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Introduction to the Psychology of self-esteem

In: Self-Esteem ISBN: 978-1-53610-294-9
Editor: Franklin Holloway © 2016 Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Chapter 1
Ahmed M. Abdel-Khalek*
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts,
University of Alexandria, Egypt
Self--esteem is a central construct in clinical, developmental,
personality, and social psychology. Its role in psychological functioning
has been studied for more than a century. Self-esteem construct has
spawned a research literature of such magnitude and richness that it is
impossible to summarize. Therefore, the aim of the present chapter was to
highlight the main topics in this domain. That is, the self-esteem
definition, dimensionality, and components; its formation and
development, and assessment; the positive and negative effects of both
high and low self-esteem, the association between low self-esteem and
psychopathology especially depression, the dark side of high self-esteem
(e.g., narcissism); and the terror-management as an important theory of
self-esteem. Then, self-esteem and both culture and demographic
variables associations were reviewed, and the stability of self esteem. At
last, a suggested solution to remedy the problem of social desirability in
responding to the self-esteem scales was proposed.
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Keywords: Self-esteem, psychopathology, depression, narcissism, terror-
management theory, culture.
Through the short history of psychology, few personality constructs have
received greater theoretical and empirical attention than self-esteem. In 2004,
Heine and Lehman stated that over 18,000 studies investigating self-esteem
have been published over the past 35 years (this is a rate of more than one
publication per day!). Meanwhile, psychologists interest in self-esteem has
grown exponentially over the years. Research on self-esteem has had a long
prolific history in psychology.
Self-esteem is a central construct in clinical, developmental, personality,
and social psychology, and its role in psychological functioning has been
studied for nearly a century (Greenier, Kernis and Waschull, 1995). Self-
esteem significance is often exaggerated to the extent that low self-esteem is
viewed as the cause of all evil and high self-esteem as the cause of all good
(Manning, Bear and Minke, 2006). In a similar vein, Hewitt (2002) stated that
the conventional approach to self-esteem has spawned a research literature of
such magnitude and richness that it is impossible to summarize. Therefore, the
aim of the present chapter was to highlight the main topics in the self-esteem
huge literature.
Everyone, must love himself or herself above or at least in equal measure
to any other person or thing. This would explain the golden rule found in most
religions, to “love others as you love yourself”. The coincidence among
different cultures and religions regarding this essential bit of wisdom, to treat
and love others, as you would have them treat and love you, is nevertheless
surprising (Dolan, 2007, p. 50).
Rosenberg (1965), one of the pioneers in this domain, stated that self-
esteem refers to an individual overall positive evaluation to the self. He added,
that high self-esteem consists of an individual respecting himself and
considering himself worthy. In a similar vein, Sedikides and Gress (2003)
stated that self-esteem refers to individual’s perception or subjective appraisal
of one’s own self-worth, one’s feelings of self-respect and self-confidence and
the extent to which the individual holds positive or negative views about self.
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Self-esteem is related to personal beliefs about skills, abilities, and social
Self-esteem is also defined as a global barometer of self-evaluation
involving cognitive appraisals about general self-worth and affective
experiences of the self that are linked to these global appraisals (Murphy,
Stosny and Morrel, 2005). By the same token, Wang and Ollendick (2001)
stated that self-esteem involves an evaluation of oneself followed by an
emotional reaction towards oneself. The evaluative and affective elements are
present in all extant definitions and theories of self-esteem.
Brown, Dutton, and Cook (2001) distinguished three ways in which the
term “self-esteem” is used: (a) global or trait self-esteem to refer to the way
people characteristically feel about themselves, i.e., feelings of affection for
oneself; (b) self-evaluation to refer to the way people evaluate their various
abilities and attributes, and (c) feelings of self-esteem to refer to momentary
emotional states, e.g., a person might say her self-esteem was sky-high after
getting a big promotion, or a person might say his self-esteem plummeted after
a divorce.
Perhaps the simplest definition of self-esteem is found in Webster’s
dictionary, which says that “self-esteem is satisfaction with oneself”. In
another edition of the same dictionary, self-esteem means “one’s good opinion
of one’s dignity or worth”.
Hewitt (2002) sought to transform our view of self-esteem from a
universal psychological trait and motivating force to a socially constructed
emotion grounded in mood. This point of view was based on Smith – Lovin’s
(1995) definition of self-esteem as a reflexive emotion that has developed over
time in social processes of invention, that individuals learn to experience and
to talk about, that arises in predictable social circumstances, and that is subject
to social control.
For the purpose of the present chapter, self-esteem could be defined as the
self-evaluation and descriptive conceptualization that individuals make and
maintain with regard to themselves.
Self-esteem can refer to the overall self or to specific aspects of the self,
such as how people feel about their social standing, racial or ethnic group,
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physical features, athletic skills, job or school performance. Theorists have
made many distinctions concerning different types of self-esteem, e.g.,
contingent vs. noncontingent; explicit vs. implicit; authentic vs. false; stable
vs. unstable; global vs. domain specific. Regarding the dimensionality of self-
esteem, some authors conceptualized it as a unitary global trait, whereas others
view it as a multidimensional trait with independent subcomponents
(performance, social, and physical self-esteem) (Heatherton and Wyland,
Branden (1969) maintained that self-esteem consists of two components:
(a) to consider oneself effective, to trust in one’s ability to think, learn, choose
and make correct decisions, and to overcome challenges and produce changes,
and (b) to respect oneself, the confidence in one’s right to be happy, and the
confidence that people are worthy of the respect, love and self-fulfillment
appearing in their lives. More recently, Reasoner (2005) viewed self-esteem as
composed of two distinct dimensions: competence and worth. On the basis of
these two components, he defines self-esteem as “the experience of being
capable of meeting life challenges and being worthy of happiness”.
In personality psychology, there is a well-known distinction between traits
and states first introduced by Cattell (1966) and elaborated by Spielberger and
his colleagues (1983). Based on this distinction, some authors distinguished
between trait self-esteem, i.e., stable in time as it is a part of the personality
and the state self-esteem, which is more labile, being affected by events,
situations, and emotions (Gilovich, Keltner and Nisbett, 2006).
Deci and Ryan (1995) distinguished between contingent and true self-
esteem. Contingent self-esteem refers to feelings about oneself that result
from, and dependent on, matching some standards of excellence or living up to
some interpersonal or intrapsychic expectations. It is a kind of aggrandizement
of oneself associated with being ego-involved in some types of outcomes and
dutifully achieving them. it is often involves social comparison and tends to be
associated with a kind of narcissism. In contrast, true self-esteem is more
stable and based in a solid and secure sense of self. Their worth would be an
integrated aspect of one’s self and would be reflected in agency, proactivity,
and vitality.
