Do low self-esteem people dislike raises?

Abstract (via U Texas)

We predicted job turnover among 7758 former college students using individual earnings trends over time and their self-esteem scores. After two years with the same employer, an interaction effect emerged, indicating that the relationship between earnings trend and job tenure depends on self-esteem level. High self-esteem persons tended to leave their jobs sooner when their earnings declined or remained flat. Low self-esteem persons tended to quit more when their earnings increased over time.

Introduction (Via U Texas)

Numerous laboratory studies indicate that people with negative self-views display a paradoxical tendency to avoid interacting with those who evaluate them positively. The research reported herein extends these findings to a naturally-occurring analogue of this phenomenon: that people with low self-esteem may quit jobs in which they receive greater pay than they think they deserve. Our question is: Will people with negative self-views quit their jobs if they get paid too much?

Sumner (1907) was probably the first theorist to suggest that people preferred information that confirms their beliefs. Lecky (1945) later narrowed this idea by suggesting that people were specifically interested in information that confirmed their chronic conceptions of themselves (but not necessarily their momentary self-views or attitudes, as later suggested; Aronson, 1968; Festinger, 1957). Lecky proposed that people form self-views based on the treatment they receive from others and then use these self-views to predict the reactions of others, to guide their behavior, and to organize their conceptions of reality (e.g., Mead, 1934). He argued that people perceive information that confirms their self-views as reassuring, whereas information that challenges their self-views is disorienting and dangerous.

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14. February 2010 by Miguel Barbosa
Categories: Curated Readings, Psychology & Sociology | Leave a comment

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