Why do people need self-esteem? A theoretical and empirical review.

  title={Why do people need self-esteem? A theoretical and empirical review.},
  author={Tom Pyszczynski and Jeff Greenberg and Sheldon Solomon and Jamie Arndt and Jeff Schimel},
  journal={Psychological bulletin},
  volume={130 3},
Terror management theory (TMT; J. Greenberg, T. Pyszczynski, & S. Solomon, 1986) posits that people are motivated to pursue positive self-evaluations because self-esteem provides a buffer against the omnipresent potential for anxiety engendered by the uniquely human awareness of mortality. Empirical evidence relevant to the theory is reviewed showing that high levels of self-esteem reduce anxiety and anxiety-related defensive behavior, reminders of one's mortality increase self-esteem striving… 
Self‐Esteem: A Human Solution to the Problem of Death
Terror management theory (TMT) posits that the need for self-esteem develops out of the socialization process in which children learn to abide by parental and, eventually, societal standards of
Do people need self-esteem? Comment on Pyszczynski et al. (2004).
There is a different paradigm for thinking about death, one in which awareness of one's mortality serves as a precious reminder of the limited time one has to accomplish one's most important goals.
Understanding the Vital Human Quest for Self-Esteem
  • J. Greenberg
  • Psychology
    Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science
  • 2008
Substantial lines of research have shown that self-esteem buffers anxiety and reduces defenses against death and that reminders of mortality increase efforts to defend and bolster self- esteem.
Compensating, Resisting, and Breaking: A Meta-Analytic Examination of Reactions to Self-Esteem Threat
The authors propose that people engage in one of three regulatory responses to threat: compensation, resistance, and breaking and conduct a meta-analysis aimed to examine how trait self-esteem affects the selection and success of selecting each regulatory response.
The rise and fall of self-esteem: A critical review, reconceptualization, and recommendations
Self-esteem, viewed for decades as psychology’s Holy Grail, has proved to be an elusive and surprisingly barren destination. One of the oldest concepts in psychology, self-esteem likely ranks among
Fearing the Uncertain: A Causal Exploration of Self-Esteem, Self-Uncertainty, and Mortality Salience
Fearing the Uncertain: A Causal Exploration of Self-Esteem, Self-Uncertainty, and Mortality Salience by Zachary P. Hohman Claremont Graduate University: 2012 Social identity theory (Tajfel & Turner,
Terror management theory and self-esteem revisited: the roles of implicit and explicit self-esteem in mortality salience effects.
Findings indicate that high implicit self-esteem confers resilience against the psychological threat of death, and therefore the findings provide direct support for a fundamental tenet of terror management theory regarding the anxiety-buffering role of self- esteem.


Efficacy, Agency, and Self-Esteem
A perusal of the self-esteem literature will reveal an abundance of research that focuses on the differences between low and high self-esteem individuals with respect to their perceptions of and
The nature and function of self-esteem: Sociometer theory
Effects of Existential Anxiety and Self-Esteem on the Perception of Others
Previous research has demonstrated that when people are led to think about death they later exhibit more polarized judgments of ingroup and outgroup members. This reaction has been interpreted as an
The Causes and Consequences of a Need for Self-Esteem: A Terror Management Theory
Throughout the past few thousand years, historical accounts, philosophical treatises, and works of fiction and poetry have often depicted humans as having a need to perceive themselves as good, and
Terror management theory and self-esteem: evidence that increased self-esteem reduces mortality salience effects.
The results of Experiments 1 and 2 confirmed that self-esteem would reduce the worldview defense produced by mortality salience, and suggested that the effects of the first 2 experiments may have occurred because high self- esteem facilitates the suppression of death constructs following MS.
The Effects of a Self-Esteem Boost and Mortality Salience on Responses to Boost Relevant and Irrelevant Worldview Threats
Previous research found that raising self-esteem attenuates mortality salience effects on reactions to cultural worldview threats. The present study assessed whether raising self-esteem attenuates
Being accepted for who we are: evidence that social validation of the intrinsic self reduces general defensiveness.
Three studies examined the possibility that being liked intrinsically by others--for who one is--reduces self-esteem defense, whereas being liked for what one has achieved does not, and found similar reductions in defensiveness were not found when liking was based on achievements.
Effects of Self-Esteem on Vulnerability-Denying Defensive Distortions: Further Evidence of an Anxiety-Buffering Function of Self-Esteem
Abstract Two studies were conducted to assess the proposition that self-esteem serves an anxiety-buffering function. In Study 1, it was hypothesized that raising self-esteem would reduce the need to