Self-esteem is a widely used measure in educational and psychological research. It provides a measure of an individual’s perception of their own value or worth. Self-esteem refers to how an individual feels about himself or herself. When children feel good about themselves, they are better able to resist negative influences in their lives. Positive self-esteem enables children to grow up and be happy, responsible, and contributing adults (Cripe, 1999). Higher levels of self-esteem in adolescents have been found to relate to lower levels of acting out behaviors, lower levels of depression and anxiety, and better relations with peers and adults (McKnight et al. 2002; Thomson, 2007).  Ratings of self esteem are typically obtained from self-report questionnaires, which may be administered at regular intervals (quarterly, for example).

At the individual level, performance may be monitored by comparing pretest scores with follow-up scores to determine whether responses on this indicator are moving in the desired direction. At the program level, performance may be monitored by comparing the percent of participants with high self esteem, with percents obtained on the same indicator at later intervals. Change over time for the current cohort may also be compared with that of previous cohorts, to further gauge levels of program effectiveness.

If this indicator does not appear to be improving at the individual or aggregate level during the course of the program, program managers may want to assess problems related to program design, implementation, and quality.

By ChildTrends

Surveys / Assessments


Sources Cited

Cripe, B. (1999). Building self-esteem. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University.

McKnight, C.G., Huebner, E.S., and Suldo, S.M. (2002). Relationships among stressful life events, temperament, problem behavior, and global life satisfaction in adolescents.  Psychology in the Schools, 39,677-687.

Thomson, K. (2010). Promoting positive development in middle childhood: The influence of child characteristics, parents, schools, and neighbourhoods. The University of British Columbia, Vancouver.