An attempt to improve self-esteem by modifying specific irrational beliefs

D. M. Nielsen, J. J. Horan, B. Keen, C. C. St. Peter, S. D. Ceperich, D. Ostlund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In a double-blind study, subjects with low to moderate self-esteem received either of two cognitive restructuring interventions. The experimental treatment addressed specific irrational beliefs previously found to be correlated with low self-esteem; the control treatment focused on irrational beliefs not empirically related to self-esteem. Each intervention produced appropriate changes on targeted irrationality measures. The pattern of changes on targeted and nontargeted irrationality scales, however, suggests that improvements in specific rationality readily generalize, a phenomenon which may have obscured posttest differences between the two interventions on a battery of self-esteem measures. Nevertheless, the self-esteem improvements of subjects within each treatment were consistently related to changes on the previously linked beliefs, and conversely, only sporadically related to changes on the nonlinked beliefs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-149
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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