Consequences of self-esteem concealment on well-being
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Low self-esteem is devalued and viewed as a flaw in North American culture (e.g., Cameron, 2016; Cameron, MacGregor & Kwang, 2013; Zeigler-Hill & Myers, 2009), therefore people with lower self-esteem are motivated to conceal it from those around them (Cameron, 2016). The present study attempted to examine whether the act of concealing insecurities (i.e. lower self- esteem) had subsequent impact on well-being. One hundred and eighteen participants, recruited from introductory psychology classes, recorded a video of themselves answering questions to be emailed to a parent or parental figure of their choosing. They were randomly assigned to either conceal their insecurities from their family member (Concealment Condition), or just be themselves (Be Yourself Condition). Well-being was assessed as the presence of authenticity, positive affect, and life satisfaction, and the absence of negative affect and fatigue. Results demonstrated that self-esteem has a prominent impact on well-being, with a main effect of self- esteem on all five measures of well-being. Findings regarding the interaction between self- esteem and condition were inconclusive, due to issues with adherence to the manipulation instructions. Reported self-esteem concealment was significantly correlated with three measures of well-being: authenticity, negative affect, and life satisfaction. Additionally, reported self- esteem concealment partially mediated the relationship between self-esteem and authenticity. Future research investigating the causal order between the constructs of self-esteem, self-esteem concealment, and well-being is suggested.