330 Self Affirmation & Self Control


Click to listen below:

330-357 Self-Affirmation & Self Control

Research by  Burson, Aleah., Crocker, Jennifer., & Mischkowski, Dominik. (2012)

Written by Bethany Wellman, M.S.

When we feel excluded, this is a threat to our self-esteem. Self-Affirmation theory suggests that focusing on values helps us handle threats to our self-esteem. Which values help us feel better?

Psychology researchers examined 92 student participants who had either been “chosen” to be a partner, “excluded” (not chosen) or “accidentally excluded” (left alone to work) and placed them in one of three groups to write 10 minutes:

¨ the self-enhancement group wrote about values related to them personally- like, wealth, success, and influence,

¨ the thinking of others group wrote about values applicable to the greater good- like, honesty, compassion, forgiveness, and protecting the environment,

¨ the no value group wrote about their daily routine, not about their values.

Participants who wrote about values that enhance others had more self-control than the self-enhancement group writing about just their personal values, and much more than the no value group. We need not focus only on our own skills and success to effectively avoid threats and boost our self-esteem and self-control.

Remember to affirm yourself, affirm your values. Take action. Focus on the greater good related to benefiting others, the world, to best boost your own self-esteem!


Burson, A., Crocker, J., & Mischkowski, D. (2012). Two types of value-affirmation: Implications for self-control following social exclusionSocial Psychological and Personality Science, 3(4), 510-516.


About Author

Adele Hall is the administrative assistant for the School of Psychology in charge of uploading the Psychology Science minutes. The authors of the minutes are listed in the written portion. The Psychology Science Minutes are coordinated by Juanita N. Baker, Ph.D., faculty emerita, and reviewed by former Dean Mary Beth Kenkel, faculty emerita.

Comments are closed.