Looking for self esteem research? While there has been a lot of research focused on self esteem there seems to be a lack of definitive research.
The National Association For Self Esteem (NASE) cites several reason for this:
1. There is little agreement on the definition of self esteem. Thus, it becomes difficult to compare self esteem research studies when the researchers are studying different aspects of self esteem.
2. There has been no agreement on standard measures of self esteem. Over 130 different measures have been used to measure self esteem. Few of these measures have any demonstrable reliability.
3. It becomes difficult to determine whether self esteem either causes the result observed or whether it contributes to other variables that result in particular behaviors or problems. For example, in spite of the hundreds of studies, cigarettes have not yet been clearly identified as the cause of cancer.
4. Most self esteem research studies have been conducted over such a short period of time, it is difficult to determine the long term effect.
5. Most measures of self esteem have tapped what is termed "global self esteem." Thus, the level of self esteem is affected by so many different factors it is almost impossible to isolate any single factor. Changes that affect one aspect of self esteem may not affect the other aspects.
6. The significant aspects of self esteem for students or adults constantly change as we mature. Thus, what seems to affect self esteem with some individuals has no effect on others because their self esteem is based on other variables.
7. It is difficult to measure the effects of self esteem because it is a basic attitude. This attitude affects motivation or behavior only when other other attitudes or conditions don't override its significance at that moment.
What are the different approaches to building self esteem? According to NASE :
There seem to be five different approaches to building self esteem in students. The most effective programs undoubtedly incorporate elements of each of these approaches, for we know that the change process requires that we address the intellectual, behavioral, and emotional levels of the individual. These approaches might be described as follows:
COGNITIVE APPROACH - This approach places the emphasis on developing positive mental attitudes, helping students to think about their feelings, and adopt healthier ways of interpreting or relating to the events that occur in their lives.
BEHAVIORAL APPROACH - This approach endeavors to develop specific functional behaviors in students so that they can display behaviors that command greater respect from others and self esteem in themselves. Such behaviors may relate to voice control, posture, eye contact, or expression of feelings.
EXPERIENTIAL APPROACH - This approach is perhaps the most common among the programs published. It provides positive experiences for students to build feelings of self respect and self esteem. Most of the activities and self esteem exercises rely on external sources of feedback and reinforcement.
SKILL DEVELOPMENT APPROACH - There are a number of programs that aim to build self esteem by improving the functional communication skills, decision making skills, or social skills of students. They base their programs on the concept that unless students actually function at a higher level, they are unable to sustain positive feelings about themselves.
ENVIRONMENTAL APPROACH - This approach is a more holistic approach that structures the environment and the activities students engage in to develop particular attitudes and skills that lead to healthy self esteem. It tends to address such aspects as discipline, social activities, goal setting, responsibility, and how adults interact with students.
For further Self Esteem Research consult the sources below. Note that each link will open a new window in your browser.
Self esteem research, theory, and practice: By Christopher J. Mruk.
The International Council on Self Esteem's website The council serves as a resource for anyone interested in research and training related to self esteem.
Another source for research is Wikapedia
The Coopersmith Self Esteem Inventory was developed through research to assess attitude toward oneself in general.
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It has many ideas and exercises to improve your self esteem.