Title

No Shades of Gray: Splitting and Self-Esteem Instability

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-1-2008

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Splitting refers to the tendency to form cognitive representations of the self and others that are either all-good or all-bail. Previous research and theory concerning splitting has proposed that reliance on this defense mechanism should be associated with unstable self-esteem. The present research examined this hypothesis by measuring the tendency of 183 participants to engage in splitting and then tracking their state self-esteem each evening for seven consecutive days. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses found that the proposed association between splitting of the self image and self-esteem instability only emerged among individuals with relatively high levels of self-esteem. For individuals with low levels of self-esteem, their self-esteem was unstable regardless of whether they relied on splitting or not. The implications of splitting for the stability of self-esteem are discussed. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Personality and Individual Differences

Volume

45

Issue

2

First Page

139

Last Page

145