As for the assessment of self-esteem, some authors distinguished between
explicit self-esteem (questionnaires) and implicit self-esteem, i.e., the
introspectively unidentified (or inaccurately identified) effect of the self-
attitude on evaluation of self-associated and self-dissociated object
(Greenwald and Banaji, 1995).
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The formation of self-esteem implies a long process. It is correlated with
the formation of self-image and self-conscience. Its evolution in time involves
also downfall periods especially during transition periods from one stage to
another, from one status to another, e.g., in adolescence (due to the psycho-
somatic changes), or grand age, as a consequence of the change in status,
retirement and the change in tasks and responsibilities (Orth, Trzesniewski and
Robins, 2010). While self-esteem appears to decline during adolescence, it
increases during young adulthood (Tsai, Ying and Lee, 2001).
The affective model of self-esteem development assumes that: (a) self-
esteem forms early in life in response to relational and temperamental factors;
and (b) once formed, endows high self-esteem people with the ability to
promote, protect and restore feelings of self-worth (Brown et al., 2001).
Many studies have underlined the essential role of the family environment
in the formation of personality especially in the early childhood (Talib,
Mohamad and Mamat, 2011). Early studies by Rosenberg (1965) and
Coopersmith (1967) showed that parental involvement and willingness to give
adolescents autonomy and freedom are positively correlated to high self-
esteem in adolescents.
The period of adolescence is important for the process of self-esteem
formation. The formation of self-esteem can be stimulated, encouraged both
by parents and teachers. The level of self-esteem is mirrored in the
adolescent’s attitude and behavior, both at home and at school (Mogonea and
Mogonea, 2014). The adolescents with a high level of self-esteem have the
following characteristics: they are capable of influencing positively the
opinion and behavior of others; they tackle new situations positively and
confidently; they have a high level of tolerance towards frustration; they
accept early responsibilities, they asses correctly situations; they communicate
positive feelings about themselves; they succeed in having a good self-control
and the belief that the things they are undergoing are the result of their own
behavior and actions (Lavoie, 2012). Therefore, adolescence is the critical
period for the development of self-esteem and self-identity, and low self-
esteem may endanger adolescent’s emotional regulation (Lin, Tang, Yen, Ko,
Huang, Liu et al., 2008). On the other hand, high self-esteem serving as a role
of resilience or positive adaptation (Moksnes and Espnes, 2012).
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There are many measures of self-esteem, i.e., state and trait; explicit and
implicit; uni- and multi-dimensional scales. Because the Rosenberg scale is
the most widely measure in research (Blascovich and Tomaka, 1991), and it is
the most widely used measure of global self-esteem (Heatherton and Wyland,
2003), as well as other advantages, it is the scale of choice to introduce here.
Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (1965, 1987) (See Table 1)
It is the most popular measure of global self-esteem. Indeed, it is the
standard with which developers of other measures usually seek convergence. It
is unidimensional scale and face valid. It contains only 10 Likert type items
contributes to ease of administration, scoring, and interpretation. The
measure’s relatively high internal consistency and test-retest reliability
undoubtedly contribute to its popularity. Possible susceptibility to social
desirability effects has not dampened its use, probably because of similar
problems with other scales. Although originally developed for use with
adolescents, this scale is also used widely with adults (Blascovich and
Tomaka, 1991).
Table 1. Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale
1- Strongly Agree 2- Agree 3- Disagree 4- Strongly Disagree
1- I feel that I am a person of worth, at least on an equal basis with others.
2- I feel that I have a number of good qualities.
3- All in all, I am inclined to feel that I am a failure. *
4- I am able to do things as well as most other people.
5- I feel I do not have much to be proud of. *
6- I take a positive attitude toward myself.
7- On the whole, I am satisfied with myself.
8- I wish I could have more respect for myself. *
9- I certainly feel useless at times. *
10- At times I think I am no good at all. *
* Reverse-scored item
Note- many researchers change the 4-point scale to 5
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Schmitt and Allik (2005) stated that the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale has
been translated into 28 languages. They administered this scale to 16, 998
participants across 53 nations, and found that the factor structure of the scale
was largely invariant across nations. Its scores correlated with neuroticism,
extraversion, and romantic attachment styles within nearly all nations,
providing additional support for cross-cultural equivalence of the scale. The
negatively worded items were interpreted differently across nations.
However, there are many critics of the Rosenberg scale. Some consider it
too short, too obvious, unrealistically unitary, and fails to predict behavior
effectively (Baumeister, 1994). Moreover, Carmines and Zeller (1974)
identified separate “positive” and “negative” factors related to the items
worded in a positive direction and the items that worded in the negative
direction, respectively, thereby suggesting response set.
Cheng and Hamid (1995) pointed out to a problem in translating the
Rosenberg’s (1965) Self-esteem Scale into Chinese. That is, the negatively
phrased item number 8: “I wish I could have more respect for myself”, was
syntactically problematic in Chinese. When this item was translated into
Chinese, it could imply either that (a) the person already has adequate self-
esteem, yet wishes to have more or (b) the person has little respect for himself
and would like more. The same problem is relevant in the Arabic language.
For this reason, the five negatively phrased items converted to positively
worded in the Arabic translated version (See: Abdel-Khalek, 2007; Abdel-
Khalek, Korayem and El-Nayal, 2012).
The main problem in self-esteem questionnairses, including the Rosenberg
scale, is the social desirability, i.e., the defensive self-esteem, denying personal
problems and inadequacies, and making a false good impression.
The self-esteem is a personality trait related with the self-image and self-
conscience concepts. All personality traits, including self-esteem, could be
viewed as a continuum or a bipolar dimension. Individual differences through
this continuum encompass several grades and levels. Self-approval is a basic
human desire. High self-esteem score is a must factor in order to attain the
feeling of happiness.
Studies have identified self-esteem as an important determinant of
emotional well-being (Baumeister, Campbell, Krueger and Vohs, 2003). As
early as 1890, William James, one of the founding fathers of Western
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psychology, argued that self-esteem is an important aspect of mental health.
People with high self-esteem experience more happiness, optimism, and
motivation than those with low self-esteem, as well as less depression, anxiety,
and negative mood.
Using several Arab participants, it was found that self-esteem significantly
and positively associated with love of life, mental health, satisfaction with life,
happiness, and hope (Abdel-Khalek, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, Abdel-Khalek
and Snyder, 2007). Persons with high self-esteem are more likely to persist in
the face of difficult tasks than are low self-esteem persons (Baumeister et al.,
2003). High self-esteem people are more resilient to the vicissitudes of life.
A high level of self-esteem supplies individuals with the ability to accept
happy moments, to handle unpleasant situations, to cope effectively with
challenges, to engage in close relationships and to improve their strengths.
