Self-esteem is not always consistent over time, but chronic low self-esteem can be maladaptive, although results are variable and cultural factors come into play. Measures include self-reports, implicit measures and having participants construct photo-autobiographies. Attempts to inflate low self-esteem artificially are counter-productive, and unrealistically high self-esteem (narcissism) can be maladaptive. Cultural factors, particularly excessive individualism, can engender narcissism in the individual and in society.
The dark side of high self-esteem
- self-esteem: how much people value themselves - does not imply accuracy.
- narcissism: an excessive self-absorption, a sense of entitlement for the rewards that life brings, and often a willingness to exploit others.
- Commodified self-concept: in which one defines oneself in terms of wearing the right clothes, driving the right car, using the right cosmetics.
- Sanction for selfishness: a message that we should be most concerned about ourselves rather than others or our society.
- response bias
- content analysis
Consequences of low self-esteem