An Existential Perspective on the Need for Self-Esteem

Pyszczynski, T., & Kesebir, P. (2013). An existential perspective on the need for self-esteem. In V. Zeigler-Hill (Ed.), Current Issues in Social Psychology: Self-Esteem (pp. 124–144).

37 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2013

See all articles by Tom Pyszczynski

Tom Pyszczynski

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Pelin Kesebir

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Center for Investigating Healthy Minds

Date Written: March 26, 2013

Abstract

It is a truth universally acknowledged that people want to feel good about themselves. This desire plays a fundamental role in our lives, affecting virtually everything we do. Sometimes even the distortion of reality and inaccurate perception of ourselves and others is not too steep a price to pay to maintain a positive view of ourselves. In this chapter, we adopt an existential perspective to address some basic questions about the self-esteem motive: What is self-esteem? Why do people need it? How do they get it, lose it, and maintain it? And what role does it play in adaptive goal-directed behavior, psychological dysfunction, and the maximization of one’s capacities?

Keywords: self-esteem, terror management theory, death anxiety, motivation, existential motivation

Suggested Citation

Pyszczynski, Tom and Kesebir, Pelin, An Existential Perspective on the Need for Self-Esteem (March 26, 2013). Pyszczynski, T., & Kesebir, P. (2013). An existential perspective on the need for self-esteem. In V. Zeigler-Hill (Ed.), Current Issues in Social Psychology: Self-Esteem (pp. 124–144). . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2240064

Tom Pyszczynski

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs ( email )

1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80918-7150
United States

Pelin Kesebir (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Center for Investigating Healthy Minds ( email )

1500 Highland Avenue, Suite S119
Waisman Center
Madison, WI 53705-2280
United States

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