High self-esteem is also considered to positively moderate the expression of
dysfunctional schemata and depressive symptoms at the experience of
negative life events (Stavropoulos, Lazaratou, Marini and Dikeos, 2015).
Several studies have found that high self-esteem individuals are more
persistent in the face of failure than the low self-esteem individuals. High self-
esteem individuals also appear more effective in self-regulating goal-directed
behavior (Di Paula and Campbell, 2002). Self-esteem is important for self-
regulation and quality of life, and the relevance of self-esteem for positive
psychology. Self-esteem provides the energy to mobilize human behavior as
well as contributing to its direction (Mackinnon, 2015, p. 18).
Previous research has shown that self-esteem rises when a person
succeeds, is praised, or experiences another’s love, making self-esteem
dependent on not only one’s perceptions of himself but also other’s
perceptions of him (Schmidt and Padilla, 2003). Self-esteem is a major key to
success in life. The development of healthy self-esteem is extremely important
for good personal and social adjustment.
People with low self-esteem suffer from feelings of worthlessness,
inferiority, and emotional instability, so leading to dissatisfaction with life
(Ha, 2006). Moreover, there is a tendency of respondents with low self-esteem
scores to have a general negative attitude toward many things, including other
people and personal circumstances (Mackinnon, 2015, p. 15).
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Low self-esteem has been linked to depression, aggression, less
competency to overcome difficulties and decreased level of well-being in
adolescence (Stavropoulos et al., 2015). Weber (2001) hypothesized that
college students who report emotional abuse are expected to have a lower self-
esteem than those who do not report emotional abuse. This hypothesis was
generally supported for male participants only.
Self-esteem was significantly and negatively correlated with internet
addiction (Aydin and Sari, 2011). Using a cross-sectional convenient national
sample of 23,532 Norwegians, Andreassen, Pallesen, and Griffiths (2016)
elucidated the addictive use of social media in reflecting a need to feed the
ego, i.e., narcissistic personality traits, and an attempt to inhibit a negative
self-evaluation, i.e., self-esteem.
The sociometer model maintained that subjectively experienced self-
esteem serves as “a psychological gauge or indicator” that allows people to
efficiently monitor other’s reactions to them. Low self-esteem is
conceptualized as an experiential indicator of social rejection (Leary,
Schreindorfer and Haupt, 1995; Leary, Tambor, Terdal and Downs, 1995).
The low self-esteem person is an individual whose global self-evaluation
is neutral, whose self-concept is uncertain and confused, who is highly
susceptible to, and dependent on, external self-relevant cues, and whose social
perceptions and behaviors reflect a cautious or conservative orientation
(Campbell and Lavallee, 1993).
Low self-esteem can be understood in terms of confusion or uncertainty in
self-knowledge, a cautious and self-protective approach to life, a shortage of
positive resources in the self, and a chronic internal conflict. They lack a clear,
consistent unified understanding of who they are, which leaves them at the
mercy of events and changing situations (Baumeister, 1993).
Lowered self-esteem frequently accompanies psychiatric disorders. It has
been suggested that low self-esteem is an etiological factor in many
psychiatric conditions as well as in suicidal individuals. With 957 psychiatric
patients, Silverstone, and Salsali (2003) found that all psychiatric patients
suffer some degree of lowered self-esteem. The lowest self-esteem was found
in patients with major depressive disorder, eating disorders, and substance
abuse. The authors concluded that there is a vicious cycle between self-esteem
and onset of psychiatric disorders (See also Murphy et al., 2005).
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Based on three studies, Donnellan, Trzesniewski, Robins, Moffitt, and
Capsi (2005) found a robust relation between low self-esteem and
externalizing problems (aggression, antisocial behavior, and delinquency).
This relation held for measures of self-esteem and externalizing problems
based on self-reports, teacher’s ratings, and parents’ ratings, and for
participants from different nationalities (United States and New Zealand), and
age groups (adolescents and college students). Using a sample of 1,209
Norwegian adolescents, Moksnes and Espnes (2012), found that self-esteem
was strongly and negatively associated with both state depression and state
Low level of self-esteem has been linked to behavioral problems and poor
school performance as well as serious behavioral problems as suicidal
tendencies, maladjustment, and leads to psychological problems such as
depression, social anxiety, loneliness, alienation, etc (Sharma and Agarwala,
Kempke, Luyten, Houdenhove, Goossens, Bekaert, and Wambeke (2011)
studied a sample of 192 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. They found
that self-esteem fully mediated the relationship between maladaptive
perfectionism and depression. This finding may have important implications
for the treatment and prevention of depression in these patients. As for the
prognosis, longitudinal studies suggest that low self-esteem predicts
depression later in life (Kamkar, Doyle and Markiewicz, 2012).
The most prominent explanations for the link between low self-esteem and
psychopathology are as follows: the vulnerability model (low self-esteem
increases the probability of psychopathology), and the scar model (low self-
esteem is a consequence of psychopathology rather than a cause) (Zeigler –
Hill, 2011).
Depression is used to describe a range of experiences from a slightly
noticeable and temporary mood decrease, as well as a mild of tiredness and
simple sadness, to the most profound state of apathy and severe symptoms of
anhedonia, depressed mood, as well as a set of correlated affective, cognitive,
and somatic symptoms.
According to the DSM5, the essential feature of a major depression is a
period of at least two week of suffering from depressed mood, loss of interest
or pleasure, significant weight loss, insomnia or hypersomnia, psychomotor
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agitation or retardation, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, diminished ability
to think or concentrate, and recurrent thoughts of death or a suicide attempt
(APA, 2013, pp. 160 161). The core symptoms of depression are the same
for children and adolescents as for adults.
Depression prevalence has increased in the last few decades, affecting
younger age groups. According to WHO, depression is the fourth leading
disease and by 2020 it is expected to reach the second place (Tripković, Roje,
Krnic, Nazor and Karin, 2015). Further, it is projected to be the leading cause
of the global burden of disease by the year 2030 (World Health Organization,
Childhood and adolescence depression have become a subject of
considerable studies over the past few decades. The clinical features of child
and adolescent depression are similar to those of adult depression. Children
cannot achieve their full potential if they are affected by emotional or mental
disturbances that hinder their success. Children experiencing emotional abuse
may experience depression and having low self-esteem. Parental behavior has
been reported to relate to a child’s self-esteem and is known to be as one of the
reactions or consequences of psychological maltreatment (Weber, 2001). An
extensive body of evidence supports the role of family processes in the
development, course and maintenance of depression in children and
adolescents (Sander and McCarty, 2005).
