Arnold Buss offers the reader an in-depth look at the developmental aspects of self. In this comprehensive text, Buss uses multiple approaches (cultural, social psychological, developmental, psychoanalytical, personality, and evolutionary) to help the reader better understand the elements of self (e.g., body image, identity, self-consciousness, shyness, guilt, shame, self-discourse, etc.).
As he proceeds through each topic, Buss utilizes recurrent themes, arranged as dichotomies that offer a conceptual framework helping the reader see how the various aspects of the self are related. Compare-and-contrast tables in each chapter help students understand different approaches to the self in relation to one another. Chapter-opening outlines, chapter summaries, and chapter glossaries (along with a combined glossary at the end of the book) serve as helpful study aids.