Summary / Abstract
Title: Self-esteem and mental health in early adolescence: development and gender differences
Synopsis: A longitudinal study of a general population (
age: 12, 13 and 14), wascarried out between 1990 and 1993 over 3 years in Lausanne (Switzerland). Several questionnaires, validated in French, were used:Perceived Competence Scale, Social Support Appraisal and a questionnaire on mental health developed in our research Unit. Weattempted to answer the following questions: Is there a global change in self-esteem during early adolescence? If so, does the wayin which the young person perceives himself vary according to the social and relational environment? What are the differencesbetween boys and girls in the development of self-esteem? What is the relation between self-esteem and mental health?
As tothe specific differences according to gender, results show that girls tend to have a poorer self-esteem than boys, whatever thedomains taken into consideration. Differences are more significant with reference to appearance and athletic performance. As far asthe development of self-esteem is concerned, there is no major change, notably when considering global perception. Results of afactor analysis underscore the fact that girls' self-esteem is more global and less differentiated by domain while boysseparate the scholastic and behavioral part of their experience from the social. Global self-esteem has more influence on the levelof depressive mood in girls than in boys.
Title: Self-esteem and mental health in early adolescence: development and gender differences
Synopsis: A longitudinal study of a general population ( n =219; M age: 12, 13 and 14), wascarried out between 1990 and 1993 over 3 years in Lausanne (Switzerland). Several questionnaires, validated in French, were used:Perceived Competence Scale, Social Support Appraisal and a questionnaire on mental health developed in our research Unit. Weattempted to answer the following questions: Is there a global change in self-esteem during early adolescence? If so, does the wayin which the young person perceives himself vary according to the social and relational environment? What are the differencesbetween boys and girls in the development of self-esteem? What is the relation between self-esteem and mental health? As tothe specific differences according to gender, results show that girls tend to have a poorer self-esteem than boys, whatever thedomains taken into consideration. Differences are more significant with reference to appearance and athletic performance. As far asthe development of self-esteem is concerned, there is no major change, notably when considering global perception. Results of afactor analysis underscore the fact that girls' self-esteem is more global and less differentiated by domain while boysseparate the scholastic and behavioral part of their experience from the social. Global self-esteem has more influence on the levelof depressive mood in girls than in boys.
Related links for: Self-esteem and mental health in early adolescence: development and gender differences
Additional keywords for: Self-esteem and mental health in early adolescence: development and gender differences
journal adolescence 1996 19 233 245 self esteem mental health early adolescence development gender differences monique bolognini bernard plancherel walter bettschart olivier halfon longitudinal study general population n 219 m age 12 13 14 carried 1990 1993 3 years lausanne switzerland questionnaires validated french perceived competence scale social support appraisal questionnaire mental health developed research unit attempted answer questions global change self esteem early adolescence young person perceives vary social relational environment differences boys girls development self esteem relation self esteem mental health specific differences gender results show girls tend poorer self esteem boys domains taken consideration differences significant reference appearance athletic performance far development self esteem concerned major change notably considering global perception results factor analysis underscore fact girls self esteem global differentiated domain boys separate scholastic behavioral experience social global self esteem influence level depressive mood girls boys 1996 association professionals services adolescents introduction concept self esteem definition rosenberg 1979 1986 refers person feeling self worth historically two important contributions development definition self esteem james 1890 cooley 1902 notion self esteem different two theorists james self esteem calls self love related ratio aspirations successes level person success high higher aspirations person self esteem high aspirations level success self esteem low cooley hand considers selfesteem socially determined looking glass self found looking mirror opinion held significant subject held high esteem high self esteem subject hearing expressions little esteem integrate negative opinions perception self develop low selfesteem reprint requests correspondence addressed m bolognini service universitaire de psychiatrie de l enfant et de l adolescent 25a rue du bugnon ch 1005 lausanne switzerland m bolognini sociologist b plancherel psychologist statistician w bettschart o halfon psychiatrists 0140 1971 96 03023313 18 00 0 1996 association professionals services adolescents 234 m bolognini et al past decades studies done self esteem developed relationship mental health studies look self esteem broader subject concept self l e ´ cuyer 1994 harter numerous theoretical works research studies 1982 1985 1986 1993 attempted explain self esteem reference two historical theories james cooley mentioned shown james hypotheses readily confirmed researchers come results tesser campbell 1983 glick zigler 1985 markus nurius 1986 higgins 1987 1991 harter studies