The threat-to-self-esteem model suggests an individual's interpretation of an offer of help is influenced by factors of the aid that have implicit consequences to the helpee's self-esteem (Fisher, Nadler, & Whitcher-Alagna, 1982). Basic needs theory states that the fulfillment of autonomy and competency needs are two components necessary for an individual to achieve optimal well-being, and thus self-image (i.e., self-esteem; Ryan & Deci, 2000). As such, this study used a LEGO building task and manipulated challenges to autonomy and competency in order to determine the extent to which an individual finds an unsolicited offer of help as threatening or supportive to their self-esteem. This study also examined goal orientation and self- esteem as moderating variables of the relationship between challenge to autonomy and competency on the resulting appraisal of the unsolicited help as supportive or threatening to one's self-esteem. Participants were 168 undergraduate students at the University of Central Florida. A series of ANOVAs indicated that threat to autonomy and performance goal orientation had significant effects on threat to self-esteem. Future research directions and limitations are included.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Industrial Organizational Psychology
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Broksch, Emily, "Lego my Ego: The Puzzling Role of Self-esteem and Goal Orientation on Appraisals of Unsolicited Help" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 183.