Political-Economic Values and the Relationship Between Socioeconomic Status and Self-Esteem


concerning this article should be addressed to Ariel Malka, Department of Psychology, Jordan Hall, Building 420, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-2130. E-mail: amalka@psych.stanford.edu.


ABSTRACT Values concerning the distribution of wealth are an important aspect of identity for many Americans, and such values may therefore influence how Americans experience their own socioeconomic status (SES). Based on this proposition, the present research examines political-economic values as a moderator of the relationship between SES and self-esteem. Results supported the hypothesis that there is a stronger relationship between SES and self-esteem among individuals who report relatively inegalitarian values than among individuals who report relatively egalitarian values. This result was replicated using both objective and subjective measures of SES. Implications of the present findings for the study of values and well-being, psychological conflict, and the influence of economic factors on self-esteem are discussed.