Research Paper: Self-Esteem Issues

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¶ … adolescent self-esteem: the factors that cause or predict high and low self-esteem, some possible consequences of low self-esteem, and mechanisms that underlie change in self-esteem or reroute possible consequences of low self-esteem. Predictive factors fell into two large categories: parents and peers. Adolescents with Indulgent parents have equal or higher levels of self-esteem than adolescents with Authoritative parents, while adolescents with Authoritarian or Neglectful parents have the lowest self-esteem scores. Research reviewed dealt with possible negative consequences of low self-esteem: jealousy, aggression, antisocial behavior, and delinquency. Mechanisms that interrupt the linkage of poor early environment to low self-esteem to negative outcomes were described as resilience and protective factors, and included caring adults (teachers, pastors, church members), value placed on individual's contributions to the community, access to resources such as health-care facilities, normative expectations, positive role-modeling by adults, and clear and consistent boundaries.

Introduction

A definition of self-esteem that has stood the tests of time and productive research is implied in Rosenberg's (1965) statement: "When we speak of high self-esteem . . . we . . . simply mean that the individual respects himself, considers himself worthy . . . low self-esteem, on the other hand, implies self-rejection, self-dissatisfaction, self-contempt." The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, based on this conception, is still in frequent use -- nearly 50 years later.

Self-esteem is generally regarded as a relatively constant characteristic of an individual.. Assessments of self-esteem throughout individuals' life spans reveal that, on average, self-esteem is relatively high in childhood, decreases in adolescence (especially for girls), increases gradually throughout adulthood, and decreases considerably in old age. In spite of these general age differences, people tend to maintain the same ordering relative to one another; that is, individuals whose self-esteem is relatively high at one point in time will most likely have relatively high self-esteem years later (Robins & Trzesniewski, 2005).

Rew's (2005) discussion of adolescent self-esteem, which used a diagram linking background factors (such as family and peers) to personality characteristics (such as self-esteem) to outcomes (such as adaptive or maladaptive behaviors) suggested the following way of organizing this paper, which concerns issues or questions about adolescent self-esteem:

What factors cause or predict high and low self-esteem?

What are some possible consequences of low self-esteem?

What mechanisms underlie change in self-esteem or reroute possible consequences of low self-esteem?

Predictors

Two major classes of predictors impact self-esteem in adolescents: parents and peers (and media).

Parents

Probably the single most important predictor of a child's self-esteem is how parents interact with the child. Martinez and Garcia (2008) classified each child in their sample of adolescents into one of four groups -- Authoritative, Authoritarian, Indulgent, and Neglectful parents -- based on the child's report of how the parent related to him or her. (Definition of the groups is as follows: Authoritative -- parents are demanding but responsive; Indulgent -- parents are responsive but not demanding; Authoritarian -- parents are demanding but not responsive; Neglectful -- parents are nether demanding nor responsive.) Their study found that adolescents with Indulgent parents have equal or higher levels of self-esteem than adolescents with Authoritative parents, while adolescents with Authoritarian or Neglectful parents have the lowest self-esteem scores.

Peers

In adolescence, peers (and the media) rival parents as the major influence on self-esteem. Krayer, Ingledew, and Iphofen (2007) found that peers perform two roles, modeling appropriate or normative appearance and behavior and interpreting media representations of appearance and behavior. Krayer et al. explained their results in terms of Festinger's social comparison theory, which suggests that people process social information by comparing themselves to one another to establish similarities and differences. Kayer et al. noted that this information might be sought for a particular purpose or a person might be confronted with it. . Depending on the situation, different comparison appraisals might be employed for different purposes: to deflect threats, to learn from others or to evaluate one's standing in a group.

Another light is shed on the influence of peers when looking at the effects on self-esteem of being culturally different. Edwards and Romero (2008) explored the relationships among (a) stress due to discrimination -- described by the study sample as based on English fluency, immigration concerns, negative stereotypes, poverty, and skin color and expressed as prejudiced comments and negative actions; (b) coping strategies, and (c) self-esteem among youth (age 11-15 years) of Mexican descent youth. The researchers found that higher discrimination stress was associated with lower self-esteem; however, a high level of direct engagement coping strategies--… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Self-Esteem Issues.  (2010, July 19).  Retrieved December 11, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/self-esteem-issues/575832

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"Self-Esteem Issues."  Essaytown.com.  July 19, 2010.  Accessed December 11, 2019.
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