Self-esteem has been implicated as a vulnerability factor in the onset of
depression in the theoretical model of Beck (1967). Further, the role of self-
esteem has been salient in Brown and Harris’s (1978) psychosocial model of
depression. To understand the link between low self-esteem and depression,
Orth and Robins (2013) described several theoretical models concerning this
link. They concluded that the available evidence provides strong support for
the vulnerability model (low self-esteem contributes to depression), and
weaker support for the scar model (depression erodes self-esteem). Moreover,
the vulnerability model is robust and holds across gender, age, affective
cognitive versus somatic symptoms of depression.
Several studies have shown that increased negative thinking about the self
is a central feature of depression. It has been thoroughly demonstrated that
depressive people think negatively and report lower self-esteem than non
depressed controls. Likewise, several studies have suggested a combined
effect of low self-esteem (or negative cognitions about oneself) and family
functioning on the emergence of adolescent depression (Stavropoulos et al.,
2015). Statistically significant association between low self-esteem and
clinically significant depression was found (Tripković et al., 2015) (See also:
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Sharma and Agarwala, 2014). On the other hand, a positive view of the self,
i.e., self-esteem, plays a role in buffering the relation between negative events
and depressive symptoms.
There is a dark side of self-esteem. Baumeister, Smart, and Boden (1996)
suggested that people with high self-esteem are more likely to be conceited,
arrogant, or occasionally narcissistic. They expect to receive positive
evaluations from others; if they are provided with negative feedback, a
threatened ego motivates them to spend personal resources on coping with the
negative evaluations. Neff (2011) pointed out that pursuit of high self-esteem
can be problematic, can sometimes be counterproductive, and may involve
puffing the self up while putting others down.
High scores on self-esteem scales can result from narcissism a highly
inflated, grandiose view of oneself and one’s positive traits and competence,
conjoined with a sense of entitlement. Although separate measures of
narcissism and normal self-esteem correlate substantially, they have different
outcomes. Narcissism predicts aggression while normal self-esteem does not
(Mackinnon, 2015, pp. 14 – 15).
Some authors view narcissism as an extreme form of self-esteem, so
exaggerated self-esteem leads to narcissism and the search for unconditional
acceptance. Narcissists see themselves as the center of the universe; in the
mirror they only see themselves reflected. They see themselves as if they were
the only reality worthy of esteem, the rest being mere generators of their
supposed grandeur and worth. Narcissists are always talking about their
supposed greatness and worth, about their uncommon, marvelous experiences,
their extremely interesting projects, about how much they have done to
improve in life, and even to help others (Dolan, 2007, p. 71).
The essential feature of narcissistic personality disorder is a pervasive
pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, a grandiose sense of self-
importance, a belief that they are superior, special, or unique (APA, 2013, pp.
669 – 670).
Gerrard, Gibbons, Reis – Bergan, and Russell (2000) studied the self-
serving cognitions among people with high self-esteem who engage in unwise
or less optimal and risky health behavior, such as drinking, smoking, and
unprotected sex. They found that they often utilize a variety of self-serving
cognitive strategies and defensive self-justification and reactance that protect
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them fully acknowledging their vulnerability to the potential negative
consequences of their behavior. For example, they minimize their estimates of
personal risk and overestimate the prevalence of the risk behavior among their
peers. High self-esteem persons employ these strategies to cope with the
inconsistency between their behavior and their positive self-perception.
Terror management theory was the first empirically oriented theory to
address the question: What is the psychological function of self-esteem ?
Terror management theory posits that people are motivated to pursue positive
self-evaluations because self-esteem provides a buffer against the omnipresent
potential for anxiety engendered by the uniquely human awareness of
mortality. Therefore, self-esteem serves as anxiety buffering terror
management function (Pyszczynski, Greenberg, Solomon and Arndt, 2004).
This existential theory intends to explain two basic tendencies that are
thought to characterize human behavior: a desire to maintain a favorable self-
image, i.e., high self-esteem, and, at the same time, a desire to promote the
beliefs and values of one’s culture. Self-esteem and culture worldviews
function as anxiety buffers to protect the individual from the existential terror
or anxiety that is endangered by awareness of the inevitability of death and the
extinction of one’s culture. It is through the mechanism of self-esteem that
culture buffers or reduces existential anxiety associated with death and dying
(Greenberg, Solomon and Pyszczynski, 1997).
Terror management theory posits both the universal and the cultural
specific aspects of self-esteem. On the one hand, the need for self-esteem in
the service of anxiety reduction is universal. On the other hand, the specific
manner by which self-esteem is acquired and maintained depends on the
demands of a particular social milieu at any given point in time (Wang and
Ollendick, 2001).
Culture shapes various aspects of the self: how people view themselves,
what they strive to be, and when they feel good (or bad) about themselves
(Tsai et al., 2001). The North American and Western European view the self
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as an independent, autonomous, self-contained entity composed of a unique set
of attributes (traits, feelings, values, etc.). These attributes determine and
explain a person’s behavior (Marcus and Kitayama, 1991). In this culture,
where is individualism is prized, the culture urges individuals to view
themselves as independently functioning agents. People who embrace an
independent view of self tend to have a sense of identity that is anchored in its
internal attributes and is viewed as the source of action and the center of
control. Independent view of self and self-esteem are positively correlated
(Heine and Lehman, 2004).
On the other hand, the cultural framework of interdependence
characterizes many Asian, African, and Hispanic collectivistic cultures
(Triandis, 1994). That is, the self cannot be separated from others and the
surrounding social context. Thus, the goal is not to become separate but to fit
in with others.
In an independent culture, high self-esteem derives from evidence that one
has distinguished oneself from others and is different and unique in some
positive sense. By contrast, in an interdependent culture, high self-esteem is a
function of good social relationships, a sense of fitting in, belonging, and to
minimize any sense of uniqueness or distinction (Glaus, 1999; Marcus and
Kitayama, 1994).
Interdependence are more strongly embraced by East Asians, particularly
Japanese. Research indicated that the vast majority of North Americans report
having high self-esteem. Japanese consistently have exhibited lower self-
esteem scores than North Americans (Heine and Lehman, 2004). In a large
scale study, the same authors have reached the conclusion that greater
exposure to Western culture leads to higher self-esteem.
Using a Chinese American sample, Tsai et al. (2001) found that cultural
orientation significantly predicted self-esteem above and beyond the
contribution of age, gender, grade point average, and socioeconomic status.
Although people from East Asian countries consistently report lower self-
esteem than do those from Western countries, the origins of this difference are
unclear. Cai, Brown, Deng, and Oakes (2007) found that Chinese participants
appraised themselves less positively than American participants on a cognitive
measure of self-evaluations, but cultural differences were absent on a measure
of affective self-regard. They found also that cultural differences in modesty
underlie cultural differences in cognitive self-evaluation.
