Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 369–385

Predictors of Self-Esteem Variability


    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Miami
  • Melanie S. Harris
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Miami
  • Charles S. Carver
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Miami

DOI: 10.1023/B:COTR.0000031807.64718.b9

Cite this article as:
Hayes, A.M., Harris, M.S. & Carver, C.S. Cognitive Therapy and Research (2004) 28: 369. doi:10.1023/B:COTR.0000031807.64718.b9


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.


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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004