Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 749–762 | Cite as

Moderating effects of self-esteem on the use of ethnicity and academic standing as determinants of interpersonal acceptance

  • Michael Hoffman
  • Joseph Schwarzwald


The influence of self-esteem on the use of status considerations as determinants of interpersonal acceptance was studied in a sample of 722 Israeli students from integrated junior high schools. The students completed a self-esteem questionnaire as well as the Interpersonal Relation Assessment Technique, a measure assessing willingness to engage in activities of increasing intimacy with classmates. Data analysis indicated a general preference for targets of higher educational level and high-status ethnic origin. These categorical preferences were more pronounced among high rather than low self-esteem students, irregardless of their own educational standing or ethnic origin. The findings were consistent with the thrust of cost-benefit analyses suggested by social exchange theories, in which self-esteem is viewed as one's globalized perception of social worth. The results suggest that individuals with high self-esteem may be more likely to see themselves as equals to higher status others and seek out their company than would their low self-esteem counterparts. Alternately, those with high self-esteem may be more motivated by social ambition and less by fear of rejection.


Social Exchange Junior High School Ethnic Origin High Educational Level Interpersonal Relation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Hoffman
    • 1
  • Joseph Schwarzwald
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBar Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael

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