Send to

Choose Destination
J Pers Soc Psychol. 1990 Sep;59(3):538-49.

Self-esteem and clarity of the self-concept.

Author information

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


This article examines the association between evaluative and knowledge components of the self. Four studies tested the hypothesis that the self-concepts of low-self-esteem (LSE) people are characterized by less clarity or certainty than those of high-self-esteem (HSE) people. LSE Ss exhibited less extremity and self-reported confidence when rating themselves on bipolar trait adjectives (Study 1), less temporal stability in their trait ratings over a 2-month interval (Study 2), less congruence between their self-concepts and their subsequent perceptions of situation-specific behavior and memory for prior behavior (Study 3), and less internal consistency, lower self-rated confidence, and longer reaction times when making me/not me responses to pairs of opposite traits (Study 4). Alternative accounts of the results and the implications of self-concept clarity for understanding the pervasive impact of self-esteem on behavior are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Psychological Association
Loading ...
Support Center