This research was supported by grants R01MH058869 from the National Institute of Mental Health to JC and 1F32DA030017-01 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to SJM. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Sweets, Sex, or Self-Esteem? Comparing the Value of Self-Esteem Boosts With Other Pleasant Rewards
Article first published online: 26 SEP 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Personality © 2011, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Personality
Volume 79, Issue 5, pages 993–1012, October 2011
How to Cite
Bushman, B. J., Moeller, S. J. and Crocker, J. (2011), Sweets, Sex, or Self-Esteem? Comparing the Value of Self-Esteem Boosts With Other Pleasant Rewards. Journal of Personality, 79: 993–1012. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2011.00712.x
- Issue published online: 26 SEP 2011
- Article first published online: 26 SEP 2011
Abstract Many people ascribe great value to self-esteem, but how much value? Do people value self-esteem more than other pleasant activities, such as eating sweets and having sex? Two studies of college students (Study 1: N=130; Study 2: N=152) showed that people valued boosts to their self-esteem more than they valued eating a favorite food and engaging in a favorite sexual activity. Study 2 also showed that people valued self-esteem more than they valued drinking alcohol, receiving a paycheck, and seeing a best friend. Both studies found that people who highly valued self-esteem engaged in laboratory tasks to boost their self-esteem. Finally, personality variables interacted with these value ratings. Entitled people thought they were more deserving of all pleasant rewards, even though they did not like them all that much (both studies), and people who highly value self-esteem pursued potentially maladaptive self-image goals, presumably to elevate their self-esteem (Study 2).