Previous studies have shown that people with unstable self-esteem react to failure in extrapunitive ways (Kernis, Cornell, Sun, Berry, & Harlow, 1993; Kernis, Grannemann, & Barclay, 1992). However, competitive situations in daily life often involve several tasks. Therefore, not only the relation between self-esteem instability and the reaction after one failure, but the relation between self-esteem instability and expectation and motivation for future tasks should also be examined. In addition, because extrapunitive reactions such as excuse making are not appropriate in Japanese culture, self-esteem instability may not be related to excuse making in this culture and may instead be related to alternative reactions after failure. Therefore, we hypothesized that at least among Japanese participants, self-esteem instability would be negatively related to expectations for future examinations. Sixty one undergraduate students (16 males and 45 females) participated in the survey. Self-esteem instability was not significantly related to excuse making. Rather, self-esteem instability was negatively related to expectations for the final examination, especially when self-evaluation of the midterm scores was low. On the other hand, self-esteem instability was not significantly related to the motivation to perform well on the final examination. We interpreted these findings as indicating that lowered expectations functioned as a tactic to prevent failure and promote ego protection.
Fukuzawa, A., & Yamaguchi, S. (2013). Relation between self-esteem instability and expectation and motivation after failure among Japanese university students. In Y. Kashima, E. S. Kashima, & R. Beatson (Eds.), Steering the cultural dynamics: Selected papers from the 2010 Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology. https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/iaccp_papers/98/