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J Genet Psychol. 1998 Sep;159(3):273-9.

Five-year-olds' behaviorally presented self-esteem: relations to self-perceptions and stability across a three-year period.

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  • 1University of Leuven, Belgium.


In this study (a) the connection between 5-year-olds' behaviorally presented self-esteem and their domain-specific self-perceptions and (b) the stability in behaviorally presented self-esteem across a 3-year period (between age 5 and age 8) were examined. The behavioral manifestations of self-esteem were rated by the children's teachers using the Behavioral Rating Scale of Presented Self-Esteem in Young Children (J. Haltiwanger & S. Harter, 1988). The children's domain-specific self-perceptions were assessed by the Pictorial Scale for Perceived Competence and Social Acceptance (S. Harter & R. Pike, 1984). Ninety-five 5-year-olds (50 boys and 45 girls) and their teachers participated. Follow-up data on behavioral self-esteem were available for 55 of the children (30 boys and 25 girls). The results showed, first, that 5-year-olds' presented self-esteem as rated by their teachers was positively and significantly related to the children's perceptions of competence, but not to their perceptions of social acceptance. Second, a high degree of stability in presented self-esteem was found between age 5 and age 8. Some implications of these results for educational practice are discussed.

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