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Three types of self-esteem: Its characteristic differences of contingency and contentment of sources of self-esteem

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Abstract

Previous research and theory (Crocker & Wolfe, 2001; Kernis, 2003) suggests that adaptive self-esteem stems from just being oneself, and is characterized by a sense of authenticity (SOA). Maladaptive self-esteem is derived from meeting external standards and social comparisons, and is characterized by a sense of superiority (SOS). Thus, the qualitative difference between SOA and SOS depends on the sources of self-esteem. We hypothesized that SOA is related to internal sources of self-esteem, while SOS is related to external sources. In order to control for covariance, global self-esteem was also examined in a questionnaire survey of self-esteem that was administered to 273 university students. The results of a partial correlation analysis showed that SOA was positively correlated with internal sources of self-esteem such as committed activities and efforts for self-development. In contrast, SOS was positively correlated with external sources of self-esteem such as approval from others and appearance. These results mainly support our hypotheses.

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