bring definite connection self esteem social support anticipated cooley model reference four sources potential support parents teachers classmates close friends adolescents lowest level support report lowest self esteem receiving support hold self highest regard harter 1990 1993 discussion development self esteem early adolescence words said period life transition period young person re define areas firstly experiences changes body puberty mental abilities social relationships family friends secondly early adolescence period young person begins pay attention introspection plays important role reasonable expect changes evaluation self time considers areas social experience family peers society broad sense word thirdly period gender role intensification boys girls pressured adopt differences interests domain values activities hills lynch 1983 eccles 1987 fourthly early adolescence coincides time important choices concerning school courses career extra curricular leisure time activities life style attitudes tobacco drugs alcohol choices social relationships friendships sexual behaviour reasons early adolescence time hand founded self esteem necessary order enable person make adequate choices hand self esteem liable fluctuation empirical studies development self esteem early adolescence give clear consistent results recent works wylie 1979 hirsch dubois 1991 alsaker olweus 1993 conclude mean change self esteem early adolescence report positive offer et al 1981 o malley bachman 1983 nottelman 1987 negative simmons et al 1973 simmons blyth 1987 development studies brought relationship health selfesteem noting importance respect depressive states pfeffer 1986 rutter 1986 1988 baumeister 1990 harter jackson 1994 concerning gender differences research agrees girls lower self esteem males early adolescence rosenberg simmons 1975 kawash 1982 brack et al 1988 block robins 1993 boys better self esteem obvious domains athletic competence rodriguez tome et al 1993 case social cognitive competences researchers found interaction age gender early adolescence basis differences age onset puberty petersen taylor 1980 simmons et al 1983 stattin magnusson 1990 assuming james cooley theories complementary contradictory evaluated self esteem adolescence respect subject perception appraisal social support environment attempt made 235 self esteem mental health early adolescence evaluate model developed harter 1993 social support conditional i e admired extent meets expectations basis theories james cooley data obtained community sample early adolescents try answer questions change selfesteem noted early adolescence b differences observed boys girls development self esteem c relationship self esteem mental health relationship evolve d role played social support relationship self esteem mental health population research questions carried financial support fonds national suisse de la recherche scientifique swiss national fund scientific research 1 study done community population french speaking swiss adolescents evaluated longitudinally ages 12 13 14 years 2 total 219 subjects 111 girls 108 boys average age first evaluation 12 5 years method evaluation carried means self report questionnaires filled students 2 h period class supervised researchers team questionnaires pre tested population age research covered broader theme stress protective factors early adolescence bolognini et al 1992 plancherel et al 1992 nun ez et al 1993 present article looks data concerning self esteem social support mental health self esteem evaluated harter questionnaire entitled i am like harter 1985 validated translated french pierrehumbert et al 1987 questionnaire time 1 1989 time 3 1991 evaluation comprised subscales scholastic competence athletic competence social acceptance behavioral conduct appearance global self worth social support measured means ss questionnaire social support appraisals developed vaux et al 1986 vaux 1988 specifically concerned subjective evaluation person respect relationships help expect questionnaire widely vaux reported results studies ten different groups adults adolescents translated french validated research team bettschart et al 1992 mental health measured means instrument created center supea questionnaire items concerning mental health factor analysis allowed identify three aspects mental health anxiety sleep disturbances depressive mood cf appendix cross validation questionnaire ghq 28 goldberg 1986 stai t spielberger krasner 1988 enabled assess 1 fnrs project ref 3 891 0 88 2 referred journal early adolescence period covers ages 10 14 longitudinal study subjects 12 14 representative period puberty changes school orientation options 236 m bolognini et al adequate psychometric properties subscales questionnaire times 1 2 3 evaluation results change time first stage research order measure development self esteem relation gender applied variance analysis effects time age 12 compared age 14 gender interaction two subscale questionnaire analysis underscores difference time self worth athletic competence behaviour see table 1 self esteem seen develop differently different subscales study ratings appearance social competence go scholastic competence ratings go athletic domains interaction effect seen self esteem definitely lower girls boys tends diminish time sexes global self worth tendency higher boys girls note mean scores behaviour change time significantly different boys girls relationships subscales factor analysis evaluate relationship subscales results table 2 analysis reveals single factor girls stability order factors times 1 2 behaviour related competence receives highest saturation athletic competence lowest boys factors fall two main groups behaviour scholastic competence covering social athletic competence table 1 variance analysis mean scores self esteem gender age years girls boys