Stability and Level of Self-Esteem as Predictors of Anger Arousal and Hostility

Michael H. Kernis, Bruce D. Grannemann, Lynda C. Barclay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

400 Scopus citations


We examined stability of self-esteem and level of self-esteem as predictors of dispositional tendencies to experience anger and hostility. We reasoned that individuals with unstable high self-esteem would report especially high tendencies to experience anger and hostility, and that individuals with stable high self-esteem would report particularly low tendencies. We expected individuals with stable and unstable low self-esteem to fall between these two extremes. These predictions were derived from an analysis of anger and hostility that emphasized the instigating role of threats to self-esteem. Stability of self-esteem was assessed through multiple assessments of global self-esteem in naturalistic settings. Results revealed the predicted pattern for the tendency to experience anger and a "motor" component of hostility. The importance of considering both stability and level of self-esteem in analyses of anger and hostility is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1013-1022
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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