Joshua D. Brown

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between perceived personal moral discrepancies and depression and well-being. Prior research suggests that possessing self-discrepancies regarding hopes and dreams increases a person’s likelihood of displaying depressive symptoms. In addition, there has been research regarding perceived moral discrepancies between an individual and society that have come to similar conclusions. However, no one has examined the consequences of possessing a moral discrepancy within oneself; a discrepancy of a person’s actual moral self, and a person’s ideal moral self. The current study hypothesized that a perceived discrepancy between a person’s ideal moral self and their actual moral self would be positively correlated with feelings of depression and negatively correlated with well-being. Results supported this hypothesis and found that guilt and resilience mediated this relationship. These results further solidify previous research that established a relationship between moral discrepancies and mental illness and suggests that resilience is a protective factor, while guilt is a risk factor for depression.
Keywords: Self-discrepancy Theory, morality, depression, well-being, resilience