Self-esteem among children and adolescents is a persistent topic discussed in both professional and popular arenas. In fact, gender differences in self-esteem during the teenage years are widely featured in popular stereotypes, and for some time, accepted without actual support from empirical evidence. The ambiguousness of such an extensively talked about topic leads to an unclear picture of how adolescents view themselves. The most common stereotype is that boys have higher self-esteem then girls (Wilgenbusch & Merrell, 1999). Girls are seen as weak and insecure; easily swayed by the mass media as well as their peers. But is this accurate? There have been numerous studies conducted to discover just that: is there a gender difference in self-esteem during adolescence?
To uncover the truth, many factors must be discussed. Firstly, clear definitions must be made in order to integrate multiple viewpoints on the topic. Self-esteem is commonly defined as an individual’s sense of self-worth (Baumeister, 1993; Bolognini, Plancherel, Bettschart, & Halfon, 1996; Ponsoda, Abad, Francis, & Hills, 2008) This perception of the self can include evaluations that are both positive and negative, and can also incorporate specific aspects of the self as well as a global sense of well-being (Quatman & Watson, 2001; Wilgenbusch & Merrell, 1999). Historically, higher levels of self-esteem have been associated with better coping skills, positive affect, emotional stability, and an increased improvement in quality of life perceptions. On the other hand, lower levels of self-esteem have been known to encourage emotional and behavioral disorders such as anxiety, depression, and criminal behavior (Quatman & Watson, 2001). There are two different theories regarding the notion of self-esteem. One theory states that one’s self-esteem is based on the relationship between one’s personal goals/expectations and... [continues]
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