selecting a hypothetical date for themselves, most subjects chose on the basis of personality.

Snyder predicts that 40% of subjects will score high on SM and 60% low. That was true in the incarcerated subjects, but the opposite was observed at all other sites. This led to speculation on whether a certain personality type was more likely to be incarcerated.

The second round consisted of re-interviewing the groups at three of the sites and interviewing a new college-age group. Follow-Up Questionnaires (FUQ) from 209 students were analyzed for a school effect, an experimenter effect, an age effect, and a participation effect. It was found that the college, 12th grade and alternative school students were unguarded in their responses during the first round, while the 9th graders were not. Following administration of the FUQ, discussion with the 9th graders revealed that they had just been exposed to curriculum emphasizing personality over looks in date selection, and that there had been no previous exposure to experimental procedures, making them apprehensive and cautious about their participation. The other groups, because of exposure to science curricula, or (in the alternative school) because of knowledge of the experimenter, were more unguarded in their responses.

It was concluded that Snyder's SM construct had some validity with adolescent groups, but that high SM was much more frequent for both boys and girls than Snyder predicted. Environment also may play a greater role than previously shown. The results of the FUQ demonstrated a need for preparing young adolescents before their participation in experimental research.


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