What Influences Self-Concept?

Self-concept is primarily influenced by the interactions people have with important people in their lives. According to Oxford Dictionaries, self-concept is constructed from the beliefs one holds about oneself and the responses of others.

According to social identity theory, self-concept is composed of two key parts: personal identity and social identity. Personal identity refers to the personality and unique traits of an individual, whereas social identity refers to a person's identity based on their belonging to groups, such as religious groups, college and work groups. Both of these parts of self-concept influence the ways in which an individual perceives themselves in relation to others in their peer group.

Identifying the self can be challenging, as it is likely to be defined subjectively. Depending on the person being asked, "self" can be described as a physical description, social role, personal trait or an existential statement. Physical descriptions center around the physical appearance of a person. Social role definitions focus on a person's affiliation with a particular social group. Personal trait definitions rely on the unique characteristics of the individual, while existential definitions of self revolve around abstract concepts such as "I am a child of the universe" or "I am a spiritual being."