Counterfactual reasoning for regretted situations involving controllable versus uncontrollable events: The modulating role of contingent self-esteem

Date

2015-03

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Article

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Yes

Abstract

We report a study that examined the modulating impact of contingent self-esteem on regret intensity for regretted outcomes associated with controllable versus uncontrollable events. The Contingent Self-Esteem Scale (e.g., Kernis & Goldman, 2006) was used to assess the extent to which a person’s sense of self-worth is based on self and others’ expectations. We found that there was an influence of self-esteem contingency for controllable but not for uncontrollable regret types. For controllable regret types individuals with a high contingent (i.e., unstable) self-esteem reported greater regret intensity than those with a low contingent (i.e., stable) self-esteem. We interpret this finding as reflecting a functional and adaptive role of high contingent self-esteem in terms of mobilizing the application of counterfactual reasoning and planning mechanisms that can enable personal expectations to be achieved in the future.

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Wilkinson, M.R., Ball, L.J. and Alford, D. (2015) Counterfactual Reasoning for Regretted Situations Involving Controllable Versus Uncontrollable Events: The Modulating Role of Contingent Self-Esteem. Advances in Cognitive Psychology, 11 (1), pp. 22-30

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Institute for Psychological Science