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Abstract

Self-esteem has been found to be related to the certainty with which specific self-conceptions are held. This study tested a number of competing accounts for this relationship, using a more rigorous idiographic approach. Specifically, it was thought that the relationship between self-esteem and self-certainty might be mediated by self-concept clarity, the positivity of specific self-conceptions, and impression management concerns. However, none of these fully mediated the relationship between self-esteem and self-certainty. Participants with higher self-esteem were more certain of their central self-conceptions than were those with lower self-esteem. This was true even though participants were allowed to generate their most relevant and central self-conceptions themselves. Discussion focuses on the role of social information in the possibly direct relationship between self-esteem and self-certainty. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.