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Self-Esteem as a Hierometer: Sociometric Status Is a More Potent and Proximate Predictor of Self-Esteem than Socioeconomic Status

Mahadevan, Nikhila and Gregg, Aiden P and Sedikides, Constantine (2021) 'Self-Esteem as a Hierometer: Sociometric Status Is a More Potent and Proximate Predictor of Self-Esteem than Socioeconomic Status.' Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. ISSN 0096-3445 (In Press)

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Abstract

The link between status and self-esteem remains theoretically and empirically controversial. To help clarify it, we proposed an integrated account of status and self-esteem, and tested several hypotheses derived from it. We distinguished between two types of status: socioeconomic status (SES; education, income, occupation) and sociometric status (SMS; respect, admiration, importance). We then examined how they related to one another and to self-esteem across five studies (N = 2,018). As hypothesized, in Studies 1–2 (cross-sectional), SES and SMS correlated positively with one another, and both correlated positively with self-esteem; yet SMS predicted self-esteem more strongly than SES did. Moreover, SMS mediated the link between SES and self-esteem, and this statistical model fit the data better than an alternative model where SMS and SES reversed roles. Studies 3–5 demonstrated causal links experimentally. In Study 3, manipulating SES to be higher (vs. lower) led to higher (vs. lower) SMS and state self-esteem, with SMS again statistically mediating the impact of SES on state self-esteem. In Study 4, manipulating SMS to be higher (vs. lower) led to higher (vs. lower) state self-esteem. Finally, in Study 5, manipulating SMS showed that it causally mediated the link between SES and state self-esteem. Our findings also persisted across multiple measurement formats and after controlling for the Big Five personality traits. They point to SMS being a more powerful and proximate predictor of self-esteem than SES, thereby illuminating the link between status and self-esteem, and adding to a growing literature on the psychology of status.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: status, socioeconomic status, sociometric status, self-esteem, hierometer theory
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2021 09:39
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 09:39
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/29776

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