Construal levels and the reactivity of state self-esteem to positive and negative experiences
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] The reactivity of state self-esteem has been linked to a number of important psychological outcomes, ranging from general well-being to psychological dysfunction. The present research aimed to identify a potential cause of state self-esteem reactivity by exploring how construal levels influence the extent to which state self-esteem reacts to positive and negative experiences. It was hypothesized that focusing on abstract, higher order aspects of social information would mitigate the effects of evaluative performance feedback on state self-esteem. The results of two studies generally supported this hypothesis. Participants induced to adopt an abstract orientation to information processing did not differ in state self-esteem after receiving positive, negative, or no performance feedback. Participants induced to adopt a concrete mindset, in contrast, experienced lower levels of state self-esteem following negative performance feedback. Study 3 failed to identify a mechanism underlying these effects, finding no effects of construal level and performance feedback on the cognitive accessibility of feedback-relevant information. The significance of these findings for understanding fluctuations in contextual self-esteem and psychological functioning are discussed.
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