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Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. Psychology

Former Title: Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. Seria 16. Psychology. Education

Publisher: Saint Petersburg University

ISSN (printed version): 2658-3607

ISSN (online): 2658-6010


Published since 2011

4 issues per year

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Open Access Journal


The Role of Self-Esteem in Response to Self-Threat 60


Molchanova O.N.
PhD in Psychology, Assistant professor at the Psychology faculty, the State University "Higher School of Economics", Moscow, Russia

Sokolova T.Yu.
PhD in Psychology, Psychologist

This article aimed at analytic examination of how people with different self-esteem types re- act to receiving threatening information about the self. We modified K.Mruk’s “Self-esteem meaning matrix” model, which gave an understanding of self-esteem created by the interac- tion of self-worthiness and self-efficacy. According to this modified model, there are five types of self-esteem: positive, medium, negativistic, self-centered and overachieving. Self-threat was modelling by false negative feedback from participants of communication. The study included 231 students (middle age — 20.5 years): 157 respondents in the experimental group (64 male, 92 women), 74 respondents (13 male, 61 women) in the control group. Results of research find specifics of personal reaction depending on self-esteem type: there were differences in cognitive, emotional and evaluative reactions in response to receiving negative feedback. The protective reactions used by respondents in response to the threat of their self-worth are revealed. The most vulnerable to negative feedback were those with positive self-esteem: they show the strongest negative emotional reaction and involve a greater number of protective reactions, including denial, depreciation, discrediting the source of feedback, focusing on their positive characteristics. However, these compensatory reactions do not work in full, and their self-esteem is reduced. Respondents with negativistic self-esteem react differently at the emotional and cognitive levels: they do not want negative feedback, but believe it. Their reactions indicate the “fragility” of this type of self-esteem. Individuals with medium and protective types of self-esteem were more resistant to negative feedback. The response to the situation of self-threat by respondents with different types of self-esteem is explained on the basis of the resource model and self-certification model.

Keywords: self-esteem, self-worth, self-efficacy, positive self-esteem, medium self-esteem, negativistic self-esteem, self-centered self-esteem, overachieving self-esteem, self-threat, negative feedback

Column: Empirical and Experimental Research


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