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Self-Esteem and Adolescent Problems: Modeling Reciprocal Effects
Morris Rosenberg, Carmi Schooler and Carrie Schoenbach
American Sociological Review
Vol. 54, No. 6 (Dec., 1989), pp. 1004-1018
Published by: American Sociological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095720
Page Count: 15
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Past research has treated self-esteem either as a social force or as a social product. However, this research has not given adequate attention to the reciprocal effects of the self-concept and various social and personal factors. A panel of 1886 adolescent boys is used to explore the reciprocal relationships between self-esteem and three problems of youth: juvenile delinquency; poor school performance; and psychological depression. We find that low self-esteem fosters delinquency and that delinquency may enhance self-esteem. These reciprocal effects differ among socioeconomic status groups. The relationship between self-esteem and school performance is primarily attributable to the effect of school performance on self-esteem. Finally, the causal relationship between self-esteem and depression is bidirectional. Substantive, methodological, and policy implications of these findings are discussed.
American Sociological Review © 1989 American Sociological Association