Never Let Them See You Cry: Self-Presentation as a Moderator of the Relationship Between Exclusion and Self-Esteem

Michael Jason Bernstein, Heather M. Claypool, Steven G. Young, Taylor Tuscherer, Donald F. Sacco, Christina M. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

A debate exists concerning whether exclusion harms self-esteem. We hypothesized that social exclusion does harm self-esteem, but that this effect is evident only when self-presentational concerns to "appear fine" are minimal or people are unable to alter their report of self-esteem. In the first three studies, participants' explicit and implicit self-esteem were measured following an exclusion or comparison condition where self-presentational pressures were likely high. Because respondents can easily control their reports on explicit measures, but not on implicit ones, we hypothesized that exclusion would result in lower self-esteem only when implicit measures were used. Results confirmed this hypothesis. In the final study, self-presentational concerns were directly manipulated. When self-presentational concerns were high, only implicit self-esteem was lowered by exclusion. But, when such concerns were low, this impact on self-esteem was seen on implicit and explicit measures. Implications for the sociometer hypothesis and the recent self-esteem debate are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1293-1305
Number of pages13
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume39
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology

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