A Meta-analysis of the Relationship Between Psychological Disengagement and Self-esteem: The Role of Domain and Group Status

By Joelle Laplante, Francine Tougas and Lucie Kocum.

Published by The International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations: Annual Review

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 30, 2015 $US5.00

When individuals feel disadvantaged or anticipate a threat to their self-esteem in a particular domain such as school or work, they may psychologically disengage their self-esteem from feedback received as a means of self-protection. Psychological disengagement can be achieved via two mechanisms, namely discounting the validity of feedback received, and devaluing the importance of the domain for the self-concept. The study of psychological disengagement and the association between discounting and devaluing and self-esteem has generated unstable results. This meta-analysis conducted using 30 distinct samples sought to understand the association between psychological disengagement and self-esteem. A few key moderators were evaluated to explain the variance observed in the results of previous studies: the domain in which the study was conducted (school or work domain); the status of the group (minority or majority status); and the status of the domain (low or high). Results show that discounting and devaluing are negatively linked to self-esteem and the domain type moderates these two links. Group status and domain status moderated some relationships for discounting and devaluing, respectively. These results suggest that psychological disengagement’s association with self-esteem is not uniform. Theoretical implications and future directions of research are discussed.

Keywords: Psychological Disengagement, Self-esteem, Meta-analysis, Group Status

The International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations: Annual Review, Volume 14, 2014, pp.1-15. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 30, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 564.756KB)).

Dr. Joelle Laplante

Adjunct Professor, School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Francine Tougas

Adjunct Professor, School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Lucie Kocum

Assistant Professor, Psychology Department, Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada