Honors Theses


Erin O'Mara



Publication Date

Spring 4-2015

Document Type

Honors Thesis


The purpose of the proposed study was to examine the association between emotional vulnerability and psychological well-being, and test whether the association varies based on level of self-esteem. Researchers define psychological well-being as an appraisal of one’s life where a person gives conscious evaluative judgments about one’s satisfaction with life as a whole (Grossi et al., 2013). Emotional vulnerability is defined as the degree to which a person renders himself or herself exposed to the emotional pain of rejection. Experiencing social rejection has a negative effect on self-esteem, however, having high self-esteem may buffer the self against the pain of rejection. Previous research suggests that vulnerability is an important trait essential to satisfying the human need to create and maintain close relationships. Taken together, the present research examined whether selfesteem influences whether emotional vulnerability is associated with positive or negative psychological well-being. Participants first completed a measure of self-esteem and were then randomly assigned to an experimental group where they wrote about a time they felt emotionally vulnerable, or a control group. Participants then completed a measure of psychological well-being. Results showed that self-esteem did not interact with assigned condition to predict well-being. It was wound that individuals in the control group reported higher levels of well-being. Participants with higher self-esteem scored higher on all subscales of well-being. The findings from the present study have important implications for understanding the role that self-esteem plays in how emotional vulnerability influences psychological well-being.

Permission Statement

This item is protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) and may only be used for noncommercial, educational, and scholarly purposes.


Undergraduate research


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Included in

Psychology Commons