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Child Dev. 1998 Aug;69(4):1030-53.

Structure, stability, and development of young children's self-concepts: a multicohort-multioccasion study.

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Faculty of Education, University of Western Sydney, Campbelltown, NSW, Australia.


A new, individual administration procedure for assessing multiple dimensions of self-concept for young children 5-8 years of age (Marsh, Craven, & Debus) was the basis of this study. We expanded this application in a multicohort-multioccasion (MCMO) study that provides simultaneous multicohort comparisons (cross-sectional comparisons of different age cohorts) and longitudinal comparisons of the same children on multiple occasions. There was reasonable support for predictions that reliability, stability, factor structure, and the distinctiveness of the SDQ factors would improve with age (a between-group age cohort comparison) and from 1 year to the next (a longitudinal comparison), and that small gender differences were reasonably stable over age. Consistent with the proposal that children's self-perceptions become more realistic with age, Time 1 (T1) teacher ratings were more highly correlated with student self-ratings at T2 than T1 and contributed to the prediction of T2 self-concept beyond effects mediated by T1 self-concepts. The results support and expand the surprisingly good support for the multidimensionality of self-concept responses for very young children using this procedure.

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