Brown (2008) studied the beliefs about the importance and desirability of
self-esteem. He found that American students view self-esteem as desirable
and consequential, whereas Japanese students view self-esteem as desirable
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but not consequential. In a similar vein, university students from non-Western
culture (Nigeria and Nepale) tend to report higher academic but lower non-
academic self-esteem than their Western peers (Watkins, Akande, Cheng and
Regmi, 1996).
Some studies investigated self-esteem, socio-economic status, and urban-
rural residence associations. Housley, Martin, McCoy, Greenhouse, Stigger,
Chapin et al. (1987) found that for American urban girls, mean self-esteem of
upper economic status subjects was significantly higher than that of those at
the lower economic status. The self-esteem of upper economic status urban
girls was significantly higher than the self-esteem of their rural peers.
Houlihan, Fitzgerald, and O’Regan (1994) recruited 464 Irish adolescents.
They found that the females from the rural setting suffer significantly more
depressive symptomatology (22%), and poor self-esteem (68%) than the male
and urban participants. Tsai et al. (2001) stated that socioeconomic status has
been found to correlate with self-esteem, with individuals of higher social
class having more positive feelings about themselves than those of lower
social class.
Males typically report higher self-esteem than do females. A number of
studies suggest that boys and girls diverge in their primary source of self-
esteem, with girls being more influenced by relationships and boys being more
influenced by objective success (Heatherton and Wyland, 2003). Individuals
who achieve academically have higher self-esteem than those who do not
(Tsai et al., 2001). You, Shin, and Kim (2016) found that body image has
significant effects on both self-esteem and depression.
Sharaf, Thompson, and Walsh (2009) studied the protective effects of self-
esteem and family support on suicide risk behaviors among at-risk
adolescents. They found that family support moderated that impact of self-
esteem on suicide risk, and the ameliorating effect of self-esteem was stronger
among adolescents with low versus high family support.
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Most theories of self-esteem view it as a relatively stable personality trait.
Based on this perspective, self-esteem is stable because it slowly builds over
time through personal experiences, such as repeatedly succeeding at various
tasks or continually being valued by significant others. A number of studies,
however, assumed that self-esteem can momentarily manipulated or affected.
Therefore, self-esteem can be viewed as a “trait” as well as a “state”
(Heatherton and Wyland, 2003).
Greenier et al., (1995) stated that self-esteem instability is a dimension
distinct from level of self-esteem. Self-esteem instability refers to the
magnitude of short term fluctuations that people experience in their
contextually based feelings of self-worth. Among high self-esteem individuals,
self-esteem instability reflects fragility in one’s positive self-feelings, and is
associated with heightened tendencies to defend and promote these positive
self-feelings. On the other hand, among low self-esteem individuals, self-
esteem instability is related to various indices of psychological difficulties and
Thousands of research papers have published in the self-esteem subject
and many normal and abnormal variables have been correlated with it. Indeed,
much knowledge about self-esteem has been accumulated in the mainstream
Western industrialized culture. A less amount of research papers has been
published to compare Western and Asian, particularly Chinese and Japanese
samples, on self-esteem. However, the studies with the Arab participants are
scarce. The Arab countries have special characteristics regarding geography,
history, political conditions, economy, language, religions, culture, and child
rearing practices, among other factors. Further studies are needed to examine
the level, the underlying meanings, and the social and cultural contexts that
influence self-esteem among Arab participants, as well as its cultural
Regarding the assessment issue, a major problem inherent in the measures
of self-esteem is the extent to which self-reports are influenced by self-
presentational concerns (Heatherton and Wyland, 2003). The available
measures seem to be contaminated with social desirability.
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As Baumeister (1994) stated, people are guided by a strong, fundamental
desire for self-esteem. People claim credit for success but deny blame for
failures. They exaggerate and overestimate their abilities they
systematically choose to compare themselves with others who are less gifted
or worse off than themselves. They deny or conceal their shortcomings and
advertise their virtues and positive traits. They identify themselves with
successful groups and distance themselves from failing or stigmatized groups
(p. 84).
One solution to face the problem of responding to the self-esteem
measures according to social desirability, might be to use measures of
defensiveness to tease out the variance related to the self-report biases, such as
the Crowne and Marlowe Scale (1960). It is suggested to administer a social
desirability scale along with the self-esteem questionnaire. Then, it is hopeful
to reach a statistical formula to add a score of the social desirability scale to
the self-esteem measure to suppress the participant’s attempt to make
favorable impression. This proposed procedure is similar to the mathematical
correction of some clinical scales of the MMPI for defensiveness by adding a
fraction of the K and L validity scores to the clinical scales.
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Preface vii
Chapter 1 Introduction to the Psychology of Self-Esteem 1
Ahmed M. Abdel-Khalek
Chapter 2 Relationship between Self-Compassion, Self-Esteem
and Mental Health 25
Andrea Sági
Chapter 3 Relationship between Physical Activity, BMI,
Screen Time and Self-Esteem on Chilean Children 47
J. J. Muros, C. Cofre-Bolados, F. Zurita-Ortega and
E. Knox
Chapter 4 Self-Esteem and Consumer Behaviour 59
Natasha Pitfield
Chapter 5 Gender Differences in the Relationship between
Self-Esteem Varieties and Aggressiveness 75
Renata Marčič and Darja Kobal Grum
Chapter 6 The Influence of Self-Esteem and Peer Norms on
Substance Use among Hispanic Adolescents 107
Oladunni A. Oluwoye, Laura A. Nabors,
Robert A. Yockey and Angelica M. Hardee
Chapter 7 Self-Esteem and Its Relation with Family
Atmosphere and Reported Depression Among
Arab Adolescents 125
Ahmed M. Abdel-Khalek
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Chapter 8 Self-Esteem among Portuguese Migrants
in Switzerland 141
Ana Cristina Menezes Fonseca and Félix Neto
Chapter 9 Self-Esteem Implicit Association Test:
A State or Trait Measure? 159
Francesco Dentale and Claudio Barbaranelli
Chapter 10 Examining Self-Esteem, Stress, and Anxiety on
Marijuana Use Among Students at Historically Black
and Predominantly White Universities 177
Oladunni A. Oluwoye, Russell J. Fricano,
Jacob O. Oluwoye, Salam Khan and
Adetokunbo O. Ayokanmbi
Chapter 11 Charting a Course to Self-Esteem: Evidence from
Four Independent Studies Showing Elevated Self-
Esteem Following Participation in a 10-Day Voyage 195
Sarah Kafka, Jillian G. Hayhurst, Mike Boyes,
Damian Scarf, Ted Ruffman, Maurice Stringer
and John A. Hunter
Chapter 12 Improvement of Self-Esteem in Persons
with Dependency on Illicit Drugs After
Clinical Treatment 231
Saša Ucman and Darja Kobal Grum
Index 273
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... veTragakis (2003), benlik saygısını bir kişinin "kendisine ne kadar değer verdiğinin, sevdiğinin, onayladığının, takdir ettiğinin veya ödüllendirdiğinin" bir ölçüsü olarak ele almıştır. Benlik saygısı, genel benlik saygısı (insanların genellikle kendileri hakkında nasıl hissettiklerini temsil eden kişilik değişkeni); öz-değer duyguları (değerlilik olaylarına yönelik değerlendirici duygusal tepkiler); ve öz değerlendirme (yeteneklerin ve niteliklerin değerlendirilmesi) bileşenlerinden oluşmaktadır(Abdel-Khalek, 2016). Benlik saygısı hem bilişsel hem de duygusal bir durum olarak kavramsallaştırılabilir. Ayrıca genel benlik değeri ve ilişkili duygusal deneyimler hakkında bilişsel değerlendirmeleri kapsamaktadır(Yang, Xu, Chen, Shi, & Han, 2016).Bir kişinin benlik saygısı düzeyi, ya belirli bir alanda ya da bütüncül olarak onun bilişsel benlik değerlendirmesinin bir ürünüdür(Lachowicz-Tabaczek & Śniecińska, 2011). ...
