The 3-minute interview with Ozlem Ayduk 

The 39-year-old assistant professor of psychology at UC Berkeley completed a study on low self-esteem with graduate student Anett Gyurak that suggests a little self-control can help people overcome rejection. Ayduk and Gyurak had 38 women and 29 men participate in the study using the Rosenberg self-esteem scale to help split the groups into those with low self-esteem and those with normal-to-high self-esteem. The study is published in the October issue of the journal Psychological Science.

Why is it important to recognize low self-esteem? It’s important for people to understand their impulses and to recognize why they might feel rejected. Sometimes just the mildest rejection for someone with low self-esteem can cause people to overreact or behave inappropriately. People who don’t love or respect themselves often behave in a way that causes others not to love or respect them. Almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

How can people overcome these thoughts of rejection? People with low self-esteem can learn how to change the interpretation of events. Sometimes people automatically or habitually respond to events in a way that will lead them to feel unworthy or rejected. But if the impulse can be recognized, that person might be able to avoid those types of feelings.

Is there a treatment for low self-esteem? There is no direct therapy. There is no low self-esteem vaccine or a pill you can take. It’s about helping people understand their impulses and avoiding the "feared outcome." People need to learn how to put the brakes on their automatic overreaction.

bsilverfarb@examiner.com


Check out more 3-minute interviews from our San Francisco newsroom.

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