scale gender effect time effect interaction effect 12 3 11 3 17 self worth 14 2 95 3 21 12 3 06 3 15 social 14 2 93 3 03 12 2 75 3 00 appearance 14 2 60 2 94 12 2 68 2 70 school 14 2 76 2 85 12 2 57 3 02 athletic 14 2 67 2 89 12 2 97 2 85 behaviour 14 2 88 2 88 p0 10 p0 05 p0 01 p0 001 237 self esteem mental health early adolescence appearance high stability composition factors times 1 3 order factors reversed self esteem health seeking evaluate relationship self esteem mental health calculated correlation different subscales depressive mood see table 3a anxiety see table 3b table 3a shows particular significant correlation higher girls boys high global self worth correlations calculated respect anxiety symptoms cf table 3b results lower correlations depressive mood order measure effect self esteem mental health regrouped subjects three groups changes time 1 time 3 group 1 showed decrease self esteem group 2 exhibited unchanged self esteem group 3 increase self esteem table 4 shows subjects decreased selfesteem significantly higher mean scores depressive mood time 3 scales self esteem social support attempt answer fourth question developed model purpose test relationship self esteem mental health underlying hypothesis mediating role played social support based work harter model 1993 self esteem areas scholastic competence behaviour linked amount support received parents self esteem related appearance social competence athletics influences support received peers support parents peers affect global self worth turn influences mood general suicidal thinking particular suicide attempts investigated study variable replaced concerning depressive mood model applied lisrel simple path analysis structural equations latent variables proved inconclusive boys girls decided test new model time treating social support antecedent self esteem view preceding results see section relationship subscales expected sizeable difference boys girls prepared two separate models path analysis original variables social support family peers global table 2 factor analysis five subscales girls boys time 1 time 3 time 1 time 3 f f f1 f2 f1 f2 behaviour 0 756 behaviour 0 792 behaviour 0 862 athletic 0 832 social 0 704 social 0 782 school 0 840 social 0 768 school 0 645 appearance 0 764 social 0 776 appearance 0 684 appearance 0 608 school 0 758 athletic 0 677 behaviour 0 904 athletic 0 570 athletic 0 614 appearance 0 607 school 0 868 238 m bolognini et al self worth depressive mood self esteem calculated mean subscales concerning appearance athletic competence social acceptance behaviour scholastic achievement proceeded recursively modifying initial model adding arrows possible obtain c 2 probability higher 0 05 table 3a correlations self esteem depressive mood age years appearance social athletic girls boys girls boys girls boys 12 0 24 0 37 0 40 0 25 0 37 14 0 46 0 32 0 45 0 36 0 45 0 32 age years behaviour school self worth girls boys girls boys girls boys 12 0 21 0 35 0 26 0 45 0 53 0 57 14 0 52 0 30 0 41 0 28 0 45 0 39 mention significant correlations p 0 05 table 3b correlations self esteem anxious mood age years appearance social athletic girls boys girls boys girls boys 12 0 24 0 19 14 0 23 0 27 0 27 age years behaviour school self worth girls boys girls boys girls boys 12 0 28 0 31 0 24 0 43 14 0 38 0 32 0 35 0 54 0 33 mention significant correlations p 0 05 table 4 variance analysis depressive mood scores self esteem duncan multiple range test self esteem scales group 1 group 2 group 3 self esteem stable self esteem self esteem appearance 2 61 ab 2 34 2 20 b school 2 54 2 38 2 21 social 2 52 2 29 2 30 behaviour 2 67 ab 2 37 ac 2 07 bc athletic 2 51 2 35 2 21 self worth 2 63 ab 2 32 b 2 15 means superscript different significance level p 0 05 239 self esteem mental health early adolescence depressive mood selfesteem family selfesteem domains peers selfesteem domains family social support peers social support 0 323 0 327 0 302 0 585 0 171 0 309 0 094 0 214 figure 1a social support self esteem depressive mood boys model goodness fit 0 97 adjusted goodness fit 0 98 root mean square residuals 0 06 c 2 10 04 p 0 123 depressive mood selfesteem family selfesteem domains peers selfesteem domains family social support peers social support 0 424 0 276 0 393 0 492 0 103 0 207 0 434 0 147 0 421 figure 1b social support self esteem depressive mood girls model goodness fit 0 97 adjusted goodness fit 0 88 root mean square residuals 0 05 c 2 9 62 p 0 087 model boys figure 1a adjustment require arrow connecting family self esteem domains fam self peer self esteem domains peerself simpler model girls figure 1b explained factor analysis results presented section entitled relationship subscales clearly shows greater relationship subscales girls boys two factors examined correspond two variables model noted adjusted model obtainable arrow connecting family social support peer self esteem effect friends support fam self comes lesser degree necessitate inclusion path order model adjusted model shows boys girls peer self effect global self worth depressive mood fam self lastly notes direct effect global self worth influence depressive mood boys 0 094 girls 0 434 discussion answers results suggest questions posed beginning far change self esteem concerned evolve significant early adolescence reference questions feeling satisfied 240 m bolognini et al life leading feeling satisfied oneself showing self esteem undergoes small changes results confirm previous research wylie 1979 hirsch rapkin 1987 marton et al 1988 alsaker olweus 1992 1993 statement true global feelings self worth strictly applied self esteem specific areas note interest changes take place ages 12 14 years areas social scholastic competence appearance changes self esteem area social competence result increasing importance peer relationships stage life