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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2006 Sep;32(9):1177-87.

When do ego threats lead to self-regulation failure? Negative consequences of defensive high self-esteem.

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University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563, USA.


High self-esteem (HSE) is increasingly recognized as heterogeneous. By measuring subtypes of HSE, the present research reevaluates the finding that HSE individuals show poor self-regulation following ego threat (Baumeister, Heatherton, & Tice, 1993). In Experiment 1, participants with HSE showed poor self-regulation after ego threat only if they also were defensive (high in self-presentation bias). In Experiment 2, two measures--self-presentation bias and implicit self-esteem--were used to subtype HSE individuals as defensive. Both operationalizations of defensive HSE predicted poor self-regulation after ego threat. The results indicate that (a) only defensive HSE individuals are prone to self-regulation failure following ego threat and (b) measures of self-presentation bias and implicit self-esteem can both be used to detect defensiveness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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