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

86 Citations (Scopus)

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

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Ego
self-esteem
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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Being accepted for who we are : Evidence that social validation of the intrinsic self reduces general defensiveness. / Schimel, Jeff; Arndt, Jamie; Pyszczynski, Tom; Greenberg, Jeff L.

In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 80, No. 1, 01.01.2001, p. 35-52.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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