The relationship between contingent self-esteem and trait self-esteem

Youngjin Kang1
1Department of Psychology, New Mexico State University, United States
Cite this article:  Kang, Y. (2019). The relationship between contingent self-esteem and trait self-esteem. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 47, e7575.

Volume 47 Issue 2 | e7575 | Published: February 2019 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.7575

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Psychology researchers have suggested that in addition to its level, self-esteem is also manifested by other psychological components. One such component is contingency, which is the degree to which one’s feeling of self-worth is influenced by evaluative standards. I investigated how contingent self-esteem is related to trait self-esteem using Paradise and Kernis’ Contingent Self-Esteem Scale and Rosenberg’s (trait) Self-Esteem Scale. Data collected from classroom (N = 898) and Internet (N = 655) groups rendered a significant and consistent negative relationship between contingent and trait self-esteem. In addition, higher contingent self-esteem individuals tend to have a greater variability with their trait self-esteem levels; as individuals age, their contingent self-esteem tends to decrease; psychological sensitivity to evaluations is the contingent component most strongly associated with the level of self-esteem; and some evaluative resources, such as appearance, performance, and relationship, can be used by some individuals to boost their self-esteem. Future researchers should consider that the contingency of self-esteem is the psychological component not only related to the stability of self-esteem but also to the level of self-esteem.

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