Ioana A. CRISTEA*1,2, Aurora SZENTAGOTAI TĂTAR1,
1Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2Department of Medical, Molecular and Critical Pathology, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
3Department of Psychology, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Positive psychology amplified the emphasis found in cognitive-behavioral therapy on the efficacy of self-statements to improve self-esteem and mood. Yet, recent studies argued that the real effectiveness of these statements remains largely unstudied. The present study examined the effects of three types of potentially beneficial self-statements in regards to their effects on self-esteem and mood (positive general, positive specific, self-acceptance) and contrasted them with a negative self-statement. Ninety participants were asked to practice repeating one of these types of statements following a self-esteem threatening situation. Results indicated that thinking positively was beneficial, regardless of whether the coping statement used was more general or more specific, exaggerated and in direct contradiction with a recent behavioral act. Moderation analysis indicated that for participants with low and average (but not high) trait self-esteem, the positive exaggerated self-statement was more useful than the negative one for negative emotions and covert measures of mood.
Keywords: self-esteem; cognitive-behavioral therapy; positive self-statements; mood; moderation.