Conceiving or Misconceiving the Self: Issues in Adolescent Self-Esteem

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
David H. Demo, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: An individual cannot touch, smell, taste, hear, or see self-esteem. The self is not a "natural" phenomenon and is thus not accessible to the same kinds of scientific inquiry and measurement as are natural psychological constructs that are observable (e.g., human motor behavior). Self-esteem is nonsensical-cannot be measured through sensory data collection-and hence imaginary (Berlow, personal communication); as a result, an individual's self-esteem must be inferred, either by an individual's report of his/her sense of self (experienced self) or by others reporting the individual's self-esteem (presented self). But the social science community has too readily accepted an individual's personal self-report of self-esteem as natural fact. The guiding, and unquestioned assumption has been that the individual alone has access to the self. Who are we as outsiders to question this source of data? Few self-esteem researchers have used "others" to infer self-esteem-and thus they have relatively little knowledge of the validity of their self-report data (Wells & Marwell, 1976).

Additional Information

Journal of Early Adolescence, 3, 121-140.
Language: English
Date: 1983
Adolescent self image, Self-esteem, Inference, Evaluation

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