Measures of Self-Concept

Measures of Self-Concept

Measures of Self-Concept

Measures of Self-Concept


Ruth C. Wylie's two volumes of The Self-Concept, published by Nebraska in 1974 and 1979, evaluated psychological and sociological studies of self-concept and self-esteem. Looking at a plethora of tests, Wylie found in 1974 that very few had been adequately conceived or implemented. Many produced results that were unverifiable or specious. Her findings had disturbing implications not only for the tests themselves but for substantive research based upon them. In the 1980s psychometric tests of self-concept have continued to proliferate. Wylie has continued to assess them.

Measures of Self-Concept briefly summarizes the psychometric criteria for self-concept tests, as fully discussed in Wylie's 1974 book, and the present general state of methodological adequacy of currently used earlier tests and some promising new ones still under development. Although Wylie still finds serious shortcomings, she notes a greater attempt today to increase and evaluate the validity of self-concept indices. This book presents detailed, up-to-date information about and psychometric evaluations of ten self-concept tests that appear to be the most meritorious candidates for current use and for further research and development. It is the first book since her 1974 volume to review specific as well as general measures of self-esteem for a range of ages from preschool to adult.


Because theoretical and research publications on the self-concept had burgeoned after 1949, I decided in 1970 that it would be useful to try to do two things: summarize standards of measurement and research design relevant to studies of self-conceptions, and review the extant studies in order to evaluate their interpretability in the light of these methodological criteria (Wylie, 1974, 1979).

With respect to measurement, I found that most of the purported self-concept indices had been used only once or a few times, precluding evaluation of their adequacy and interpretation of the results of studies based on them. However, a few instruments had been used in a good many studies and had been subjected to some, but not all, of the relevant psychometric technologies such as item analysis, factor analysis, and controls for response set. Fourteen of these instruments representing different formats and aimed at different aspects of self-conceptions were selected for detailed consideration in light of all relevant criteria for psychometric adequacy. The best of them had fulfilled quite a few of the requirements for psychometric adequacy, but several were judged to be seriously deficient and hence not to be recommended (Wylie, 1974).

Since the 1974 and 1979 reviews, the flood of research directed toward phenomenological or conscious self-conceptions has continued, and self-esteem in particular has been considered by both laypersons and professionals to be of great importance in . . .

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