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27-05-2019 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 8/2019 Open Access

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 8/2019

Change and Consistency of Self-Esteem in Early and Middle Adolescence in the Context of School Transition

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 8/2019
Marta Białecka-Pikul, Małgorzata Stępień-Nycz, Iwona Sikorska, Ewa Topolewska-Siedzik, Jan Cieciuch
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Self-esteem is continuous and has stable characteristics, but it may also change, e.g., during transitions from one educational level to the next. In a prospective cross-sectional study over a year and a half, 250 Polish early adolescents (N = 109, 54 girls; mean age at T1 = 12.68 years, SD = 0.49) and middle adolescents (N = 141, 107 girls; mean age at T1 = 15.80, SD = 0.44) were tested three times using Harter’s Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents, assessing both global self-esteem and self-evaluation in eight domains. The change and consistency of self-esteem were analyzed, at both group and individual levels. At the group level, the following results were found: (1) continuity of self-esteem in five domains (scholastic competence, athletic competence, physical appearance, close friendship, and romantic appeal) and in global self-esteem and discontinuity in only three domains (social acceptance, job competence, and behavioral conduct); (2) significant inter-individual variation in the change not explained by age; and (3) higher self-esteem (in five domains) in early adolescents. At the individual level, the stability in most domains was weak, but was restored over the second year at the new school. The complexity of the developmental change and consistency in self-esteem in adolescence was highlighted, emphasizing the need for analyzing both group and individual change.

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