Initial and non-initial name-letter preferences as obtained through repeated letter rating tasks continue to reflect (different aspects of) self-esteem
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Psychological assessment: a journal of consulting and clinical psychology. - Washington, D.C.
, p. 905-914
University of Antwerp
We tested the usefulness of name-letter preference scores as indirect indicators of self-esteem by exploring whether multiple unsupervised self-administrations of letter rating tasks within a short period of time yield useful data. We also examined whether preferences for initials and noninitial name-letters tap different aspects of self-esteem. Participants from a community sample (N = 164; 58 men and 106 women, 1767 years, Mage = 34.57, SD = 13.28) completed daily letter rating tasks and state self-esteem questionnaires for 7 consecutive days. They also completed a trait self-esteem questionnaire on the first measurement day as well as 6 months later. Preference scores for first-name initials were stronger but more unstable than preference scores for other name-letters. Preferences for first-name initials were primarily associated with directly measured state self-esteem whereas preferences for noninitials were primarily associated with directly measured trait self-esteem even if the latter was measured 6 months later. Thus, we showed that preferences for initials and noninitials are not simply interchangeable. Previous letter rating studies, which almost exclusively used initial preferences, should be interpreted in terms of state rather than trait self-esteem. In future studies, researchers should focus on the name-letter preference that reflects the aspect of self-esteem they wish to address.