High Self-Esteem: a Negative Impact on Students

Topics: Self-esteem, Interpersonal relationship, Roy Baumeister Pages: 13 (4224 words) Published: February 28, 2011
High Self-Esteem: A Negative Impact on College Students

“You are special.” “You get an “A” for effort.” “Everyone is a winner.” The preceding phrases and many like them have been used in the recent decades in an attempt to boost self-esteem. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Columbia University, over 85% of American parents and nearly all parents surveyed in New York consider it important to reassure their children they are smart (Bronson. 1). But are 85% of adolescents truly smart? The American society has habitually accepted the constant praise as a means to ensure their youth do not sell themselves short. Due to the self-esteem movement, many guardians have made attempts to benefit their children’s future by patting their psyche. Anything potentially damaging to a child’s self-esteem has been dismissed. The same mindset holds true throughout youth sporting events. Coaches want to eliminate competition; so that everyone can feel like a winner. Many leagues have steered away from championship trophies in order to award participant trophies to all who contribute. Although self esteem has long been believed to provide positive benefits, new research contradicts this attitude. In reality, undeserved self-esteem does quite the opposite. Studies have shown that high levels of self-esteem can adversely affect a child’s future relationships. In addition, ventures to correct disciplinary problems through positive reinforcement have provided unfavorable results. Despite previous debates on the constructive effects of unmerited praise, it is apparent that high levels of self-esteem can cause college students academic, social, and behavioral lives to suffer. Understanding Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is a term used in psychology to describe the overall self-appraisal of an individual’s own worth. In other words, it is either a favorable or unfavorable attitude towards oneself. The term has been very widely utilized throughout both psychology and sociology. In fact, from 1970 to 2000, it is the third most occurring theme in psychological literature with over 15,000 scholarly articles written on self-esteem and its relationship to everything from sex to career advancement (Bronson. 1). In addition, more than 3,000 book titles on the Barnes & Noble Web site include the phrase “self-esteem” (Dent. 16). Many define self-esteem in different ways; however, there is general agreement that the term self-esteem includes cognitive, affective, and behavioral elements. It is cognitive as a person knowingly thinks about oneself and looks at the difference between their ideal self, the person one wishes to be, and the perceived self (Baumeister et all, “Exploding…” 84). The affective side refers to the emotions or feelings an individual has when considering that incongruity. The behavioral portions of self-esteem are evident in such behaviors as being assertive, resilient, decisive or respectful. Thus, it can be difficult to define because of these multiple dimensions. Self esteem has become a household word used by parents, coaches, teachers and therapists all in collaboration to boost it. Self-esteem can be universally recognized as being either high or low. However, it is important to find a sensible way to measure it.

The way in which self-esteem is measured is vital in terms of its accuracy. Many previous studies simply asked individuals what they thought of themselves. Today, on the other hand, researchers use different types of scales. The two most commonly utilized are the Rosenburg Self-Esteem Scale and the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory (Baumeister et all,”Exploding…” 84). Both types are used to measure feelings of worth or self acceptance. Nonetheless, they vary slightly. The Rosenburg scale has patients use a four point scale ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree” to rate ten different items (Baumeister et all, “Exploding…” 86). The Coopersmith Inventory, conversely,...
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