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Jennifer Crocker

Jennifer Crocker - Tuesday 18 October at 3.00pm

Egosystem or Ecosystem? Creating and Undermining Self-Esteem in Close Relationships

Close relationships can build or undermine self-esteem.  In this presentation, I describe research suggesting that the goals people have for their relationships create long-term changes in self-esteem and the regard of relationship partners.  Paradoxically, goals related to the egosystem undermine self-esteem, whereas goals related to the interpersonal ecosystem strengthen self-esteem.  Specifically, self-image goals to get others to view the self in a positive light and compassionate goals to support relationship partners’ well-being shape how responsive people are to their partners, how responsive their partners perceive them to be, and their own and their partners’ self-esteem.  Self-image goals undermine self-esteem and partners’ regard for the self, whereas compassionate goals build self-esteem and partners’ regard.

Professor Jennifer Crocker is Professor and Ohio Eminent Scholar in Social Psychology at the Ohio State University in the USA.  Her research focuses on self-esteem, contingencies of self-worth and the personal costs to individuals when they pursue self-esteem as a goal. Professor Crocker gave one of the telephone lectures which were part of the Centre's Vanguard Programme in 2005. Her theories have influenced the Centre's thinking and are summarised in Carol Craig's book Creating Confidence: A handbook for professionals working with young people. Professor Crocker has co-authored various papers with Dr Amy Canevello who spoke at the Centre's large event highlighting the problems of pursuing self-esteem last year. Her talk had a major impact on many participants. Professor Crocker will also talk about how her ideas and research have developed.

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