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Exploding the Self-Esteem Myth
Scientific American On-Line ^ | January 2005 | Roy F. Baumeister, Jennifer D. Campbell, Joachim I. Krueger and Kathleen D. Vohs

Posted on 12/21/2004 3:08:58 PM PST by shrinkermd

SUMMARY: Boosting people's sense of self-worth has become a national preoccupation. Yet surprisingly, researchshows that such efforts are of little value in fostering academic progress or preventing undesirable behavior.

People intuitively recognize the importance of self-esteem to their psychological health, so it isn't particularly remarkable that most of us try to protect and enhance it in ourselves whenever possible. What is remarkable is that attention to self-esteem has become a communal concern, at least for Americans, who see a favorable opinion of oneself as the central psychological source from which all manner of positive outcomes spring.

The corollary, that low self-esteem lies at the root of individual and thus societal problems and dysfunctions, has sustained an ambitious social agenda for decades. Indeed, campaigns to raise people's sense of self-worth abound.

Consider what transpired in California in the late 1980s. Prodded by State Assemblyman John Vasconcellos, Governor George Deukmejian set up a task force on self-esteem and personal and social responsibility. Vasconcellos argued that raising self-esteem in young people would reduce crime, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, school underachievement and pollution. At one point, he even expressed the hope that these efforts would one day help balance the state budget, a prospect predicated on the observation that people with high self-regard earn more than others and thus pay more in taxes.

(Excerpt) Read more at sciam.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Extended News; Unclassified
KEYWORDS: bunk; education; esteem; mentalhealth; myth; psychology; science; self; selfesteem
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FYI. It is quite easy to put the cart before the horse but it does not work as well.
1 posted on 12/21/2004 3:08:58 PM PST by shrinkermd
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To: shrinkermd

The prisons are filled with men with "high self esteem."


2 posted on 12/21/2004 3:10:01 PM PST by Clemenza (Morford 2008: Not that there's anything wrong with it!)
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To: shrinkermd
Well, this makes me feel better about lack of self-esteem.
3 posted on 12/21/2004 3:10:15 PM PST by atomicpossum (I am the Cat that walks by himself, and all places are alike to me.)
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To: shrinkermd

People who are busy accomplishing something don't have time to worry about their self-esteem.


4 posted on 12/21/2004 3:13:52 PM PST by dirtboy (To make a pearl, you must first irritate an oyster)
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To: Clemenza

Paging Dr. James Dobson....


5 posted on 12/21/2004 3:15:30 PM PST by fishtank
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To: dirtboy

You said it right, my friend.


6 posted on 12/21/2004 3:17:34 PM PST by Rightone
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To: shrinkermd

They should have focused more on teaching childern personal responsibility instead of try to boost self esteem at any cost...

A little personal responsibility goes a long way.


7 posted on 12/21/2004 3:17:55 PM PST by Americanwolf (Diehard Packers Fan...Cheap hit on Ferguson 12.19.04 by Donvan Darius... No Christmas card for him!)
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To: shrinkermd
But what about EST? :-)
8 posted on 12/21/2004 3:21:06 PM PST by Jeff Gordon (Now is the time for all wise men to gloat. FOUR MORE YEARS,)
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To: shrinkermd
Self esteem comes from accomplishments. It starts in the home, from the parents.

Duh.

9 posted on 12/21/2004 3:23:14 PM PST by starfish923
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To: Clemenza
The prisons are filled with men with "high self esteem."

I beg to differ on this one. Most of the men I ever met in prison had a low opinion of themselves. Over half of them spent their days sleeping when not tending to whatever their work assignment was. The worst of the lot were the "model" inmates. It was my experience that recitivism was higher with the model inmates than it is with the smartass, refuse to be broken inmates. I was one of the latter. I refused to do one single thing expected of me and in my mind I looked at my final release date. The day THEY HAD TO LET ME GO , and never expected one day less. The inmates with a higher self worth always do better when released, regardless of their behavior while incarcerated.
10 posted on 12/21/2004 3:23:16 PM PST by speed_addiction (Ninja's last words, "Hey guys. Watch me just flip out on that big dude over there!")
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To: shrinkermd
I believe self-esteem stems from the ego whereas self-realization stems from connection to the divine...

Big Difference IMHO....

11 posted on 12/21/2004 3:24:21 PM PST by BossLady (A friend is one who has the same enemies as you have -- Abraham Lincoln)
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To: Clemenza
The prisons are filled with men with "high self esteem."

