Adolescent Self-Consciousness: Longitudinal Age Changes and Gender Differences in Two Cohorts

Jane L. Rankin*, David J. Lane, Frederick X. Gibbons, Meg Gerrard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


Adolescence is frequently described as a period of pervasive self-consciousness, but an age-related peak in adolescence is not consistently obtained, and higher self-consciousness in girls is frequently obtained but not predicted by theoretical accounts. Two cohorts of adolescents (N = 393), initially assessed at 13 and 15, completed public and private selfconsciousness measures 3 times in 4 years. They also reported social comparisons and social engagement. Public self-consciousness decreased and private self-consciousness increased in both cohorts, and girls scored higher on both measures, both in longitudinal and sibling replication samples (n = 188). Public self-consciousness appears to be a normative response to adolescent social challenges, with girls' higher levels largely attributable to their closer social engagement. Private self-consciousness emerges as an individual difference in adolescence but is more likely to be salient and predictive of social behavior in adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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