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《Journal of Psychological Science》 2012-03
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Effect of Self-esteem on Subjective Well-being:Moderated Mediating Effect

Bi Chongzeng,Zhang Ping,Zhu Xiaofei(Research Center for Psychology and Social Development,Southwest University,Chongqing,400715)(School of Psychology,Southwest University,Chongqing,400715)  
Increasing researches suggest that self-esteem serves as a mediator of the relationship between many psychological variables(such as personality,social support) and subjective well-being.However,the relationship between self-esteem and well-being is not linear,which means there are moderating variables between them.Therefore,it is a key point to probe the moderating factors which influence self-esteem as a buffer.In this study,self-doubt was chosen as an independent variable for its strong relation with self-esteem and weak relation with depression.Meanwhile,depression is considered as a supposed moderating variable because of its strong relation with well-being,nonlinear relation with the self-esteem.A questionnaire survey was conducted among 1084 high school and college students after given informed consent to investigate the relationships among self-esteem,subjective well-being,self-doubt and depression.The study used the Self-doubt Scale,Subjective Happiness Scale,Beck Depression Inventory-Ⅱ,and General Self-worth Subscale as the measuring tools respectively.Data were analyzed by correlation analysis,moderating and mediating effects regression analysis.The results indicated that there were significant and negative correlations both among self-doubt and subjective well-being,self-esteem,and among depression and subjective well-being,self-esteem.There are significant and positive correlations between self-doubt and depression,self-esteem and subjective well-being.All those correlations ensured that the supposed variables could be analyzed as mediators.Regression analysis showed:in presumptive models,the regression coefficient of the dependent variable(subjective well-being) on the independent variable(self-doubt)(β=-.26,t=-8.80,p.001),the supposed mediator(self-esteem) on the dependent variable(β=-.32,t=-11.00,p .001),and the dependent variable on the supposed mediator(β =.28,t = 9.50,p .001) were all significant.Meanwhile,when the mediator went into the regression equation,the regression coefficient of the dependent variable on the independent variable was still significant(β =.28,t =-5.64,p .001).So the mediating effect was significant and it was a partial mediating effect.That is to say,self-doubt can influence subjective well-being through self-esteem to a certain extent.According to the testing methods of moderating effect,with subjective well-being as the dependent variable,self-esteem as the independent variable,depression as the moderating variable and self-doubt as other the independent,regression analysis showed that the standardized regression coefficient of the product term of self-esteem on depression was significant(β =-.27,t =-2.37,p .05).It suggests interaction between depression and self-esteem can influence subjective well-being.According to criteria for depression,subjects were classified into 4 groups:normal,slight,moderate and severe.In addition,regression analysis of subjective well-being and self-esteem was conducted.The results suggest that only among normal(β =.27,t = 7.66,p .001;F(1,746) = 58.68,p .001,R2 =.07,n = 748) and slight depression participants(β =.16,t = 2.01,p .05;F(1,149) = 4.50,p .05,R2 =.03,n = 151),self-esteem could predict subjective wellbeing,not among moderate and severe depression groups.Based on the findings above,the present study shows that self-esteem can partially mediate the relationship between self-doubt and subjective well-being;however,the mediating effect of self-esteem is moderated by depression.To sum up,the effect of self-esteem on subjective well-being is moderated by the mediating effect,which further conveys that high level of depression can weaken the effect of self-esteem as a buffer.
【Fund】: 重庆市人文社会科学重点研究基地重点项目(11SKB20);; 中央高校基本科研业务费专项资金项目(SWU0909523);; 西南大学国家重点学科基础心理学211工程项目(NSKD11029)的资助
【CateGory Index】: B841
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