Faculty Publications

Title

Women Construct Self-Esteem in their Own Terms: A Feminist Qualitative Study

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Feminism and Psychology

Volume

8

Issue

4

First Page

467

Last Page

489

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to explore the concept of self-esteem from adult women's perspectives. Based on qualitative interviews with 59 women, we found similar denotative definitions of self-esteem, but differing connotative views and experiences. The women identified three overall characteristics associated with high self-esteem (i.e. 'voice', 'self-perspective' and 'concern for others'), viewing them as interconnected rather than isolated variables. We found self-esteem to he a reflexive, context-specific process, which is changeable over the lifespan. The women's constructions of self-esteem as a complex phenomenon are in contrast to traditional androcentric and essentialist self-esteem scales in common usage. Their views of self-esteem were socially constructed in dialogue with their culture, other persons and themselves. Implications of taking such a social constructivist approach to studying self-esteem are discussed.

Original Publication Date

1-1-1998

DOI of published version

10.1177/0959353598084005

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