Savoring versus dampening: self-esteem differences in regulating positive affect

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2003 Sep;85(3):566-80. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.85.3.566.


Five studies examined the hypotheses that when people experience positive affect, those low in self-esteem are especially likely to dampen that affect, whereas those high in self-esteem are especially likely to savor it. Undergraduate participants' memories for a positive event (Study 1) and their reported reactions to a success (Study 2) supported the dampening prediction. Results also suggest that dampening was associated with worse mood the day after a success (Study 2), that positive and negative affect regulation are distinct, that self-esteem is associated with affect regulation even when Neuroticism and Extraversion are controlled (Studies 3 and 4), and that self-esteem may be especially important for certain types of positive events and positive affect regulation (Study 5).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Extraversion, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Neurotic Disorders / psychology
  • Personality Assessment
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Concept*
  • Students / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires