A Study Of The Self Concepts Of Primary Aged Children

Carroll, Robert (1984). A Study Of The Self Concepts Of Primary Aged Children. MPhil thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f93b


This study is concerned with the self-concepts of primary aged children. Consideration is given in Part 1 to self theory in general and a theoretical examination of the development of self-concepts in children and the problems of self-concept measurement.

The second part of the study reports on a factor analytical construction of a self-concept scale. The final version of the scale contains 21 items and assesses five specific self-concepts: behavioural, social, general school, academic and parental. A global self-concept score is obtained by summing the scores on the 5 subscales.

A sample of 742 children ranging in age from 7 to 11 years old, completed the scale. Significant age differences were apparent in that the youngest children had the highest global, behavioural and parental self scores and also the lowest general school and academic self scores. Significant sex differences were found in that girls had higher scores than boys on the global, behavioural and parental self scales, but lower scores on the general school scale. No sex difference was observed for social or academic self.

The effect of social class, peer status, ability group, relative ability group, siblings and family position was investigated with respect to the self-concept scores. Significant differences were found in:

1. global self-concept for relative ability
2. social self-concept for peer status, ability group and relative ability group
3. general school self-concept for social class
4. academic self-concept for peer status, ability group and relative ability group.

No significant results were obtained for behavioural and parental self-concepts with respect to any of the selected variables.

Finally, the use of specific self-concept scales is advocated rather than global self-concept scales. Measures of "relative" ability, rather than "absolute" ability, are considered to be important for future self-concept research in the area of academic achievement.

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