From the article: "For decades, psychologists believed that low self-esteem was an important cause of aggression. One of us (Baumeister) challenged that notion in 1996, when he reviewed assorted studies and concluded that perpetrators of aggression generally hold favorable and perhaps even inflated views of themselves."

12 posted on 12/21/2004 3:25:41 PM PST by randog (What the....?!)
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To: speed_addiction
The thugged-out kids in NYC, many of whom eventually go on to the State License Plate Factory in Ossining or Attica, exhibit considerable self-esteem in their early years. I guess a few years in the clink causes some of them to realize what pieces of sh-t many of them actually are.

A corrections officer once told me the same thing about "model prisoners."

Of course, the people with the lowest self-esteem tend to be junkies, dusters, and meth heads.

I think the main point is that self-esteem is something EARNED through hard work and good work, not "given" to us by limp-wristed teachers and counselors.

13 posted on 12/21/2004 3:28:19 PM PST by Clemenza (Morford 2008: Not that there's anything wrong with it!)
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To: shrinkermd

Self esteem always fails because no one can do well all the time.

Self acceptance is a more correct approach. The question changes from 'how am I doing?' to 'what am I doing and how can I perform better?'


14 posted on 12/21/2004 3:29:56 PM PST by Joe Bfstplk (We in the right are on the right.)
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To: shrinkermd
But imagine if a heightened sense of self-worth prompted some people to demand preferential treatment or to exploit their fellows.

This is exactly the kind of thinking that gives rise to monarchies, tyrants, and liberalism.

15 posted on 12/21/2004 3:31:41 PM PST by Noachian (A Democrat, by definition, is a Socialist.)
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To: shrinkermd
Gauging the value of self-esteem requires, first of all, a sensible way to measure it. Most investigators just ask people what they think of themselves.

My version of self-esteem: I hate myself a little less than I hate everyone else.

It works for me....

16 posted on 12/21/2004 3:34:18 PM PST by Cogadh na Sith (--Scots Gaelic: 'War or Peace'--)
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To: starfish923
Self esteem comes from accomplishments.

Ten years ago, I edited a book by psychologist (and former Ayn Rand lover) Nathaniel Branden, who is considered the "father of the self-esteem movement." And he said exactly what you said, self-esteem comes from accomplishments. Too bad the idiots who promulgated self-esteem in classrooms forgot to include that part and made it smarmy, feel-good idiocy instead.

The worst example I ever came upon was in an interview after the Los Angeles riots with a punk caught bashing innocent bystanders over the head with bricks. "Don't matter what I do, I'm a good person." Obviously that criminal was a product of feel-good self-esteem training in CA public schools. Today, there are millions of them out there, bricks in hand, waiting to demonstrate their high regard for themselves at the slightest provocation.

17 posted on 12/21/2004 3:36:23 PM PST by Veto! (Opinions freely dispensed as advice)
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To: Cogadh na Sith
Your method isn't bad.

Mine involves declaring myself the only true conservative while labelling everyone else as a communist, a RINO or a right-wing nutbar.

18 posted on 12/21/2004 3:37:04 PM PST by dirtboy (To make a pearl, you must first irritate an oyster)
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To: shrinkermd

bump for later reading


19 posted on 12/21/2004 3:37:07 PM PST by CincinnatiKid
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To: shrinkermd

Teachers generally should supply encouragement. They need not worry about self-esteem. Self-esteem, by definition, is self generated. Furthermore, the whole doctrine of happiness as static dimension is a bunch of horsepuckey.


20 posted on 12/21/2004 3:37:24 PM PST by JmyBryan
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To: Joe Bfstplk

There is a huge diffrence between pride and self esteem.


21 posted on 12/21/2004 3:37:26 PM PST by John Will
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To: Americanwolf
I think it all depends on how you achieve self-esteem.

Through personal responsibility or success.
Rather than merely wishing it were so.
Actualization is earned not requested.
Ill-gotten amour propre is as useless as a walking stick when hunting Lions.
22 posted on 12/21/2004 3:37:30 PM PST by Compos mentis (Caveat lector)
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To: Noachian

Right on. I've never bought into the self-esteem bunk--ever, we've raised three kids. I've been a Scoutmaster for many years. The thing that I tell the kids is to "DO good and you'll feel good" (there's a VERB in that quote). I can't think of any other way to say it.

Scriptures tell us that Jesus said to "put everyone before us". HUH?? Gee, THAT ought to confound them--good stuff! But then again, hardly anyone believes the Bible anyway so I'm just wasting breath there.


