Can we level the playing field? The effects of ease of denial on psychological reactions to threat for people with high and low self-esteem
AdvisorGreenberg, Jeff L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractA good deal of research suggests that high self-esteem individuals cope with failure by engaging in self-serving biases that allow them to deny the negative implications of failure. If high self-esteem individuals cope successfully with failure through a process of denial, then making it easier for low self-esteem individuals to deny negative feedback might allow them to cope successfully with failure too. To test this notion, high and low self-esteem participants took a test of creativity and were given feedback that they were either creative or non-creative. Following this procedure, the ease of denial of the feedback was manipulated by telling the participants that the creativity test was either highly valid or invalid. Participants' evaluations of the test, positive and negative mood, and self-ratings on creativity were then assessed. It was expected that high self-esteem participants would generally make more self-serving evaluations of the test than low self-esteem individuals, and as a result, experience more pleasant affect and view themselves more positively on creativity than low self-esteem individuals following negative feedback. However, it was also expected that if the negative feedback was easy to deny, low self-esteem individuals would be just as self-serving as high self-esteem individuals in their evaluations of the test and experience a similar increase in positive mood, and rate themselves higher on creativity. The results did not support these predictions. Both high and low self-esteem individuals made self-serving evaluations of the test regardless of the ease of denial manipulation. Limitations of the current research and directions for future research are discussed.
Degree ProgramGraduate College