Full-text available
Academic anxiety is caused by the educational environment that affects individuals cognitively, behaviorally, emotionally and somatically in a multidimensional structure that includes achieving success in their educational life, performing to express themselves and what they know in exams and scientific meetings, writing research and projects, and arranging interviews with individuals who are competent in the field. It can be defined as a state of tension accompanied by anxiety in educational setting. The aim of this study is to determine the role of attachment styles, self-esteem, cognitive distortions of university students in predicting academic anxiety. The research group of this study consists of students who continue their education in different departments of two different universities and are determined by convenient sampling method. Personal Information Form, Beck Anxiety Inventory, State Trait Anxiety Inventory, Perceived Stress Inventory, Three-Dimensional Attachment Styles Scale, Two-Dimensional Self-Esteem Scale and Cognitive Distortions Scale were used as data collection tools in the study. Within the scope of the research, exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, ındependent t test, Pearson correlation analysis and structural equation model analysis were performed. Data analysis was carried out using SPSS 24 and AMOS 24 package programs. The study consists of two stages. In the first stage, an academic anxiety scale was developed for university students. As a result of the analyzes, it was determined that the Academic Anxiety Scale is a valid and reliable measurement tool. According to the structural equation model analysis, the direct effects of secure and avoidant attachment style on academic anxiety were found to be insignificant. It was found that the indirect effect of secure attachment style on academic anxiety through self-esteem and cognitive distortions, also the indirect effect of avoidant attachment on academic anxiety through self-esteem and cognitive distortions were significant. It was determined that the anxious-ambivalent attachment style had both a direct effect on academic anxiety and an indirect effect on academic anxiety through self-esteem and cognitive distortions were significant. The findings were discussed based on the relevant literature and some suggestions were made for researchers and practitioners according to the results.
... Its role in psychological functioning has been investigated for more than a century. Self-esteem constructs have spawned a research literature of such magnitude and richness that it is impossible to summarize (Abdel, 2017). In this study, it can be seen that students can evaluate themselves. ...
p>Clinical learning greatly determines the quality of graduates in nursing education. In the clinical learning process students tend to be reluctant and afraid to ask questions and express opinions to lecturers and advisors, but students will be more courageous to ask and express opinions about the courses to other students. Peer learning is a learning strategy where students who have high absorption to become tutors for their friends who have not understood the material for a particular purpose and this method can be an alternative in clinical learning. The study aims to explore students experience on clinical nursing education with peer learning method. The research method which is utilized to develop the study was the qualitative method with phenomenology approach. The 8 participants in the research students collage base goal of research have been administered. The data analysis of taking interview from participant use Thematic Content Analysis. The data analysis reported that The Learning Experience, Self-Esteem, Leadership and Development of clinical skills. Peer learning can make students' knowledge grow, more independent, more initiative, more courageous, able to train leadership and improve clinical skills. To sum up, the development of strategy peer learning are able to enhance the skills of nursing students.</p
... Rosenberg (1989) defined self-esteem as a favorable or unfavorable attitude toward oneself. The SES was originally designed to assess adolescent global feelings of self-worth or self-acceptance, but it also has been widely used with adults with good results (Abdel-Khalek, 2016;Abdel-Khalek & Snyder, 2007). Because of problems in the translated versions of the SES (Cheng & Hamid, 1995), as well as problems in understanding the double negatives (Carver & Scheier, 2000, p. 47;Schriesheim & Hill, 1981), the five negatively-worded items of the SES were changed to affirmatively-worded items in the present Arabic version. ...
... People who want to enhance themselves may experience more emotional fluctuation when faced with negative events (Brown, 2010). Under the influence of emotional fluctuation (Abdel-Khalek, 2016), consumers may act with a sense of vengeance (revenge, retaliation) against the company that provides them with a poor service or product (Vargo et al, 2019). For customers, vengeance can become an action aimed at punishing a company for the harm it has caused (Obeidat et al., 2017). ...
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The aims of this study were (a) to investigate the mediating role of vengeance in the relationship between self-enhancement and negative word-of-mouth (NWOM) intention, (b) to examine the moderated mediation role of helping other consumers, and (c) to test moderated moderation role of gender. The study employs Process Macro software to achieve research aims with the sample of 767 consumers. The results show that (a) vengeance has a partial mediating role in the relationship between self-enhancement and NWOM intention, (b) helping other consumers has a moderated mediation role in this indirect relationship, and (c) the moderated mediation role of helping other consumers is moderated by gender (difference for females) only in the effect of self-enhancement on vengeance. Research is important to understand the antecedents of NWOM.
... Self-esteem describes how much someone likes and values themselves [36] and might be one of the factors influencing the attitudes toward outgroups, including people with disabilities. The way one evaluates the ones around them can be viewed through the lens of self-esteem because others' evaluations begin with self-evaluation [6]. ...
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The present study explored children’s attitudes toward disability and the links with demographic factors (i.e., gender) and personal factors (i.e., empathy, sympathy, self-esteem). Our sample comprised 405 children aged 9 to 11 (M = 9.88, SD = 0.65, 47.4% males). First, we explored the links between self-esteem, empathy (cognitive and affective), and attitudes toward disability. Then, by using three scenarios involving a child in a wheelchair (Group 1), a child with an intellectual disability (Group 2), and a child with visual impairment (Group 3), we investigated the perceived competence and morality of these characters. The results suggested that cognitive empathy mediated the link between self-esteem and attitudes toward disability. Moreover, our data suggested that the character in a wheelchair (Group 1) received the highest scores regarding morality and competence, whereas the character with an intellectual disability (Group 2) received the lowest scores. We discuss the present findings regarding their practical implications for inclusive education strategies.
