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Title: The measurement and definition of self-esteem : meta-research and a new way forward
Author: Pegler, Adam
ISNI:       0000 0004 7972 1133
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2018
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Self-esteem is a central research topic in psychology, but its measurement and definition have long been contentious topics. In this four-paper thesis, I investigate (1) the measurement of self-esteem in personality and social psychology, (2) the definition of self-esteem in personality and social psychology, (3) further explore the dimensionality of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES; Rosenberg, 1965), and (4) construct and initially validate a new two-item self-esteem scale. The first two papers of this thesis are meta-research. In the first paper, I extract detailed measurement information from 371 recently published research articles. I find that the RSES dominates the measurement of self-esteem in personality and social psychology. In the second paper, I analyse 117 definitions of self-esteem extracted from the same corpus of articles. I find that, while there is a lack of consensus on the definition of self-esteem, researchers most often define self-esteem narrowly as one's overall evaluation of his or her worth and/or value-a definition that is narrower than that which guided the construction of the RSES. In the third paper, to extend the research on its dimensionality, I recount, for the first time, the RSES's largely unknown transformation from a Guttman-type to Likert-type scale and explore item-level associations with variables theoretically linked to self-esteem. I find that the items of the RSES are heterogeneously correlated with perceptions of agency, communion, social status, inclusion, dominance, submission, agreeableness and quarrelsomeness; but not attachment anxiety or avoidance. In the fourth paper, with the problems of the RSES in mind, I report on the development and initial validation of a new self-esteem scale-the Worth and Value Self-Esteem Scale (WAVSES). This two-item scale is intended, above all, to be maximally content valid for self-esteem as it is narrowly defined in contemporary personality and social psychology.
Supervisor: Gregg, Aiden ; Hart, Claire Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available