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Testing multiple means of self-affirmation


Chris Armitage, Centre for Research in Social Attitudes, Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TP, UK (e-mail:


The effects of self-affirmation manipulations are not yet well understood because several different affirmation manipulations have been tested using multiple dependent variables. The aim of the present research was to establish whether global self-feelings and self-esteem, or interpersonal positive feelings are affected by affirming the self. Experiment 1 showed that completing a kindness questionnaire led to adolescent girls reporting more positive interpersonal feelings, but no greater self-feelings or self-esteem than completing an opinions (control) questionnaire. Experiment 2 showed again that self-affirmation did not affect self-esteem, and that there were few differences between writing an essay about a cherished value, writing an essay about kindness, or completing a questionnaire about kindness in boosting positive interpersonal feelings. The findings are discussed in relation to self-affirmation theory and the possible practical implications of self-affirmation for aiding the delivery of social and health messages.

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