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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1993 Jun;64(6):885-96.

Self-image resilience and dissonance: the role of affirmational resources.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Stanford University, California 94305-2130.


It was predicted that high self-esteem Ss (HSEs) would rationalize an esteem-threatening decision less than low self-esteem Ss (LSEs), because HSEs presumably had more favorable self-concepts with which to affirm, and thus repair, their overall sense of self-integrity. This prediction was supported in 2 experiments within the "free-choice" dissonance paradigm--one that manipulated self-esteem through personality feedback and the other that varied it through selection of HSEs and LSEs, but only when Ss were made to focus on their self-concepts. A 3rd experiment countered an alternative explanation of the results in terms of mood effects that may have accompanied the experimental manipulations. The results were discussed in terms of the following: (a) their support for a resources theory of individual differences in resilience to self-image threats--an extension of self-affirmation theory, (b) their implications for self-esteem functioning, and (c) their implications for the continuing debate over self-enhancement versus self-consistency motivation.

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