Date of Award

Summer 8-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Dr. Virgi Zeigler-Hill

Committee Chair Department

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Dr. Christopher Barry

Committee Member 2 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Dr. Bradley Green

Committee Member 3 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 4

Dr. Alen Hajnal

Committee Member 4 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 5

Dr. David Marcus

Committee Member 5 Department

Psychology

Abstract

The present study tested the prediction that individuals with fragile high selfesteem are engaging in impression management when they claim to possess highly positive feelings of self-worth. Phase One participants (N = 449) completed internetbased measures of self-esteem level and self-esteem fragility under standard conditions. Phase Two participants (N = 75) completed laboratory-based measures of self-esteem under control or ‘bogus pipeline’ conditions designed to encourage participants to respond more honestly to questionnaires concerning their self-worth. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed partial support for the impression management hypothesis such that individuals with discrepant high self-esteem (i.e., high explicit selfesteem and low implicit self-esteem as measured by the Name-Letter Task) reported lower levels of explicit self-esteem under bogus pipeline conditions. The impression management hypothesis was not supported for an alternate measure of implicit selfesteem (i.e., Implicit Association Test) or for the two other markers of self-esteem fragility included in the study (i.e., contingent self-esteem and self-esteem instability). The discussion will focus on the implications of the present findings for the current conceptualization of fragile high self-esteem.

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