The moderating role of extrinsic contingency focus on reactions to threat
Article first published online: 18 MAR 2009
Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
European Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 40, Issue 2, pages 300–320, March 2010
How to Cite
Williams, T., Schimel, J., Hayes, J. and Martens, A. (2010), The moderating role of extrinsic contingency focus on reactions to threat. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 40: 300–320. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.624
- Issue published online: 12 FEB 2010
- Article first published online: 18 MAR 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 1 FEB 2009
- Manuscript Received: 9 APR 2007
- SSHRC Standard Research. Grant Number: #G124130386
Over the last decade a number of theorists have advanced a multifaceted conceptualization of self-esteem. Central to this idea is the notion that self-esteem is less secure and more defensive when individuals are more focused on extrinsic contingencies. To test the hypothesis that individuals with high dispositional levels of extrinsic contingency focus (ECF) are insecure and respond defensively to threat, we developed a measure of ECF and conducted two validation studies. Study 1 showed that the extrinsic contingency focus scale (ECFS) was positively correlated with measures of defensiveness and was negatively correlated with measures of security and well-being. Study 2 showed that people with a high (vs. low) focus on extrinsic contingencies were more likely to defensively distance from a socially insensitive person following negative feedback about their own social sensitivity. Study 3 showed that when mortality (vs. dental pain) was salient, high ECF individuals responded more defensively toward a worldview violator than low ECF individuals. Discussion is focused on theoretical issues related to ECF and defensiveness. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.