Psychology
9:02 pm
Fri January 14, 2011

Study: self-esteem trumps sex and sweets

Michigan Radio news intern Bridget Bodnar filed a report on a new study published in the Journal of Personality.

The study found that young people prefer praise over things like sex, favorite foods, seeing a best friend, getting a paycheck, or drinking alcohol.

Ohio State University put out a press release on the new research. From the release:

In two separate studies, the researchers asked college students how much they wanted and liked various pleasant activities, such as their favorite food or seeing a best friend.  They were asked to rate how much they wanted and liked each activity on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (extremely). One of the items they were asked about was self-esteem building experiences, such as receiving a good grade or receiving a compliment.

OSU Professor Brad Bushman was the lead author of the study. The researchers found that "self-esteem trumped all other rewards in the minds of these college students."

Bridget Bodnar interviewed Bushman who said:

"The fact that self esteem trumps…many things they love…shows you how much value students place on self esteem"

In the OSU press release, Bushman said the results of the study suggest many young people might be "a little too focused on pumping up their self-esteem."

Bushman says:

"American society seems to believe that self-esteem is the cure all for every social ill, from bad grades to teen pregnancies to violence, but there has been no evidence that boosting self-esteem actually helps with these problems.  We may be too focused on increasing self-esteem."