Predictors of self-esteem variability

Adele M. Hayes, Melanie S. Harris, Charles S. Carver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Self-esteem (SE) variability has been shown to prospectively predict symptoms of depression. We examined four potential contributors to SE variability (limited sources of self-esteem, defectiveness, negative generalization, and adverse events). College students with and without a history of depression symptoms completed ratings of current self-esteem and adverse events for 14 days. Adverse interpersonal events predicted SE variability, as did their interaction with defectiveness and with generalization. Generalization also contributed uniquely to the prediction of SE variability. More severe symptoms of past depression were associated with more defectiveness, negative generalization, adverse events, and SE variability. Results support J. E. Roberts and S. M. Monroe's (1994) theoretical model of vulnerable self-esteem and depression and help to elucidate the process by which SE variability occurs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-385
Number of pages17
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • ability
  • depression
  • self-esteem
  • variability
  • vulnerable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Clinical Psychology


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