Relation of threatened egotism to violence and aggression: the dark side of high self-esteem.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

Conventional wisdom has regarded low self-esteem as an important cause of violence, but the opposite view is theoretically viable. An interdisciplinary review of evidence about aggression, crime, and violence contradicted the view that low self-esteem is an important cause. Instead, violence appears to be most commonly a result of threatened egotism--that is, highly favorable views of self that are disputed by some person or circumstance. Inflated, unstable, or tentative beliefs in the self's superiority may be most prone to encountering threats and hence to causing violence. The mediating process may involve directing anger outward as a way of avoiding a downward revision of the self-concept.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Baumeister, RF; Smart, L; Boden, JM

Published Date

  • January 1996

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 103 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 5 - 33

PubMed ID

  • 8650299

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0033-295X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/0033-295x.103.1.5


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States