The subjective–agentic personality sector (SAPS): Introduction to the special issue on self, identity, and psychopathology

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3 Scopus citations


This special issue is predicated upon the premise that there exists a subjective–agentic personality sector (SAPS) that is crucially relevant to the understanding and treatment of psychopathology. SAPS is often overlooked by “trait” models in personality psychology. It is comprised of “hot” cognitions about one's self and identity as they unfold throughout the life span and are brought to bear on interpersonal relationships. There are four ways in which SAPS may be involved in psychopathology: (a) inherently, as a component of psychiatric disorders, (b) as a passive vulnerability dimension, namely by interacting with life stress, (c) as an active vulnerability dimension, that is, by propelling external situations that culminate in psychopathology, and (d) by constituting a central consequent of psychopathology (i.e., the scarring pattern, see below). In this Journal of Personality special issue, experts in personality and psychopathology demonstrate the centrality of SAPS in unipolar depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar spectrum disorder, eating disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, complex trauma and borderline personality disorder, social anxiety disorder, suicidality in the context of mood disorders, and recovery from schizophrenia. A commentary by Dan McAdams, a leader in the study of self and identity, concludes this special issue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-13
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • identity
  • psychopathology
  • self
  • subjective–agentic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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