Frane Francis Santic



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Relationship Contingent Self-Esteem (RCSE) involves one basing their self-regard on the nature and outcome of their relationship (Knee, Canevello, Bush, & Cook, 2008). RCSE is said to occur from a thwarting of basic psychological needs, including competence, relatedness, and autonomy (Deci & Ryan, 2000, Knee et al., 2008). When these needs are not fulfilled, issues such as feelings of incompetence, a lack of feeling of control, and issues with connecting with other individuals can occur (Hadden, Rodriguez, Knee, & Porter, 2015). Further, those high in RCSE can have lower relationship satisfaction and experience higher levels of negative emotion felt (Knee et al., 2008). The objective of the proposed study is to examine how certain personality risk and protective factors that are correlates of the basic psychological needs influence the relationship between RCSE and relationship satisfaction and the experience of negative emotion (i.e., depression). The study draws from a large sample of married alumni from a private Midwestern US university. Participants were asked to complete a survey containing a range of measures that examine attachment styles, need fulfillment, and other personality factors, as well as what level of depression and satisfaction participants are currently feeling in their lives. Based on moderation analyses, the basic psychological needs were not found to moderate the relationship between RCSE and relationship satisfaction, with the exception of low competence in male participants. For both males and females, low levels of the autonomy and relatedness, as well as high levels of self-alienation, accepting external influences, and anxious attachment were found to moderate the positive association between RCSE and depression. Low levels of self-compassion, competence, and authentic living were found to only moderate the positive association between RCSE and depression for female participants.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Lee J. Dixon

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project

Personality Risk and Protective Factors Moderate Associations of Relationship Contingent Self-Esteem with Mental Health and Relationship Outcomes