Two studies were conducted to assess the proposition that self-esteem serves an anxiety-buffering function. In Study 1, it was hypothesized that raising self-esteem would reduce the need to deny vulnerability to early death. In support of this hypothesis, positive personality feedback eliminated subjects′ tendency to bias emotionality reports to deny vulnerability to a short life expectancy-except when mortality had been made salient to the subjects. Study 2 conceptually replicated this effect by demonstrating that whereas subjects low in trait self-esteem biased emotionality reports to deny vulnerability to a short life expectancy, subjects high in trait self-esteem did not exhibit such a bias. Thus, converging evidence that self-esteem reduces vulnerability-denying defensive distortions was obtained.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science