What constitutes vulnerable self-esteem? Comparing the prospective effects of low, unstable, and contingent self-esteem on depressive symptoms

Sowislo, Julia Friederike; Orth, Ulrich; Meier, Laurenz L. (2014). What constitutes vulnerable self-esteem? Comparing the prospective effects of low, unstable, and contingent self-esteem on depressive symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 123(4), pp. 737-753. American Psychological Association 10.1037/a0037770

[img] Text
Sowislo_et_al_2014_JAP.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (574kB) | Request a copy
[img]
Preview
Text
Sowislo et al 2014 JAP.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (823kB) | Preview

A growing body of longitudinal studies suggests that low self-esteem is a risk factor for depression. However, it is unclear whether other characteristics of self-esteem, besides its level, explain incremental or even greater variance in subsequent depression. We examined the prospective effects of self-esteem level, instability (i.e., the degree of variability in self-esteem across short periods), and contingency (i.e., the degree to which self-esteem fluctuates in response to self-relevant events) on depressive symptoms in 1 overarching model, using data from 2 longitudinal studies. In Study 1, 372 adults were assessed at 2 waves over 6 months, including 40 daily diary assessments at Wave 1. In Study 2, 235 young adults were assessed at 2 waves over 6 weeks, including about 6 daily diary assessments at each wave. Self-esteem contingency was measured by self-report and by a statistical index based on the diary data (capturing event-related fluctuations in self-esteem). In both studies self-esteem level, but not self-esteem contingency, predicted subsequent depressive symptoms. Self-esteem instability predicted subsequent depressive symptoms in Study 2 only, with a smaller effect size than self-esteem level. Also, level, instability, and contingency of self-esteem did not interact in the prediction of depressive symptoms. Moreover, the effect of self-esteem level held when controlling for neuroticism and for all other Big Five personality traits. Thus, the findings provide converging evidence for a vulnerability effect of self-esteem level, tentative evidence for a smaller vulnerability effect of self-esteem instability, and no evidence for a vulnerability effect of self-esteem contingency.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Developmental Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Orth, Ulrich

Subjects:

100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology

ISSN:

0021-843X

Publisher:

American Psychological Association

Language:

English

Submitter:

Ulrich Orth

Date Deposited:

24 Dec 2014 09:52

Last Modified:

04 Jan 2016 09:04

Publisher DOI:

10.1037/a0037770

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.61225

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/61225

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback