Six studies examined the social motivations of people with high self-esteem (HSE) and low self-esteem (LSE) following a threat to a domain of contingent self-worth. Whether people desired social contact following self-threat depended on an interaction between an individual's trait self-esteem and contingencies of self-worth. HSE participants who strongly based self-worth on appearance sought to connect with close others following a threat to their physical attractiveness. LSE participants who staked self-worth on appearance wanted to avoid social contact and, instead, preferred a less interpersonally risky way of coping with self-threat (wanting to enhance their physical attractiveness). Implications for theories of self-esteem, motivation, and interpersonal processes are discussed.
- contingencies of self-worth
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science