I would like to enlist the help of Psychology Today readers with some research I'm doing at my university. This is on the subject of ‘self-sufficiency’, in a psychological sense.

This research partly grew out of a blog I wrote here a couple of years ago, about how we can make ourselves less vulnerable to feeling disrespected by other people. We all feel ‘slighted’ from time to time. Typical slights include not being invited to a party which everyone else you know is going to; giving a person a lift or a meal and not being thanked in return; being passed over for promotion.

I began to investigate the concept of ‘self-sufficiency’ when it occurred to me that high ‘self-esteem’ can make people more vulnerable to slights. Although high self-esteem is usually seen as a positive thing, it has a negative side too. When self-esteem is fragile, it can be dangerous. One of the reasons why alcohol is so strongly linked to crime is because of its ‘self-inflating’ effect – it makes people feel more special and important, and so increases their sensitivity to slights.

This suggests to me that there is a further aspect of the self which needs to be considered, one which is implied but not fully embraced by the concepts of ‘secure’ and ‘insecure’ self-esteem. This is the concept of self-sufficiency. Self-esteem becomes secure and stable when it is underpinned by self-sufficiency.

The Questionnaire

The purpose of the research is to develop a test which measures ‘self-sufficiency’, and also to find out if self-sufficiency is linked to other factors, such as age, gender or happiness. I’ll explain more when the results of the questionnaire are in!

It’s a very simple questionnaire with around 20 short questions. It should only take around 3-4 minutes to complete. It is completely anonymous and voluntary. No personal details are involved, and you are free to stop at any point. If you would like further information, feel free to email me s.m.taylor@leedsmet.ac.uk

The questionnaire is here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JN2G2PY

Thanks in advance for your help!

Steve Taylor, Ph.D. is a senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK. He is the author of Back to Sanitywww.stevenmtaylor.com

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