Remind Me Who I Am: Social Interaction Strategies for Maintaining the Threatened Self-Concept

Erica B. Slotter*, Wendi L Gardner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

After failure, individuals frequently turn to others for support. The current research examined the process through which individuals utilize interpersonal relationships to stabilize threatened self-views. We may seek support to reassure us with warmth and acceptance after a self-threat, or to provide support for threatened self-knowledge. We proposed that although both types of support are likely to repair the affective consequences of a self-threat, only interacting with others who can provide evidence from the individuals’ past that reconfirms a threatened self-aspect would help stabilize the self-concept. Two studies demonstrated that, for individuals who have suffered a self-threat, receiving specific evidentiary support for the threatened self-aspect was more effective at restoring confidence in both the specific self-aspect and at recovering self-concept clarity than was receiving emotional support, whether the interaction was imagined (Study 1), or offered in person (Study 2) after the threat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1148-1161
Number of pages14
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume40
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Keywords

  • self-concept clarity
  • self-threat
  • social interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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