... Nearly one-third of students in our sample have low self-esteem, which is also more severe than in other contexts, such as Vietnam (19.4%) [54] and Saudi Arabia (23.4%) [55]. Such a difference was also pointed out by earlier studies that economic conditions would have a positive correlation with self-esteem of young adolescents [56]. Students in any given society with high per-capita income and low unemployment rate might be more optimistic and hopeful of obtaining a secure job after their graduation, leading to a high quality of life, and this may enhance their self-esteem [57]. ...
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The self-esteem of students may be significantly associated with their academic performance. However, past research in developing contexts on this issue is limited, particularly among early adolescents. Using a sample of 3101 students from rural primary and junior high schools in China, this study measured their self-esteem by the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) and explored its association with academic performance. Our findings indicate that students in rural China had both significantly lower self-esteem and a higher prevalence of low self-esteem when compared to past studies of similarly aged students both from urban China and internationally. Furthermore, there was a strong positive correlation between a student’s self-esteem and academic performance. A one-SD increase in RSES score (indicating better self-esteem) was associated with an increase of 0.12 SD in standardized math scores (p < 0.001), and students with low self-esteem (RSES score < 25) scored lower on math tests by 0.14 SD (p < 0.001), which were robust and consistent when employing the propensity score matching method. Our study expands the growing body of empirical evidence on the link between self-esteem and academic performance among rural youth in developing countries and emphasizes the need to improve their self-esteem with the aim of helping them achieve academically.
... Self-esteem is an evaluative component of the self-concept (Kulas, 1986;Kumar, 2017). It has been defined in many ways (Heatherton & Wyland, 2003;Abdel-Khalek, 2016). Some researchers view it as a generalized appraisal of the self (Dijksterhuis, 2004;Oleś & Drat-Ruszczak, 2008), which is the outcome of one's reflection on the degree to which one is recognized and accepted by the people one considers important (Leary & Baumeister, 2000;MacDonald et al., 2003). ...
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The problem of the present study was defined as follows: What personality characteristics were predictors of emotion understanding and self-esteem in students of visual arts high schools and general education high schools. The problems discussed in this article have important implications for the effective functioning of artistically gifted youth in the school environment and for the optimization of their development in various areas of activity. Students of visual arts and general education high schools (N = 440) aged 15–18 (M = 16.88, SD = 0.81) in Poland were surveyed. The participants completed Costa and McCrae’s NEO-FFI, Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale (SES), and Matczak and Jaworowska’s Emotion Understanding Test (TRE). Enter regression analysis was conducted. The results showed that in the group of visual arts high school students neuroticism, extraversion, and conscientiousness were significant predictors of self-esteem, while neuroticism and openness to experience were predictors of emotion understanding. In the group of high school students who pursued a general edu- cation curriculum, self-esteem was statistically significantly predicted by neuroticism and conscientiousness. Significant predictors of emotion understanding in this group of students included neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, and agreeableness. These findings demonstrate that the students functioned differently in the school setting depending on the educational curriculum they were following. The results of the present study can be used to formulate practical educational guidelines.
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This study investigated the roles of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), self-esteem, and gender on deliberate self-harm in a sample of Sub-Saharan African youths. Six hundred (600) students drawn from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, participated in the study. They comprised 300 males and 300 females with the age range of 18-26 years (Mean age = 21.84, SD = 1.18years). Three instruments were employed for data collection: Adverse Childhood Experiences International Questionnaire (ACEs-IQ), Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale (RSES), and the Self Harm Inventory (SHI). Hierarchical multiple regression was employed for data analysis. Results showed that ACEs predicted increased deliberate self-harm (β =-.02, t (420) =-5.27, p<.001).Self-esteem negatively predicted deliberate self-harm (β=-.39, t (420)=-8.85), while gender did not predict deliberate self-harm (β =-.02, t(420)=-.49, p<.001). The findings suggest that the general public especially the parents and caregivers should be educated and sensitized on the negative impact of ACEs to help reduce and alleviate the occurrence of deliberate self-harm among youths. Strategies to inculcate a healthy sense of self among youths are also recommended.
Schools play a vital role in the acculturation process of newly migrated youth. Social and academic factors within school settings have been found to predict a wide variety of adaptation outcomes. Age and grade also impact the ways that school experiences can shape the post-migration adjustment trajectories of migrant youth. Negative school experiences can exacerbate prior trauma, whereas positive school experiences can play an important protective role in overcoming migration-related challenges and adjusting to a new cultural context. Emerging research also suggests that the school environment presents a valuable opportunity for service delivery, as students are readily accessible during the school day and so systemic barriers to engagement are reduced. Socio-emotional prevention and intervention can address migration trauma, foster resiliency, and help lead the way to acculturative and academic success. Teachers, counselors, coaches and mentors who engage with newcomer immigrant youth in schools can play a pivotal role in easing the migration transition by forming positive emotional attachments, linking to resources, and helping to navigate new systems. These professionals benefit from specialized training on the unique needs and best practices for supporting the learning, engagement, development, and adaptation of newcomer youth.
This systematic review aimed to understand the effects of self-esteem on risky sexual behavior (RSB) among adolescents and young adults. We followed the procedures outlined in the Cooper’s five-step approach, and used the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) 2020 reporting requirements. Published studies were identified using nine electronic databases. Studies were included based on (a) a focus on populations aged between 10 and 25 years; (b) an examination of the association between self-esteem-related factors, in line with RSB outcomes among adolescents and young adults; and (c) early sexual debut before 16 years, having multiple sex partners, and unprotected sex. In total, 11,216 studies were identified, of which nine studies met the inclusion criteria. All articles received high quality ratings. Despite methodological limitations, results showed that early sexual debut positively associated with self-esteem among female participants; condom use showed a negative association with lower self-esteem among female participants, while condom use decreased with decreasing self-esteem. Several sexual partners were found not to be associated with self-esteem. Intervention programs to increase the self-esteem of adolescents are recommended by educators to reduce risky sexual behavior among adolescents and young adults. Moreover, subsequent studies should develop instruments that assess self-esteem using subscales and educational programs that enhance healthy self-esteem development and correct sexual norms in peer groups and local communities. • KEY MESSAGE • Early sexual debut was positively associated with self-esteem, and condom use negatively associated with self-esteem among adolescents. • Intervention programs are recommended to establish healthy self-esteem and reduce risky sexual behavior among adolescents and young adults. • Future research should consider self-esteem as a pertinent aspect of sexual behaviors (e.g., physical pride, romantic capacity, and sexual autonomy).
