J. Crocker and L. E. Park (2004) proposed both (a) that the importance of self-esteem lies more in how people strive for it rather than whether it is high or low and (b) that the benefits of pursuing self-esteem are of a limited, short-term nature and are outweighed by the significant costs that entail for functioning in multiple areas. The authors review research that raises questions about the validity of each of these assumptions. They conclude that findings are more consistent with a view in which (a) high self-esteem, or at least the avoidance of low self-esteem, is an important factor contributing to overall health and well-being and (b) the pursuit of self-esteem, when directed toward adaptive ends, can be instrumental in promoting long-term outcomes that are of value to both individuals and society. They also describe an integrative theoretical framework that encompasses both of these possibilities.
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