Instability of contingencies of self-worth: the role of approach-avoidance temperament

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Garrett Scott Goodwin (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Christopher Holden

Abstract: Self-esteem has multiple facets and individuals can derive their feelings of self-worth from specific domains in life (i.e., competition, approval of others, virtue; Crocker & Wolfe, 2001). Additionally, research on self-esteem suggests that it evolved as a social monitoring system, known as the sociometer (Leary, Tambor, Terdal, & Downs, 1995). The function of the sociometer is to alert individuals to changes in their relational value to others, which in turn influences their self-esteem, and ultimately their behavior (Leary, Tambor, Terdal, & Downs, 1995; Park & Crocker, 2008). A better understanding of the connection between self-evaluations and behavior can be gained by considering how individuals derive their feelings of self-worth. While people are motivated to succeed and avoid failure, this may particularly be true in the domains from which people derive their feelings of self-worth. Additionally, approach-avoidance motivation may further influence the relationship between evaluations in contingent domains, self-esteem, and behavioral outcomes. The present study expands this research by investigating how approach-avoidance motivation affects the relationship between contingencies of self-worth, self-esteem, and behavioral outcomes. Therefore, I hypothesized that individuals with low self-esteem and avoidance motivation would shift away from a domain that receives negative feedback. Those with high self-esteem and approach motivation, however, would increase the value placed on a domain after receiving negative feedback and positive feedback. Results suggest that avoidantly motivated individuals’ self-worth became increasingly contingent upon other’s approval no matter the feedback they received.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
Contingencies, Motivation, Self-esteem
Avoidance (Psychology)
Motivation (Psychology)

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