consequently increased self criticism relationships meet young person aspirations noted decrease self esteem respect appearance related negatively experienced physical development nolen hoeksemy 1987 simmons blyth 1987 bolognini et al 1993 harter 1993 self esteem area scholastic competence american studies focusing children attitude school suggest general development related decline grades elementary school secondary school harter 1981 eccles midgley 1991 results point different conclusion showing positive perception scholastic ability age 14 age 12 3 explanation academic performance experienced negatively beginning stages new major subjects choosing new direction first dividing pupils levels streams end fifth year school young people grouped homogeneous streams 2 3 years likely feel comfortable scholastic performance working pace adapted individual potential question gender differences noted results research field classic stereotypes girls lower self esteem boys hand girls rate highly boys areas conduct social relations spite actual gender differences behaviour areas concerning obedience transgression rules data enable choose hypotheses put forth explain lower self esteem girls high aspirations low success rate james influence environment recent research reveals attributions favorable girls boys importance attached appearance girls puberty cultural values attributed masculinity transmitted socialization bariaud bourcet 1994 pertinently findings reveal girls domains self esteem clustered single factor boys separate harter refers two dimensions corresponding self adults parents teachers put expectations i e areas school behaviour corresponding self meets peer judgement appearance social athletic competences thought teenage subjects show differentiation time domains competence consequently correlation subscales decrease findings show first girls boys case pattern factors seen age 14 age 12 3 switzerland opposition american school system pupils streamed three different levels age 11 levels determine future possibilities vocational training higher education 241 self esteem mental health early adolescence considering early adolescence time transition type school centered close relationships sociability type purposeful achievements reached competition rivalry take priority establishing close friendships authors suggest goal directed achievements stimulate boys girls hill lynch 1983 petersen 1987 roberts et al 1990 boys fact develop identity different ways girls shown works miller 1976 chodorow 1978 gilligan 1982 studies suggest childhood boy identity developed process separation autonomy girl development person relationships self gilligan 1982 jordan 1991 natural expect different evaluations self esteem sex boys attaching importance achievements compare peers girls rating personal criteria ideals findings confirm early adolescent girls selfesteem global differentiated domain boys separate scholastic behavioral experience social question remains open girls lower self esteem leads single dimension fact self esteem global cause lower question course asked inversely boys third question outset study concerned relationship selfesteem mental health findings point important role played self esteem mental health correlation two confirms idea depressive mood anxiety two areas mental health investigated problems mentioned girls boys age 12 age 14 gender difference characteristic age contrasts situation noted years preceding boys tended problems girls bettschart henny 1978 difference interpreted circumspection looking problems internalized type occur frequently anyway girls boys contrast boys problems tend ones behaviour evaluated framework present study gathered information means selfreport questionnaires final question referred harter hypothesis mediating role social support self esteem mental health studies confirmed idea perception parental support form help love respect shown perceived young person associated positive self image perceived absence lack support associated negative image harter 1989 barber et al 1992 kellerhals et al 1992 fontaine 1993 model tested corresponding exactly harter tends widely accepted considers selfesteem effect feeling loved appreciated family circle follows line cooley mentioned difference two models explained type data fruitful two hypotheses retested objective data data obtained selfreport questionnaires case present study social support measured self report questionnaire answers risk influenced subject mood conclusion study follows line numerous works looked selfesteem advantage examining different hypotheses put forward researchers hypotheses little change time self esteem early adolescence recognizable differences girls boys 242 m bolognini et al self esteem related mental health depressive mood perceived social support important effect self esteem type variables able confirm harter model deems social support function performance model hand underscore fact girls self esteem global differentiated domain boys separate scholastic behavioral experience social global selfesteem harter calls feeling self worth influence level depressive mood girls boys future research needed support findings references alsaker f d olweus d 1992 stability global self evaluation early adolescence cohort longitudinal study journal research adolescence 2 123 145 alsaker f d olweus d 1993 global self evaluations perceived instability self early adolescence cohort longitudinal study scandinavian journal psychology 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nightmares depressed mood i impression bored i sure i felt tired i felt stressed i energy i felt depressed scale 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 three variables created basis factorial analysis score values correspond mean sum items scores, com_apnet_jado_jado_1996_0022, KnowledgeStor, Knowledge-Stor,