The role of interpersonal perceptions of social inclusion and personality in momentary self-esteem and self-esteem reactivity
Empirical research has demonstrated that self-esteem is significantly shaped by social interactions and perceptions of social inclusion; however, less is known about individual differences in the reactivity of momentary self-esteem to social inclusion. Zooming into social interactions, we used data from two adolescent samples (overall N > 200) in two different social settings (i.e., a standardized laboratory interaction vs. real-life interactions) to examine the associations between different interpersonal perceptions (i.e., self-, other-, and metaperceptions) of social inclusion and momentary self-esteem. Further, we investigated how these associations are shaped by an individual’s personality (i.e., neuroticism, extraversion, and agreeableness). Multilevel modeling revealed differential associations between interpersonal perceptions and momentary self-esteem, with perceptions formed by the individual (i.e., self- and metaperceptions) more consistently related to momentary self-esteem than perceptions of others. Personality did not emerge as a consistent moderator of these associations but displayed differential effects: Neuroticism dampened self-esteem reactivity in group interactions with unfamiliar interaction partners, but not in dyadic interactions with familiar others. In light of these findings, we discuss the role of the social context and the interaction partner for the dynamic interplay of interpersonal perceptions and the functionality of personality traits.