23 posted on 12/21/2004 3:40:14 PM PST by brushcop (American first, last, always--no hyphens here.)
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To: shrinkermd
"The War Against Boys"
by Christina Hoff Somers

An excellent read that completely debunks not only the self-esteem cult, but also the feminazi claim that girls are being left behind. The truth is that boys are falling dangerously behind in large part because of the anti-male cult.
24 posted on 12/21/2004 3:44:07 PM PST by Ghost of Philip Marlowe (I'm fresh out of tags. I'll pick some up tomorrow.)
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To: shrinkermd

bttt

read later


25 posted on 12/21/2004 3:44:53 PM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: Compos mentis

What you said...:)

I agree the false self esteem used by school boards etc...

Boosting grades so no one "fails" etc does no service to the child later in life when he/she faces the reality that there are times in life that you do fail... it is that failure and the subsequent recovery that truely build the self esteem... On of the great teachers of that...IMHO... Was for me the Navy... The are experts at breaking you will and self esteem in boot camp and then making you work to prove that you can over come an obstacle...


26 posted on 12/21/2004 3:45:07 PM PST by Americanwolf (Diehard Packers Fan...Cheap hit on Ferguson 12.19.04 by Donvan Darius... No Christmas card for him!)
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To: dirtboy
Mine involves declaring myself the only true conservative while labelling everyone else as a communist, a RINO or a right-wing nutbar

My self esteem is based on my accomplishments. I am proud of my service with 3rd Ranger Battallion and the decorations awarded to me. I am proud of my prowess as a lifelong martial artist and swordsman. I am in absolute awe of my skills as a motorcyclist. My failings (prison, divorce) I take the DU approach and blame someone else.
27 posted on 12/21/2004 3:52:22 PM PST by speed_addiction (Ninja's last words, "Hey guys. Watch me just flip out on that big dude over there!")
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To: shrinkermd
Some findings even suggest that artificially boosting self-esteem may lower subsequent performance.

Bingo! The key word: artificially.

28 posted on 12/21/2004 3:56:22 PM PST by NonValueAdded ("We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good" HRC 6/28/2004)
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To: speed_addiction

"My failings (prison, divorce) I take the DU approach and blame someone else."

hahaha...I was reading the other stuff you wrote and was thinking "man, he is full of himself"...

thanks for the laugh...


29 posted on 12/21/2004 3:56:58 PM PST by dakine
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To: shrinkermd

I believe in self-respect, the kind that must be earned by conducting oneself in a way that benefits society, not detracts from it.


30 posted on 12/21/2004 4:01:38 PM PST by Awestruck (The artist formerly known as Goodie D)
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To: brushcop
The thing that I tell the kids is to "DO good and you'll feel good"

I've found that children feel the best about themselves when they set out to accomplish something (whatever that may be) and follow it through until it's done.

It's something that carries over into adulthood, and helps shape a person's character.

31 posted on 12/21/2004 4:02:11 PM PST by Noachian (A Democrat, by definition, is a Socialist.)
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To: Veto!
Self esteem is an interesting thing--it's the direct appreciation of oneself.
The flip side of the coin is arrogance.

A BIG mistake people often make is considering a natural gift as an accomplishment, like beauty, natural brains or talents. HAS to be EARNED, with SOME effort, or it's pretty worthless.

32 posted on 12/21/2004 4:06:05 PM PST by starfish923
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To: Ghost of Philip Marlowe

Self esteem, self actualization,self realization, self image, self love, self ad nauseum. The problem is self. Exaltation of self. Some one, years ago said, "Deny self, take up the cross and follow me." Just until after the Christmas holidays, try taking your eyes off of self. See if that works. See Philipian 2:3.


33 posted on 12/21/2004 4:11:07 PM PST by Texas Songwriter (p)
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To: speed_addiction
Most of the men I ever met in prison had a low opinion of themselves.

Probably with good reason.
34 posted on 12/21/2004 4:12:56 PM PST by Logophile
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To: shrinkermd
Myth. Haw.

Somethings you have to dissect to find the flaw. Somethings you have peel off a couple layers before the BS becomes apparent. But somethings, as soon as you hear them, sheer commonsense reflex brings laughter to the lips and a clod in the hand to heave at the speaker.

35 posted on 12/21/2004 4:36:39 PM PST by William Terrell (Individuals can exist without government but government can't exist without individuals.)
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To: Texas Songwriter

Couldn't agree more. I believe it to be the original sin that is in each of us...the Self before G--. It's been the source of endless misery in the world, whether it is the path followed directly (radical individualism, indulgence, gratification, etc.) or indirectly (pursuing worldly power in the name of your G--, i.e., Islamofascism).


