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Self-esteem (a positive attitude toward oneself) and self-efficacy (confidence in one's ability to perform actions that lead to desired outcomes) are predictors of affective well-being. However, there is a lack of longitudinal research on their relative importance in predicting positive and negative affect. This study sought to examine the relative strength of these 2 variables in predicting affective well-being. Data from the German Aging Survey (DEAS), collected in 4 waves between 2008 and 2017, were used. The random-intercept cross-lagged panel model was used for data analysis. Within-person results showed that self-esteem and self-efficacy did not predict future levels of negative affect. Self-esteem, but not self-efficacy, was found to be a predictor of future levels of positive affect. In addition, positive affect predicted future self-efficacy. A longitudinal mediation model showed that self-esteem predicted future self-efficacy via positive affect. Thus, self-esteem contributes directly to future levels of positive affect and indirectly to future levels of self-efficacy.


Mohsen Joshanloo. Self-esteem predicts positive affect directly and self-efficacy indirectly: a 10-year longitudinal study. Cognition & emotion. 2022 Sep;36(6):1211-1217

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PMID: 35786410

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