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Self-Affirmation Theory

Definition

The self-affirmation theory posits that people have a fundamental motivation to maintain self-integrity, a perception of themselves as good, virtuous, and able to predict and control important outcomes. In virtually all cultures and historical periods, there are socially shared conceptions of what it means to be a person of self-integrity. Having self-integrity means that one perceives oneself as living up to a culturally specified conception of goodness, virtue, and agency. Self-affirmation theory examines how people maintain self-integrity when this perception of the self is threatened.

Background and History

From humanist psychologists like Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers to contemporary investigators examining the psychology of self-esteem, there has been a historical emphasis in psychology on the importance of people's sense of personal regard. Some have suggested that a ...

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