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This study examined the association among body image, self-esteem, and body image and depression in a sample of 3658 Korean adolescents (male 53.4 %). The extant research on these relationships have been conducted primarily on samples from Western countries, where although thinness is similarly pursued findings have limited generalizability due to differences in societal context. Participants from South Korea completed assessment measures of body image, self-esteem, and depression. Hierarchical regression analyses were used across three BMI groups (underweight N = 1293, normal weight N = 1627, and overweight groups N = 486). Various group differences were found in the relationships. After controlling for covariates age, amounts of exercise and subjective perceptions of health, body image was found to have significant effects on both self-esteem and depression. Implications and future research directions based on the findings are discussed.
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Self esteem has become a household word. Teachers, parents, therapists, and others have focused efforts on boosting self-esteem, on the assumption that high self-esteem will cause many positive outcomes and benefits-an assumption that is critically evaluated in this review. Appraisal of the effects of self-esteem is complicated by several factors. Because many people with high self-esteem exaggerate their successes and good traits, we emphasize objective measures of outcomes. High self-esteem is also a heterogeneous category, encompassing people who frankly accept their good qualities along with narcissistic, defensive, and conceited individuals. The modest correlations between self-esteem and school performance do not indicate that high self-esteem leads to good performance. Instead, high self-esteem is partly the result of good school performance. Efforts to boost the self-esteem of pupils have not been shown to improve academic performance and may sometimes be counterproductive. Job performance in adults is sometimes related to self-esteem, although the correlations, vary widely, and the direction of causality has not been established. Occupational success may boost self-esteem rather than the reverse. Alternatively, self-esteem may be helpful only in some job contexts. Laboratory studies have generally failed to find that self-esteem causes good task performance, with the important exception that high self-esteem facilitates persistence after failure. People high in self-esteem claim to be more likable and attractive, to have better relationships, and to make better impressions on others than people with low self-esteem, but objective measures disconfirm most of these beliefs. Narcissists are charming at first but tend to alienate others eventually. Self-esteem has not been shown to predict the quality or duration of relationships. High self-esteem makes people more willing to speak up in groups and to criticize the group's approach. Leadership does not stem directly from self-esteem, but self-esteem may have indirect effects. Relative, to people with low self-esteem, those with high self-esteem show stronger in-group favoritism, which may increase prejudice and discrimination. Neither high nor low self-esteem is a direct cause, of violence. Narcissism leads,to increased aggression in retaliation, for wounded pride. Low self-esteem may contribute to externalizing behavior and delinquency, although some studies have found that there are no effects or that the effect of self-esteem vanishes when other variables are controlled. The highest and. lowest rates of cheating and bullying are found in different subcategories of high self-esteem. Self-esteem has a strong relation to happiness. Although the research has not clearly established causation, we are persuaded that high self-esteem does lead to greater happiness., Low self-esteem is more likely than high to lead to depression under some circumstances. Some studies support the buffer hypothesis, which is that high self-esteem mitigates the effects of stress, but other studies come to the opposite conclusion, indicating that I the negative effects of low self-esteem are, mainly felt in good times. Still others find that high self-esteem leads to happier outcomes regardless of stress or other circumstances. High self-esteem does not prevent children from smoking, drinking, taking drugs, or engaging in early sex. If anything high self-esteem fosters experimentation, which may increase early sexual activity or drinking, but in general effects of self-esteem are negligible. One important exception is that high self-esteem reduces the chances of bulimia in females. Overall, the benefits of high self-esteem fall into two categories: enhanced initiative and pleasant feelings. We have not found evidence that boosting self-esteem (by therapeutic, interventions or school programs) causes benefits. Our findings do not support continued widespread efforts to boost self-esteem in the hope that it will by itself foster improved outcomes. In view of the heterogeneity of high self-esteem, indiscriminate praise might just as easily promote narcissism, with its less desirable consequences. Instead, we recommend using praise to boost self-esteem as a reward for socially desirable behavior and self-improvement.
Self-esteem is a concept which everybody experiences, either positively or negatively, but there is some conceptual confusion in self-esteem theory and research arising from a failure to clearly distinguish between self-feelings and self-conceptions. This book addresses the issue by replicating past studies with analysis of original data and proposing a three-factor theory of self-sentiments consisting of self-esteem, self-efficacy and self activation.
In recent decades, psychologists have offered many speculations and hypotheses about people with low self-esteem. Perhaps they hate themselves. Perhaps they seek to distort things in a negative, pessimistic direction. Perhaps they are indifferent to praise and popularity. Perhaps they lack some key drive to succeed or to think well of themselves. Perhaps they are irrational and self-destructive. In the last two decades, however, a growing body of enlightening data on low self-esteem has allowed psychologists to move beyond the earlier, more speculative theories. One can begin to sort the welter of competing theories into a coherent set of empirically grounded conclusions.
Aim: Depression prevalence has increased in the last few decades, affecting younger age groups. The aim of this research was to determine the range of depression and low self-esteem in elementary school children in the city of Split. Testing was carried out at school and the sample comprised 1,549 children (714 boys and 832 girls, aged 13). Methods: Two psychological instruments were used: the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory (SEI) and the Children and Adolescent Depres-sion Scale (SDD). Results: The average value of scores obtained by SEI test was 17.8 for all tested children. No statistically significant difference was found be-tween boys and girls. It was found that 11.9% of children showed signs of clinically significant depression, and 16.2% showed signs of depression. Statistically significant association between low self-esteem and clinically significant depression was found. No statistically significant difference among boys and girls according to dimension of cognitive depression was found, whereas statistically significant level of emotional depression was higher in girls than boys. It was found that both dimensions of depression decreased proportionally with the increase of SEI test score values: cognitive and emotional dimension of depression. Conclusion: The results of this study show that it is necessary to provide early detection of emotional difficulties in order to prevent serious mental disorders.
This chapter discusses the role of social factors in ill health, with a particular focus on depression. Major life events increase the risk of most depressive disorders. In a longitudinal study carried out in the early 1980s of 400 mothers in Islington, 1 in 10 developed a depressive disorder within a year, and most of those had a severely threatening life event not long before. This chapter also summarises the three forms of meaning relevant for the aetiology of depression. First, the role-based meanings of severe events relate to traditional anthropological and sociological concerns. Second, the evolutionary-derived meanings show that the experience of humiliation following a severe event is critical in the development of depression. Finally, the memory-linked emotional schemas influence a person's vulnerability to events.