To help offer the best experience possible, Guilford uses cookies on its site. By browsing here, you acknowledge our terms of use. For more information, see our Cookie Policy.
You can also read Guilford's Privacy Policy.

×
Skip to main content

        All Access Pass: All Guilford journals, $49.95 for 30 days | Click on any article to purchase

Contingent Self-Esteem and Anticipated Reactions to Interpersonal Rejection and Achievement Failure

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1521/jscp.2011.30.10.1069

The anticipated reactivity of individuals with contingent and noncontingent forms of high self-esteem to imagined self-esteem threats were compared across two studies using undergraduate participants. The self-esteem threat manipulation in Study 1 (N = 302) involved asking participants to predict their reactions to discovering that their romantic partner was having a sexual affair, whereas the manipulation in Study 2 (N = 392) asked participants to consider how they would respond if they failed to get a promotion that they really wanted at work. Participants were asked to anticipate their reactions to these scenarios in terms of state self-esteem, positive affect, negative affect, and anger. Our results revealed a tendency for individuals with contingent high self-esteem to predict they would have stronger reactions to these scenarios than individuals with noncontingent high self-esteem. The pattern of these findings suggests that the protective properties of high self-esteem may be largely limited to individuals who are relatively secure about their feelings of self-worth.