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
Date Written: March 26, 2013
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
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