Contingent Self Esteem

Contingent Self Esteem

Contingent Relationship Self-Esteem is the idea that individuals base their self-esteem on the approval of others or by using social comparisons. Certain events will affect one's self esteem when one's level of self-worth is dependent upon outcomes of those events.[1] Success and failure in different aspects can result in fluctuations in self esteem.[1] Someone with contingent self-esteem would be excessively self-conscious.Such excessive self-consciousness, as occurs with contingent self-esteem, involves extreme awareness and concern of how others perceive and evaluate one's self and feelings of discomfort in social settings.[1]

Appearance Related Social Comparisons

People with high levels of CSE might feel low after making appearance related social comparisons. Appearance Related Social Comparisons is the idea that one compares their perceived attractiveness to the attractiveness of someone else. These people base their feelings of self worth on meeting social standards and expectations. Appearance Related Social Comparisons can affect one's self-esteem in both positive and negative ways. It can help develop, maintain, and decline one's level of self worth. Women who based their self worth on cultural standards may be more affected by social comparisons, particularly when their self perceptions of attractiveness(SPA)is low. In the journal "Responses to upward and downward social comparisons: The impact of esteem-relevance and perceived control" Major, Testa, and Bylsma

Media images create unrealistic standards for beauty. These comparisons with unrealistic media standards can cause one with high levels of CSE to feel low. Although this is true, everyone is not equally affected unrealistic standards of beauty and social comparisons. Self perceptions of attractiveness is how one measures their own beauty. Women with lower self perceptions of attractiveness tend to be more dissatisfied after viewing "ideal" images of women in the media. In the journal "Media Images and Women's Self-evaluations", researchers D. Henderson-King, Henderson-King, and Hoffman demonstrated that the importance that women place on physical attractiveness has an influence on the effects of comparisons with media images.

Relationship Contingent Self-Esteem

Relationship contingent self esteem (RCSE) is a psychological disorder researched by Chip Knee and his colleagues at the University of Houston.[2] RCSE is the idea that one determines how they feel about themselves based on the outcomes of their relationship.[2] Individuals with RCSE take problems in their relationship personally.[3] They do not tend to think rationally about situations, which may result to them feeling bad for themselves in the end.[3] Any setback in a relationship can lead to many negative feelings such as depression, anxiety, and changes in mood.[2] Individuals with high levels of relationship based self esteem are highly committed to their relationships, but become devastated when faced with challenges in their relationship. In extreme cases, they may resort to hurting or killing themselves.[3] RCSE is seen as a negative and unhealthy factor of a relationship, which can be mediated if identified in its early stages.[2]

Chip Knee and a group of researchers studied college heterosexual relationships and the impacts of RCSE.[2] They presented the results of this study in a paper entitled “Relationship Contingent Self-Esteem – The Ups and Downs of Romantic Relationship”.[2] RCSE was present in some of these relationships; however, some levels were higher than others.[2] Relationships with higher levels of RCSE are placed under unnecessary strain.[3] The point of the study is to show how relationships can guide one’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors; and the unhealthy way people attach themselves to relationships.[2]


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