Self-Esteem Theory

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Within normal populations, high self-esteem is characterized by a general fondness or love for oneself and low self-esteem is characterized by mildly positive or ambivalent feelings toward oneself. In extreme cases, low self-esteem people hate themselves, but this kind of self-loathing occurs in clinical populations, not in normal populations (Baumeister, Tice, & Hutton, 1989). Generally conceptualized as a part of the self-concept, to some self-esteem is one of the most important parts of the self-concept. Indeed, for a period of time, so much attention was given to self-esteem that it seemed to be synonymous with self-concept in literature on the self (Rosenberg 1976, 1979). There is a vast research literature in which the self-concept is…show more content…
As aspects of the self-esteem motive, self-enhancement emphasizes growth, expansion, and increasing one 's self-esteem, while self-maintenance focuses on not losing what one has. The two engender different behavioral strategies. The present state of cognitive dissonance theory is described as the motivational force in present versions of dissonance theory has much more of an ego-defensive character. The theory seems now to be focused on cognitive changes occurring in the service of ego defense, or self-esteem maintenance, rather than in the interest of preserving psychological consistency (Greenwald & Ronis, 1978). In general, persons with low self-esteem are motivated more by self-maintenance than by self-enhancement (Covington & Beery, 1976). Self-awareness theory is motivation to change arises from one 's awareness of an incongruity between one 's idealized self-concept and one 's self-image. The individual 's evaluation of self as less than desirable motivates him or her to improve his/her behavior in order to maintain self-esteem. At first glance, "self-awareness theory" appears to be a cognitive consistency theory; but in fact the self-esteem motive, activated by a negative self-evaluation, is offered as the major impetus for change (Hull & Levy, 1979). Duval & Wicklund emphasize self-focused attention as the initial step…show more content…
Affective models of self-esteem assume that self-esteem develops at an early age and is characterized by two types of feelings. One of these feelings which is call feelings of belonging is rooted in social experiences and the other which is feelings of mastery is somewhat more personal in nature. Belonging is the feeling that one is unconditionally loved and valued, not for any particular quality or reason but simply for who one is. A sense of belonging gives people a secure base in life. It gives them the feeling that no matter what happens, they are valued and respected (Rogers & Dymond, 1954). The connections between the different conceptualizations of self-esteem, however, remain unclear. The research presented here attempts to synthesize the views on self-esteem by focusing on the vital role that self-esteem plays in the process of self-verification within groups. According to identity theory, the self is composed of multiple identities that reflect the various social positions that an individual occupies in the larger social structure. Meanings in an identity reflect an individual’s conception of himself or herself as an occupant of that particular position or “self-in-role” (Stryker 1980). Self-verification occurs when meanings in the social situation match or confirm meanings in an identity. Thus, when individuals enact and verify an identity, they simultaneously produce and reproduce the social structural arrangements that are the original source of those
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