Positive and Negative Self-Worth Beliefs and Evaluative Standards


  • Catherine Leite
  • Nicholas A. Kuiper


This study examined several different types of self-worth beliefs and evaluations as predictors of depression and self-esteem. Based upon a self-schema model of emotion, some of these beliefs and evaluations had a traditional negative focus (e.g., “I am failing at work”), whereas others focused specifically on positive aspects of self-worth (e.g., “I am able to give, as well as receive, in relationships”). Findings indicated that positive self-worth evaluations were one of the main predictors of greater self-esteem and less depression, thus indicating a need for further exploration of the role of positive evaluative components of the self-schema on psychological well-being. Our findings also revealed that self-worth beliefs and evaluative standards pertaining to independence and a sense of mastery over one’s environment were generally better predictors of well-being than those pertaining to relationships with others. This pattern was particularly evident for self-esteem, and supports the distinction made in the self-schema model between self-worth based upon individualism versus relatedness themes. Finally, we compared the relative predictive utility of the self-schema model with a self-worth contingency model advanced by Crocker. Here, the beliefs and evaluations specified in the self-schema model were significant predictors of well-being, above and beyond the specific content domains specified in the self-worth contingency model.