The Hide and Seek Model of Authenticity




Kohler, Janelle

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



With previous models of authenticity (Kernis & Goldman, 2006; Wood et al., 2008), self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985), and self-verification theory (Swann Jr. & Buhrmester, 2012) as a foundation, a new model of authenticity was put forth: The Hide and Seek Model of Authenticity. This model focused on behaviors that are recognized as indicating the experience of inauthenticity, and thus, served as a basis for better assessing self-perceptions of authenticity, and variability in state-laden expressions of authenticity across contexts and the experience of threat. This model posited that insecurity functions as the fundamental factor leading to the experience and expression of inauthenticity. It is argued that one attempts to conceal vulnerabilities (hiding), or compensate for vulnerabilities via self-presentational strategies (seeking). The aim of Study 1 was to create the Hide and Seek behavioral measure. 201 participants wrote about times in which they felt insecure and secure and answered 60 items for each time. A multilevel EFA indicated a 21-item, 5-factor structure where hiding included concealing self-aspects/lack of self-disclosure and avoiding situations/people and seeking included gossiping/aggressiveness, seeking power/self-promotion, and seeking reassurance/pleasing others. Study 2 assessed the mediational roles of hiding and seeking between threats to basic psychological needs (i.e., autonomy, competence, or relatedness) and authenticity. 369 participants wrote about times in which their psychological needs were met and thwarted. A multilevel analysis indicated that thwarted basic psychology needs were all negatively associated with authenticity and there was one significant indirect effect – thwarted relatedness increased concealing/lack of self-disclosure, and in turn, decreased authenticity.


The author has granted permission for their work to be available to the general public.


Authenticity, Concealment, Scale development, Self-determination theory, Self-promotion