Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Theology

The Development and Validation of a God-Centered Self-Esteem Scale

Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Theology

The Development and Validation of a God-Centered Self-Esteem Scale

Article excerpt

The present study was conducted to develop and validate a God-centered self-esteem scale that assesses an individual's evaluations of the self in the context of God's love, availability, and ability to help. Results showed that the newly-constructed God-centered self-esteem scale had acceptable psychometric properties in terms of internal consistency and correlations with known psychological correlates of self-esteem and predicted religious variables. God-centered self-esteem and self-esteem were moderately correlated, indicating distinctiveness while sharing conceptual overlaps. Further support for the distinctiveness of God-centered self-esteem could be observed from (a) items of its scale loading uniquely on a separate factor, (b) its differential pattern of correlations with the psychological and religious variables, and (c) its ability to provide incremental validity with respect to depression, hope, optimism, and stress, beyond self-esteem. Having shown good psychometric properties and practical utility, this new scale is worthy of further research.

Self-esteem is an important psychological construct that has garnered burgeoning amounts of attention in research from the 1960s to these recent times (Mruk, 2006). Rosenberg (1989/1965) defined self-esteem as an attitude or evaluative component of the self-concept and researchers have drawn upon this conceptualization to further examine different contexts in which self-esteem can be seen as well as how these are measured. For instance, Tajfel and Turner (1979) put forward the argument that the self-concept consists of two aspects--personal identity, which involves perceptions of the self as an individual, and social identity, which is derived from an individual's social group membership. Collective self-esteem is thus the attitude toward one's collective or social identity, and Luhtanen and Crocker (1992) developed a Collective Self-Esteem Scale to measure this aspect.

Different measures for self-esteem exist alongside its various conceptualisations. Among these, the Rosenberg (1989/1965) self-esteem scale is the most extensively used measure of self-esteem in social science research (Byrne, 1996). Further studies have shown that it may consist of more than the unidimensional aspect that Rosenberg first proposed; for instance, some researchers examining Rosenbergs scale have found two substantive interrelated but distinct dimensions of self-liking and self-competence (Tafarodi & Milne, 2002) or dimensions of positive and negative self-esteem (Owens, 1993). However, most researchers agree with the original conceptualisation of self-esteem as a unitary construct (Tafarodi, Marshall, & Milne, 2003) and the loading of positively- and negatively-worded items on separate factors is dismissed as artifactual (Tomas & Oliver, 1999).

The ability to define and measure self-esteem has facilitated the study of relationships between self-esteem and important psychological variables that are significant in daily life. Self-esteem has strong positive correlations with hope and optimism, as having a bright outlook in life facilitates persistence towards goals and can thus enhance one's self-worth and self-competency (Lyubomirsky, Tkach, & Dimatteo, 2006). Additionally, self-esteem is a protective resource that is inversely related to negative emotional symptoms such as depression (Murrell, Meeks, & Walker, 1991), anxiety (Greenberg et al., 1992), and stress (DeLongis, Folkman, & Lazarus, 1988). Thus, high self-esteem, in which one feels that he or she is a person of worth and respects him- or herself (Rosenberg, 1989/1965), is often linked to many positive outcomes in life.

Religion also has much to say about the self, as seen from how early psychologists examining religion emphasised its importance in deepening an understanding of the individual. One such psychologist is William James, who argued that "To the psychologist the religious propensities of man must be at least as interesting as any other of the facts pertaining to his mental constitutions" (1902/2002, p. …

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