A central theme in this research is a dynamic integrative view of personality and health. In personality processes self-esteem is considered to play an important role whether cognitive and motivational aspects result in vulnerability or resiliency. Trait level of self-esteem combined with different needs and strivings to maintain or increase self-esteem, is an important aspect to consider for a realistic understanding of mechanisms underlying behavior and wellbeing.

Self-esteem, that is contingent on success and competence, triggers fundamentally different habitual thought and behavior patterns than contingent self-esteem, that involves seeking compensation from emotional support and acceptance. These behaviours and attitudes have in recent studies been linked to distinctive patterns of coping with social threats and differential health outcomes.

Within this research frame several new constructs and scales have been developed and validated. Both experimental and questionnaire methods are applied. Another theme in this research concerns implicit aspects of self-esteem and psychometric issues, such as response biases in self-esteem measures.

This research has been supported by grants from The Swedish Research Council 1998-2003, 2005-2009.

Collaborators have been both Ph.D. students and senior researchers from different countries.


Johnson, M., & Rasouli, S. Contingent self-esteem structure related to common types of disease: a comparison between different patient groups (submitted).

Rajamäki, S., & Johnson. M. Preliminary evidence for the role of mindfulness training for competence based self-esteem and burnout (submitted).

Johnson, M. The importance of relation based and competence based self-esteem for differential burnout and type of stress (submitted).

Johnson, M. The regulatory role of basic self-esteem for vulnerable and resilient personality: a theoretical integrative model (submitted).

Johnson. M. (2016). Relations between explicit and implicit self-esteem measures and self-presentation. Personality and Individual Differences, 95, 159-162.

Johnson, M. (2014). Dimensionality of the Basic and Earning Self-esteem Scales: The importance of theoretical basis and item selection. Nordic Psychology, 66, 230-233.

Johnson, M. (2013). Patterns of extreme responding in self-esteem scales: does conceptualisation and item content matter? Personality and Individual Differences, 55, 622-625.

Johnson, M., & Patching, G. R. (2013). Self-esteem dynamics regulate the effects of feedback on ambition. Individual Differences Research, 11, 44-58.

Johnson, M. (2011). Active and passive maladaptive behaviour patterns mediate the relationship between contingent self-esteem and health. Personality and Individual Differences, 51, 178-182.

Blom., V., Johnson, M., & Patching, G. R. (2011). Physiological and behavioural reactivity when one’s self worth is staked on competence. Individual Differences Research, 9, 138-152.

Johnson, M. (2010). Depressive styles, self-esteem structure, and physical health: a dynamic approach to vulnerability in self-criticism and dependency. Individual Differences Research, 8, 45-66.

Johnson. M., & Blom, V.  (2007). Development and validation of two measures of contingent self-esteem. Individual Differences Research, 5, 300-328

Johnson, M., & Blom, V.  (2006). Competence or relationships as a determinant of self-esteem. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 3, 297.

Johnson, M. (2004). Approaching the salutogenesis of sense of coherence: the role of ’active’ self-esteem and coping. British Journal of Health Psychology, 9, 419-432.

Johnson, M. (2003). The vulnerability status of neuroticism: over-reporting or genuine complaints? Personality and Individual Differences, 35, 877-887.

Johnson M. (2003). There is more to sense of coherence than emotional stability. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 58, 382.

Johnson, M. (2002). The importance of self-attitudes for type A, internality, externality and health status. Personality and Individual Differences, 33, 777-789.

Kansi, J., Glant, R., & Johnson, M. (2000). Self-esteem structure and personality: comparing eating disorder patients and healthy controls. International Journal of Psychology, 35, 280.

Johnson, M. (2000). The dynamics of personality and health: a hierarchical model considering the role of self-esteem. International Journal of Psychology, 35, 272.

Johnson, M. (1998). Self-esteem stability: The importance of basic self-esteem and competence strivings for the stability of global self-esteem. European Journal of Personality, 12, 103-116.

Johnson, M., Paananen, M. L., Rahinantti, P, & Hannonen, P. (1997). Depressed fibromyalgia patients are equipped with an emphatic competence dependent self-esteem. Clinical Rheumatology, 6, 485-491.

Forsman, L., & Johnson, M. (1996). Dimensionality and validity of two scales measuring different aspects of self-esteem. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 37, 1-15.

Johnson, M., Rahinantti, P., & Hannonen, P. (1995). Self-esteem and fibromyalgia. Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain, 3, 35-36.

Johnson, M., & Forsman, L. (1995). Competence strivings and self-esteem: an experimental study. Personality and Individual Differences, 19, 417-430.


Patching, G. R., Johnson, M., Borg, E., & Hellström, Å. (Eds). (2014). Fechner Day, 2014. Proceedings of the 30th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Psychophysics. Lund, Sweden.

Johnson, M. (2008). Önbecsulés és alkalmazkodás. Elte Aötvös Kiado. Budapest, Hungary. (Hungarian translation of Självkänsla och anpassning).

Johnson, M. (2003). Självkänsla och anpassning. Lund: Studentlitteratur.

Forsman, L., Johnson. M., Ugolini, V, Bruzzi, D., & Raboni, D. (2003). Basic SE: Valutazione dell’autostima di base negli adulti. Ed. Erickson, Trento, Italy (Basic self-esteem: Italian translation and validation).

Johnson, M. (1997). On the dynamics of self-esteem: Empirical validation of Basic self-esteem and Earning self-esteem. Stockholm University, Department of Psychology. Doctoral Dissertation.