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ISSN : 2233-6710(Print)
ISSN : 2384-2121(Online)
Journal of Asia Pacific Counseling Vol.12 No.2 pp.15-33

Comparative Analysis of the Effects of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Self-Affirmation on Self-Stigma

Eunhye Shin1, Changdai Kim2, Gee Yeon Ro3
1Department of Education, Seoul National University
2Department of Education, Seoul National University
3Department of Education, Seoul National University
Corresponding Author
Changdai Kim, Room 508, Building 12, Gwanak-gu Gwanak-ro 1, Seoul 08826, South Korea


Self-affirmation intervention is the active affirmation of some critical aspect of one’s self-concept. It can be categorized into either intrinsic or extrinsic self-affirmation, depending on the contingencies of the sources of the affirmed self. Sixty-two participants were randomly assigned to either an intrinsic self-affirmation (ISA) or extrinsic self-affirmation (ESA) intervention group. ISA intervention was designed to self-affirm outside of socially imposed standards, whereas ESA intervention was designed to encourage the participant to bolster the self through external sources. The total duration of the activity for the interventions lasted approximately twenty minutes. Afterwards, as part of the study, all participants received psychologically threatening messages. Self-stigma toward counseling was measured once before self-affirmation and once after receiving the threatening message. Results showed that ISA intervention reduced self-stigma, while ESA intervention increased its occurrence. As a result, the study calls for more specific guidelines on how to incorporate self-affirmations to clinical interventions. Further implications and possible future research directions are discussed.