Does Self-Threat Promote Social Connection? The Role of Self-Esteem and Contingencies of Self-Worth

Lora E. Park*, Jon K. Maner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-217
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume96
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2009

Keywords

  • appearance
  • contingencies of self-worth
  • interpersonal
  • motivation
  • threat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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