Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

Piers Harris and Coopersmith Measure of Self-Esteem: A Comparative Analysis

Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

Piers Harris and Coopersmith Measure of Self-Esteem: A Comparative Analysis

Article excerpt

The purposes of this study were to see if the items from the Piers Harris Self Concept Scale and the Coopersmith Self Esteem Inventory had construct and predictive validity. Items used in this study were 50 items from the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory and 80 items from the Piers Harris Self-Concept Scale. Construct measures were obtained using 18 items from the Childrens' Semantic Differential providing measures of Self-Esteem, Idealized-Self and Empathic-Self- Concept. Ratings were obtained on all items on a five point scale from a sample of 381 children in grades 4-6 in suburban Boston schools. Each of the two tests were subjected to separate Principal Components Factor Analysis and Varimax Rotation. The three semantic differential measures were used in each of the two analyses. A multiple regression was made of the Piers; Harris and Coopersmith items that loaded substantially with the construct measures. The results of this analysis yielded only one item out of the 130 total for the Piers Harris and the Coopersmith which was a significant predictor of the Semantic Differential construct measures. This result questions the predictive and construct validity of the Piers Harris and Coopersmith measures.

Research on the variable of Self-esteem has proliferated in psychology, sociology, and education and is currently viewed as an expected output of educational programs (Joseph, 2004; Rosenberg, 1989; Yang & Fetsch, 2007). To evaluate self concept some states currendy use self concept tests as part of their statewide assessment programs. Self-esteem tests have also been used in a large number of educational research studies (e.g. Bachman, 1969; Bringle, Phillips, & Hudson, 2004; Cambra & Silvestre, 2003; Coopersmith, 1967; Coopersmith, & Gilberts, 1982; Lekarczyk and Hill, 1968; Lindsay, Dockrell, & Mackie, 2008; Mahaffy, 2004; and Rosenberg, 1965/1989).

The current literature is replete with studies which have focused on research in self-esteem in children and some examples are as follows: (1) Transitions in self-esteem development through elementary grades (Snape & Miller, 2008); (2) aggression effects (Diamantopoulou, Rydell, & Henricsson, 2008), bullying effects (Lindsay, Dockrell,& Mackie, (2008); effects of success or failure in learning (Toland & Boyle, 2008), parental control effects (Barber, & Harmon, 2002; & Lei, Swartz, Dodge and McBride-Chang, 2003); (3) effects of disabilites as visual impairment (Shapiro, Moffett, Lieberman, & Dummer), effects of emotional and behavioral difficulties (Harriss, Barlow & Moli, 2008); and obecity effects (Marsh, Hau,Sung, & Yu, 2007); (4) effects of judged competence and achievment (Guay, Marsh & Bolvin, 2003; Jacobs, Lanza, Osgood, Eccles, & Wigfield (2002) and (5)effects of giftedness (Preckel, Goetz, Pekrun & kleine, ;2008).

More than 200 self -esteem or self-concept measures have been reported in the literature (Bracken, 1996; Buros, 1972; Keim, & Bracken, 1996; Martinek, & Zaichkowsky, 1977; and Robinson and Shaver, 1969). For the most part these measures have not been validated against independent measures on theoretical constructs of self concept (Crowne and Stephens, 1961; Guindon, 2002; Wylie, 1961). At least three such constructs of self concept have been treated. These are: 1) the actualized or idealized self (Higgins, 1991; Guindon, 2002; Maslow, 1954; Rogers, 1951); 2) the empathic or looking glass self (Cooley, 1902; Guindon, 2002; Mead, 1934; Rogers, 1957); and 3) attitudes toward the self or self worth (e.g. Bringle, Phillips, & Hudson, 2004; Coopersmith, 1967; Guindon, 2002; Rosenberg, 1965). Before basing educational and research policies on measures made with these self concept tests it is important to see which if any of the general theoretical constructs of self concept these tests measure.

At least five self-esteem measures have been widely used to test self-esteem. …

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