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The Costs of Seeking Self–Esteem

The Costs of Seeking Self–Esteem Americans are deeply engaged in the pursuit of self–esteem, attempting to satisfy contingencies or criteria for what makes a person worthwhile. In this article, I examine the costs of this pursuit of self–esteem for the self, in terms of competence, relatedness, and mental health, and for others. I hypothesize that external contingencies of self–worth require validation from others and are unreliable as a basis of self–esteem, and hence are associated with greater costs. Data from a longitudinal study of an ethnically diverse sample of 642 college freshman support the view that contingencies of self–worth shape how students spend their time, and the prediction that external contingencies of self–worth, especially appearance, have high costs for stress, aggression, drug and alcohol use, and symptoms of disordered eating. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Social Issues Wiley

The Costs of Seeking Self–Esteem

Journal of Social Issues , Volume 58 (3) – Jan 1, 2002

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References (38)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
2002 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
ISSN
0022-4537
eISSN
1540-4560
DOI
10.1111/1540-4560.00279
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Americans are deeply engaged in the pursuit of self–esteem, attempting to satisfy contingencies or criteria for what makes a person worthwhile. In this article, I examine the costs of this pursuit of self–esteem for the self, in terms of competence, relatedness, and mental health, and for others. I hypothesize that external contingencies of self–worth require validation from others and are unreliable as a basis of self–esteem, and hence are associated with greater costs. Data from a longitudinal study of an ethnically diverse sample of 642 college freshman support the view that contingencies of self–worth shape how students spend their time, and the prediction that external contingencies of self–worth, especially appearance, have high costs for stress, aggression, drug and alcohol use, and symptoms of disordered eating.

Journal

Journal of Social IssuesWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2002

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