Counteracting the consequences of defensive self-esteem with self-affirmation
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v, 51 pages
DepartmentTowson University. Department of Psychology
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Individuals with defensive self-esteem are characterized as having high explicit levels of self-esteem but low implicit levels of self-esteem. They tend to rely on self-enhancement more heavily for promoting positive self-views than do individuals with secure HSE, who in contrast exhibit high levels of both explicit and implicit self-esteem. The overreliance on self-enhancement observed among defensive HSEs suggests that these individuals engage in greater use of defensive processes, which can lead to maladaptive functioning. In the current study I suggest that inducing self-affirmation among defensive HSEs can serve as an especially beneficial tool to reduce their use of defensive processes. In contrast, inducing self-affirmation among secure HSEs was expected to show no additional effects in their use of defensive processes, assuming that they engage in self-affirmation in their everyday lives to regulate their level of self-esteem. However, this hypothesis was not supported by the current study.