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Blissfully Blind or Painfully Aware? Exploring the Beliefs People With Interpersonal Problems Have About Their Reputation

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Journal of Personality

Published online on


Objective Problematic interpersonal behavior might stem from and be maintained by the beliefs people have about how others see them (i.e., metaperceptions). The current study tested whether people with interpersonal problems formed more or less accurate metaperceptions about their personality (meta‐accuracy), whether they thought others saw them in more or less positive ways (positivity), and whether they underestimated or overestimated how much others saw them as they saw themselves (transparency). Method Participants (NTime1 = 189; NTime2 = 175; Mage = 19.78; 36% male) completed a measure of interpersonal problems and provided personality judgments and metaperceptions for a group of peers after a first impression and after 4 months of acquaintanceship. Results Generalized distress was associated with less positive metaperceptions at both times and with higher meta‐accuracy after 4 months. Dominance problems were not associated with meta‐accuracy, positivity, or transparency after a first impression, but dominance was linked to lower meta‐accuracy and lower positivity after 4 months. Affiliation problems were associated with higher meta‐accuracy after a first impression and with higher positivity and transparency at both times. Conclusions Metaperceptions were linked to interpersonal problems, and these expectations might partially explain some maladaptive patterns of behavior.