Being accepted for who we are: Evidence that social validation of the intrinsic self reduces general defensiveness

Jeff Schimel, Jamie Arndt, Tom Pyszczynski, Jeff L Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

89 Scopus citations

Abstract

Three studies examined the possibility that being liked intrinsically by others - for who one is - reduces self-esteem defense, whereas being liked for what one has achieved does not. All 3 studies contrasted the effects on self-esteem defense of liking based on intrinsic or achievement-related aspects of self. Study 1 showed that thoughts of being liked intrinsically reduced defensive bias toward downward social comparison. Study 2 demonstrated that being liked for intrinsic aspects of self reduced participants' tendency to defensively distance themselves from a negatively portrayed other. Study 3 revealed that being liked for intrinsic aspects of self encouraged a preference for upward over downward counterfactuals for a negative event. In all 3 studies, similar reductions in defensiveness were not found when liking was based on achievements. Discussion focuses on implications for understanding the functional value of different bases of self-worth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-52
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume80
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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