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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2002 Sep;83(3):711-24.

Self-esteem and persistence in the face of failure.

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Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


In 2 studies, the authors examined self-esteem, persistence, and rumination in the face of failure. Study 1 manipulated degree of failure and availability of goal alternatives. When an alternative was available, high self-esteem (HSE) participants persisted more than low self-esteem (LSE) participants after a single failure, but less after repeated failure. When no alternative was available, no self-esteem differences in persistence emerged. LSE participants ruminated more than HSE participants. Study 2 examined persistence and rumination for 10 personal goals across an academic year. HSE participants were better calibrated (higher within-subject correlations between perceived progress and persistence across goals), had higher overall levels of persistence, higher grade point averages, and lower levels of rumination than LSE participants. Although traditional views that emphasize the tenacious persistence of HSE individuals need revision, HSE people appear more effective in self-regulating goal-directed behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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