The Looking-Glass Self in Family Context: A Social Relations Analysis

William L. Cook, Emily M. Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Family relationships provide the most valid context for studying a key hypothesis of Symbolic Interaction Theory (SIT), that how one is perceived by significant others determines one's view of the self (C.H. Cooley, 1902). Implicit in this hypothesis is another hypothesis, that people are accurate in perceiving how they are perceived by others. This study investigated the accuracy of young people's perceptions of how they are viewed by their parents (i.e., metaperception accuracy). Social relations analysis (D.A. Kenny & L. La Voie, 1984) was applied to data from 51 2-parent, 2-child families. College students were accurate in their metaperceptions of father but only for perceived assertiveness. Adolescents demonstrated generalized accuracy in their metaperceptions of cooperation. The results partially support a modified version of SIT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-309
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1998


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