The heroic self: Conceptualization, measurement, and role in distress Academic Article uri icon


  • Herein I identify a novel cognitive/existential-based trait that embodies the individual's perception of his/her self as a hero (HERS). In line with Blatt's and Beck's theories and social constructivist thought, HERS is conceptualized as consisting of three dimensions: self-as-conqueror, self-as-savior, and heroic identification. Associated not only with a sense of agency but also with psychopathology, it reflects the risk-resilience dialectic. A 9-item measure—the Shahar Heroic Self Scale (SHERS)—was developed and administered to 661 young Israeli adults. The results of the confirmatory factor analyses were consistent with the theorized factor structure, an adequate internal consistency was demonstrated for the three dimensions. Sub-sample analyses utilizing available variables confirmed a link between SHERS and efficacy and indicated a prospective—albeit complex—pattern of implication in psychopathology. Ramifications, limitations, and future directions are discussed.

publication date

  • January 1, 2013