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Striving for self-esteem: Conceptualizations and role in burnout
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. (Arbets- och Organisationspsykologi)
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

When self-esteem is dependent on competence individuals invest a great deal of effort in their accomplishments in order to validate themselves. The aim of the present thesis was to develop a theoretically sound and valid concept and measure of contingent self-esteem dependent on competence, and examine its vulnerable implications and role in burnout. In Study I a concept and measure of contingent self-esteem dependent on competence, termed competence-based self-esteem (CBSE), was developed. Confirmatory factor analyses showed its distinctiveness from other sources of self-esteem and revealed two dimensions comprising behaviors referring to: i) Self-esteem conditional upon competence and ii) Frustrated self-critical strivings. The new scale showed high reliability and gained both convergent and discriminative validity through different methods in different samples. Study II set out to experimentally test the vulnerable implications of CBSE in a performance situation. The results showed that high, as compared to low, scorers on the scale exhibited stronger physiological reactivity and momentary exertion coupled with frustrated mood. Study III focused on the role of self-esteem contingent on competence in the burnout process and its association with work- and private-life stressors over time in working women and men. The analyses showed that contingent self-esteem was a predictor of burnout. In addition, women scored higher on both contingent self-esteem and burnout and reported higher general life stress than did men, whereas men showed stronger associations between work stressors and burnout. The results of the three studies suggest that contingent self-esteem, where outcomes of one’s acts and performance serve to compensate an impoverished basic self-worth, facilitates the understanding of stress-related vulnerability and ill-health.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University , 2011. , 74 p.
Keyword [en]
self-esteem, contingent self-esteem, burnout, stressors, gender, stress, work, competence, performance
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-55643ISBN: 978-91-7447-265-3OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-55643DiVA: diva2:406035
Public defence
2011-05-13, David Magnussonsalen (U31), hus 8, Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: In press. Paper 3: In press.Available from: 2011-04-19 Created: 2011-03-23 Last updated: 2011-05-24Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Development and Validation of Two Measures of Contingent Self-Esteem
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Development and Validation of Two Measures of Contingent Self-Esteem
2007 (English)In: Individual Differences Research, ISSN 1541-745X, Vol. 5, no 4, 300-328 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Defining contingent self-esteem (SE) as a structure arising from low basic SE and different self-validation needs, Competence based SE and Relation based SE scales were developed and validated in two independent samples (N = 215, N = 116). Confirmatory factor analyses conducted on 27 items of 62 original contingent SE items verified competence and relationships as distinct means of self validation in both samples. Further confirmatory analyses revealed two dimensions of Competence based SE: i) SE conditional upon competence and ii) frustrated self critical strivings, and three dimensions of Relation based SE: i) SE conditional upon love, ii) fear of rejection, and iii) compliance. The Competence based SE scale correlated positively with perfectionism and “toxic” achieving, and the Relationbased SE scale with affiliation and dependency needs. Further validity is provided by the constructs’ relation to the basic and earning SE model and by semantic differential tests of meanings attached to the words “work” and “relationships”. The scales provide internally consistent and valid measures of contingent SE useful for researchers and applied professionals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
US: IDR Publishing, 2007
Keyword
self-esteem, needs assessment, factor analysis, correlation, need, psychology
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-55398 (URN)
Note
This research was supported by grants from the Swedish Research Council (Grant no. 421-2004-1260) to Maarit Johnson and from Stiftelsen Lars Hiertas Minne to Victoria Blom. The authors thank Geoffrey Patching for his valuable comments concerning various aspects of this work.Available from: 2011-03-14 Created: 2011-03-13 Last updated: 2011-03-24Bibliographically approved
2. Physiological and behavioral reactivity when one's self-worth is staked on competence
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Physiological and behavioral reactivity when one's self-worth is staked on competence
2011 (English)In: Individual Differences Research, ISSN 1541-745X, Vol. 9, 138-152 p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

Contingent self-esteem, where one‟s self-value is staked on success and competence, is a particularly vulnerable disposition with impact on well-being. This study compared physiological and behavioral reactivity between individuals self-rated as high and low in competence based self-esteem (N = 61), in a performance situation. To assess reactivity we used a traditional overt measure of blood pressure and a novel, covert, measure of response force. The results show that high scorers in competence based self-esteem exhibited an overall pattern of stronger reactivity as indicated by higher blood pressure and response force as compared to low scorers.

Keyword
contingent self-esteem, competence, reactivity, blood pressure, response force
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-55397 (URN)
Available from: 2011-03-14 Created: 2011-03-13 Last updated: 2012-02-01Bibliographically approved
3. Contingent self-esteem, stressors and burnout in working women and men
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Contingent self-esteem, stressors and burnout in working women and men
2012 (English)In: Work: A journal of Prevention, Assesment and rehabilitation, ISSN 1051-9815, E-ISSN 1875-9270, Vol. 43, no 2, 123-131 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: A high work involvement is considered central in the burnout process. Yet, research investigating how high work involvement and psychosocial stressors relate to burnout is scarce. High involvement in terms of performance-based self-esteem (PBSE) refers to individuals’ strivings to validate self-worth by achievements, a disposition linked to poor health. The aim of the present study was to examine longitudinally PBSE in relation to burnout while also taking into account work- and private life stressors. Participants: The sample consisted of 2121 working women and men. Methods: Main- and mediation effects were investigated using hierarchical regression analysis. Results: The results showed performance-based self-esteem mediated partially between the stressors and burnout. Performance-based self-esteem was the strongest predictor of burnout over time, followed by private life stressors. Women experienced more work stress than did men. Men had stronger associations between work stressors and burnout, while women had stronger associations between performance-based self-esteem and burnout. Conclusions: Individual characteristics along with both private life and work stressors are important predictors of burnout. Factors associated with burnout differ somewhat between women and men.

Keyword
burnout, gender, mediation, performance-based self-esteem
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-55396 (URN)10.3233/WOR-2012-1366 (DOI)000309214100003 ()
Available from: 2011-03-14 Created: 2011-03-13 Last updated: 2012-11-05Bibliographically approved

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