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Self-esteem and self-acceptance: an examination into their relationship and their effect on psychological health


  • D. L. MACINNES phd msc bsc(hons) rmn

    1. Reader in Mental Health Centre for Health and Social Care Research, Faculty of Health, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, Kent, UK
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D. L. MacInnes
Centre for Health and Social Care
Faculty of Health
Canterbury Christ Church
Kent CT1 1QU


Nurses are increasingly using cognitive behaviour therapy as an intervention for psychological problems attached to a variety of clinical conditions. Developing both self-acceptance and self-esteem have been identified as ways to enhance cognitive interventions. However, there are disagreements about the relationship between self-esteem and self-acceptance and their influence on psychological health. The study examined the relationship between these concepts and also the association between the concepts and psychological health. Fifty-eight participants with a diagnosis of severe and enduring mental health problems were assessed recording levels of self-esteem, self-acceptance, depression, anxiety and psychological well-being. The results revealed that, in comparison with the general population, the sample were more likely to have lower self-acceptance and self-esteem, and higher levels of anxiety, depression and psychological ill health. The concepts of self-esteem and self-acceptance were found to be similar but not synonymous. Self-esteem was more closely associated with affect, with higher levels of self-esteem being indicative of lower levels of depression. Self-acceptance appeared to be more closely associated with general psychological well-being and to be more helpful when undertaking clinical work for general psychological problems.