Does conservatism have a self-esteem enhancing function? An examination of associations with contingent self-worth and ill-being in late adults
Recent studies suggest that conservatism is beneficial for individuals’ well-being and self-esteem, particularly in late adulthood. In the present article, it is argued that, although conservatism may have a self-esteem enhancing function, it may also relate to a contingent type of self-esteem, which, in turn, relates to ill-being. In a sample of 227 late adults, we examined associations between conservatism, contingent self-esteem, and indices of ill-being (i.e., depressive symptoms, despair, and death anxiety). Conservatism was related positively to contingent self-esteem and was related indirectly to ill-being through its association with contingent self-esteem. Participants’ age did not moderate these associations. Our findings raise questions about the adaptive role of conservatism in late adults’ personal adjustment and suggest that conservatism entails at least some vulnerability for ill-being.
Soenens, B., & Duriez, B. (2012). Does conservatism have a self-esteem enhancing function? An examination of associations with contingent self-worth and ill-being in late adults. Personality and Individual Differences, 52, 728-732.