Stability of Self‐Esteem: Assessment, Correlates, and Excuse Making

M. H. Kernis, B. D. Grannemann, L. C. Barclay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations

Abstract

ABSTRACT We examined stability and level of self‐esteem as predictors of excuse making; the extent to which self‐ratings of stability are related to a statistical index of self‐esteem stability; and the relations between stability and certainty of self‐esteem and a variety of other psychological constructs. Regarding excuse making, our findings indicated that for high self‐esteem individuals, instability was related to greater excuse making following success, but not following failure. However, for low self‐esteem individuals, instability was related to greater excuse making following failure, but not following success. Other findings indicated that self‐ratings of stability were only minimally related to a statistical measure of stability based on repeated assessments of self‐esteem obtained in naturalistic contexts. Finally, stability of self‐esteem was not significantly correlated with certainty of self‐esteem. In addition, the pattern of correlations that emerged between certainty and other constructs suggested that uncertainty reflects the phenomenal experience of a tenuous self‐view. On the other hand, stability of self‐esteem appears to reflect the extent to which one's self‐view is malleable, which may not be completely available to conscious awareness. Our discussion focuses on the nature of self‐esteem stability and the roles of stability and level of self‐esteem in reactions to evaluative events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-644
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Personality
Volume60
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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