36 posted on 12/21/2004 4:36:40 PM PST by Ghost of Philip Marlowe (I'm fresh out of tags. I'll pick some up tomorrow.)
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To: shrinkermd
Self-esteem is useless.

Self-respect is priceless.

37 posted on 12/21/2004 4:54:04 PM PST by DuncanWaring (...and Freedom tastes of Reality)
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To: JmyBryan

"Teachers generally should supply encouragement. They need not worry about self-esteem."
Please consider that the teachers come from educational programs, and most of them have seen their brighter and higher achieving classmates go into more demanding programs at college and graduate levels. Thus there might be in teachers a well earned inferiority complex. If so, how could they provide any self-esteem that is not bogus?


38 posted on 12/21/2004 5:53:41 PM PST by GSlob
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To: shrinkermd

In Orthodox Christianity, self-esteem is one of the Eight Grevious Vices cataloged by St. John Cassian in a
work under that title which is included in the first volume of The Philokalia. (The other seven are familiar to Western Christians under the name 'Seven Deadly Sins'.)

The vice of self-esteem tends to make one mired in it uneducable (particularly in spiritual matters, but in my experience in academic matters as well).


39 posted on 12/21/2004 6:10:46 PM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know what this was)
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To: Clemenza
I think the main point is that self-esteem is something EARNED through hard work and good work, not "given" to us by limp-wristed teachers and counselors.

I disagree. Here's how I would word it:

I think the main point is that SELF RESPECT is something EARNED through hard work and good work, and self-esteem is "given" to us by limp-wristed teachers and counselors.

40 posted on 12/21/2004 6:15:39 PM PST by Balding_Eagle (Liberalism has metastasized into a dangerous neurosis which threatens the nation's security)
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To: Clemenza

Well said.


41 posted on 12/21/2004 6:35:52 PM PST by ml1954
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To: Americanwolf

SELF-ESTEEM Bogus


SELF-CONTROL Priceless


42 posted on 12/21/2004 6:40:39 PM PST by mlmr (Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! Merry Chri)
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To: shrinkermd
Trying to right inappropriate behavior or improve academic achievement by raising self-esteem is like trying to cause the sun to rise by increasing the heat and light in the room.
43 posted on 12/21/2004 6:42:13 PM PST by TChris (Most people's capability for inference is severely overestimated)
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To: secretagent

ping


44 posted on 12/21/2004 8:27:39 PM PST by jackbob
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To: Rightone

I've known too many people who have thought far far too well of themselves...


45 posted on 12/21/2004 8:32:06 PM PST by Bushbacker (ttlGe)
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To: kenth; CatoRenasci; Marie; PureSolace; Congressman Billybob; P.O.E.; cupcakes; Amelia; Diana; ...

46 posted on 12/22/2004 7:43:15 AM PST by Born Conservative (Entertainment is a thing of the past, today we've got television - Archie Bunker)
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IMHO, "self-esteem" = "pride", and isn't that one of the seven deadly sins?


47 posted on 12/22/2004 8:45:56 AM PST by P.O.E. (Thank you, Vets!)
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To: William Terrell
"...sheer commonsense reflex brings laughter to the lips and a clod in the hand to heave at the speaker"

or brings a heave to the lips in reflex action to the clod of a speaker....
48 posted on 12/22/2004 9:12:17 AM PST by The Spirit Of Allegiance (REMEMBER THE ALGOREAMO--relentlessly hammer on the TRUTH, like the Dems demand recounts)
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To: William Terrell
Somethings you have peel off a couple layers before the BS becomes apparent. But somethings, as soon as you hear them, sheer commonsense reflex brings laughter to the lips and a clod in the hand to heave at the speaker.

Clap Clap clap. Well said. Well said.
The emperors, have no clothes.

Truth be known, they fear the sting of your laugher more than the sting of your stone.

49 posted on 12/22/2004 7:54:28 PM PST by jokar (On line data base http://www.trackingthethreat.com/db/index.htm)
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To: dirtboy

People who are busy accomplishing something don't have time to worry about their self-esteem.

Good point. I haven't seen the self-esteem stuff that people think is so prevalent in at least ten years. I certainly haven't seen it in the schools in the 9 years I have taught. It is indeed a myth.


50 posted on 12/27/2004 2:13:42 PM PST by moog
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