[Do mastery goals buffer self-esteem from the threat of failure?].

Shinrigaku kenkyu : The Japanese journal of psychology

PubMedID: 18186285

Niiya Y, Crocker J. [Do mastery goals buffer self-esteem from the threat of failure?]. Shinrigaku Kenkyu. 2007;78(5):504-11.
Self-esteem is vulnerable when failure occurs in the domain where people base their self-worth (Crocker & Wolfe, 2001). We tested whether learning orientations can reduce the vulnerability of self-esteem associated with contingent self-worth and encourage persistence following failure. Our past research (Niiya, Crocker, & Bartmess, 2004) indicated that people who base their self-worth on academics maintain their self-esteem following failure when they are primed with an incremental theory of intelligence. Our present study extends these findings by (a) examining whether mastery goals (Elliot & Church, 1997) can also buffer self-esteem from failure, (b) using a different manipulation of success and failure, (c) using a different task, and (d) including a measure of persistence. We found that college students who based their self-esteem on academic competence reported lower self-esteem following failure than following success when they had low mastery goals, but the effect of success and failure was eliminated when students had high mastery goals. Moreover, high mastery students showed greater persistence following failure than low mastery students. The study provided converging evidence that learning orientations buffer self-esteem from failure.