BACKGROUND : In the current study, we aimed to test a metacognitive model of self-esteem grounded in the Self-Regulatory Executive Function model of psychopathology. METHODS : A convenience sample of 346 community participants were recruited and completed a battery of online questionnaires that measured self-esteem, self-criticism, self-critical rumination, metacognitions about self-critical rumination, generic metacognitions and negative affect. Initially, we tested a series of hypotheses to establish the relationships between the study variables. We then conducted a path analysis to test a metacognitive model of self-esteem, where the process of self-critical rumination and its associated metacognitive beliefs was hypothesized to mediate the relationship between affect and self-esteem. RESULTS : Self-critical rumination and its associated negative metacognitions, levels of depression and self-criticism independently predicted self-esteem. However, the multicollinearity between rumination and metacognitions suggests that one might not exist without the other. Additionally, a path analysis revealed that the study data was a very good fit to the proposed metacognitive model of self-esteem. CONCLUSIONS : The metacognitive model of self-esteem presented in this paper may be used to generate novel interventions to improve self-esteem and decrease self-critical rumination.