This research was supported by NSF grant BCS-0451029. We thank Lindsay Connell, Hayley Cutts, Shannon Looney, Ashley Norman, and Whitney Vance for their assistance conducting this research.
Secure Versus Fragile High Self-Esteem as a Predictor of Verbal Defensiveness: Converging Findings Across Three Different Markers
Article first published online: 28 APR 2008
© 2008, Copyright the Authors. Journal compilation © 2008, Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
Journal of Personality
Volume 76, Issue 3, pages 477–512, June 2008
How to Cite
Kernis, M. H., Lakey, C. E. and Heppner, W. L. (2008), Secure Versus Fragile High Self-Esteem as a Predictor of Verbal Defensiveness: Converging Findings Across Three Different Markers. Journal of Personality, 76: 477–512. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2008.00493.x
- Issue published online: 28 APR 2008
- Article first published online: 28 APR 2008
ABSTRACT Why is it that many individuals verbally rationalize and distort self-esteem threatening information? We examined whether such verbal defensiveness (Feldman Barrett, Williams, & Fong, 2002) differs as a function of whether individuals' high self-esteem is secure or fragile. Our findings indicated that individuals whose self-esteem was stable, not contingent, or congruent with high implicit self-esteem exhibited especially low amounts of verbal defensiveness. In contrast, verbal defensiveness was considerably higher when individuals' high self-esteem was unstable, contingent, or paired with discrepant low implicit self-esteem. Discussion centers on why the possession of well-anchored and secure high self-esteem obviates defensiveness directed toward enhancing, maintaining, or bolstering feelings of self-worth.