Sheltering the self from the storm: Self-construal abstractness and the stability of self-esteem

John A. Updegraff, Amber S. Emanuel, Eunkook M. Suh, Kristel M. Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Self-construal abstractness (SCA) refers to the degree to which people construe important bases of self-esteem in a broad, flexible, and abstract rather than a concrete and specific manner. This article hypothesized that SCA would be a unique predictor of self-esteem stability, capturing the degree to which people's most important bases of self-worth are resistant to disconfirmation. Two studies using a daily diary methodology examined relationships between SCA, daily self-esteem, and daily emotions and/or events. In Study 1, individual differences in SCA emerged as the most consistent and unique predictor of self-esteem stability. Furthermore, SCA contributed to self-esteem stability by buffering the influence of daily negative emotions on self-esteem. Study 2 manipulated SCA via a daily self-construal task and found an abstract versus concrete self-focus to buffer the influence of daily negative events on self-esteem. Implications of these findings for the study of the self and well-being are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-108
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


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