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23-11-2018 | Uitgave 3/2019

Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy 3/2019

When is Unconditional Self-Acceptance a Better Predictor of Mental Health than Self-Esteem?

Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy > Uitgave 3/2019
Stanislava Popov
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In REBT, self-esteem (SE) is seen as detrimental to mental health, in comparison to more adaptive construct—unconditional self-acceptance (USA). USA represents an absence of the person`s tendency to globally evaluate his/her self-worth or ability to fully accept his/herself, regardless of the particular outcome of his/her behavior (Ellis in Reason and emotion in psychotherapy: revised and updated, Carol Publishing Group, New York, 1994). Still, in empirical studies, USA and SE often correlate moderately, while SE correlates with positive outcomes in mental health measures, sometimes more than USA (Popov et al. in J Evid Based Psychother 15(2):219–236, 2015). This study aimed to compare USA and SE as predictors of mental health when positive and negative affectivity traits are included in the same model. Indicators of mental health were subjective well-being, a state of positive and negative affect, and state of anxiety and depression. The sample consisted of 268 university students. The following instruments were used: Big five plus two (Smederevac et al. in Velikih pet plus dva: Primena i nterpretacija [Big Five Plus Two: Manual for administration and interpretation], Centar za primenjenu psihologiju, Beograd, 2010), Unconditional Self-Acceptance Questionnaire (Chamberlain and Haaga in J Ration Emot Cogn Behav Ther 19:177–189, 2001a). The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg in Society and the adolescent self-image, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1965), Short subjective well-being scale (Jovanović in Primenjena psihologija 3(2):175–190, 2010), Serbian Inventory of Affect based on the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule-X (Novovic and Mihic 2008), Anxiety Scale (Lovibond and Lovibond in Behav Res Ther 33:335–343, 1995), The State Depression Scale (Novović et al., in: Biro, Smederevac, Novović (eds) Procena psiholoških i psihopatoloških fenomena, Centar za primenjenu psihologiju, Beograd, pp 19–28, 2009). To test the predictive power of USA in comparison with SE, a series of linear regression analyses were conducted. The results showed that besides affectivity traits, USA has significant contribution to the prediction of mental health indicators, unlike SE.

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