Self-esteem (SE) is a central aspect of mental health. Yet, research investigating the role of SE in forms of psychological distress such as depression, substance abuse, and eating disorders has failed to demonstrate a causal role of low SE in the development of disorders. The PI proposes that in addition to level of SE, the contingencies on which SE I based are critically important to the functioning of SE, vulnerability of SE in the face of stressful events, and vulnerability to psychological distress. The proposed research will be conducted in three phases: In phase 1, five studies will focus on the development of reliable and valid measures of contingencies of SE among college students, and exploring the role of contingencies of SE as prospective predictors of the activities and psychological distress experienced by college freshmen. In phase 2, studies will explore the implications of contingencies of SE for several controversial issues in the SE literature: two studies using a daily report methodology will explore the hypothesis that instability of SE across time depends jointly on an individual's contingencies of SE and the relevance of daily events to those contingencies. Three experiments will explore the hypotheses that defensiveness among high SE individuals is found among those with highly contingent SE, but not those with noncontingent SE; that whether high SE individuals become defensive in the face of threat depends on the relevance of the threat to their particular contingencies of SE, and that people with different contingencies of SE tend to show different types of defensiveness. A correlational study will test the hypothesis that SF is more strongly related to people's objective characteristics if they have highly contingent SE. In phase 3 of the project, four studies will investigate the role of contingencies of SE as vulnerability factors fol low SE among members of stigmatized groups. One study using a daily report methodology will examine whether minority college students' Se fluctuates in concert with the experience of prejudice, and whether this variability in SE is more characteristic of those with highly contingent SE. A second study will use correlational methods to examine whether the association between perceived racial disadvantage with SE depends on contingencies of worth. A third study will examine daily fluctuation in the self-esteem of women who feel overweight or normal weight, as a function of their contingencies of SE and whether the social contexts they are in objectify them. A fourth study will examine daily fluctuations in the SE of gay and lesbian students as a function of their sexual contingencies of worth and whether they are attempting to conceal their orientation from others.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Social and Group Processes Review Committee (SGP)
Program Officer
Morf, Carolyn
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Organized Research Units
Ann Arbor
United States
Zip Code
Jiang, Tao; Canevello, Amy; Gore, Jonathan S et al. (2017) The Association between Compassionate Goals and Relational-Interdependent Self-Construal. Self Identity 16:143-170
Canevello, Amy; Crocker, Jennifer (2017) Compassionate Goals and Affect in Social Situations. Motiv Emot 41:158-179
Hodge, Rebecca D; Garcia 3rd, Alfredo J; Elsen, Gina E et al. (2013) Tbr2 expression in Cajal-Retzius cells and intermediate neuronal progenitors is required for morphogenesis of the dentate gyrus. J Neurosci 33:4165-80
Hodge, Rebecca D; Nelson, Branden R; Kahoud, Robert J et al. (2012) Tbr2 is essential for hippocampal lineage progression from neural stem cells to intermediate progenitors and neurons. J Neurosci 32:6275-87
Yusuf, Dimas; Butland, Stefanie L; Swanson, Magdalena I et al. (2012) The transcription factor encyclopedia. Genome Biol 13:R24
Bushman, Brad J; Moeller, Scott J; Crocker, Jennifer (2011) Sweets, sex, or self-esteem? Comparing the value of self-esteem boosts with other pleasant rewards. J Pers 79:993-1012
Canevello, Amy; Crocker, Jennifer (2011) Changing Relationship Growth Belief: Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Consequences of Compassionate Goals. Pers Relatsh 18:370-391
Crocker, Jennifer (2011) Presidential address: self-image and compassionate goals and construction of the social self: implications for social and personality psychology. Pers Soc Psychol Rev 15:394-407
Canevello, Amy; Crocker, Jennifer (2010) Creating good relationships: responsiveness, relationship quality, and interpersonal goals. J Pers Soc Psychol 99:78-106
Crocker, Jennifer; Canevello, Amy; Breines, Juliana G et al. (2010) Interpersonal goals and change in anxiety and dysphoria in first-semester college students. J Pers Soc Psychol 98:1009-24

Showing the most recent 10 out of 29 publications