Self-esteem has been described as the positive or negative attitudes and beliefs that a person holds about themselves, an evaluation of the emotional value and worth of self. Self-esteem is closely linked to social identity – by identifying with a group / gender, an association with the prestige and status of that group in society impacts on one’s own concept of self. The aim of this research is to establish if there is a gender difference between males and females on self-esteem. With the objective of understanding what if any gender difference exists on self esteem both actual and perceived, a number of University of Newcastle students were asked to participate in an online questionnaire. They recorded their responses when asked to imagine they are someone else. Sample consisted of 478 students, involving 235 males and 243 females. Participant were asked to complete an online survey responding to self-esteem inventory under 2 different conditions, (1) males and females imagining themselves to be someone of the same sex and (2) imagining they are the opposite sex. The data were analysed using SPSS. t-test has been conducted to find out the mean difference between the groups on self-esteem. From the results it can be seen that gender difference from the on self-esteem is statistically different.
As described by (APA, 2000) Self-esteem is stated to be the emotional evaluation of attitude towards the self that influences a persons mood and affects their behaviour. It has been recognised that self-esteem is an essential element of psychological wellbeing. It is thought to be a uniquely human experience in the development of the overall concept of self. For example the concept of self as outlined by Duval and Wicklund, (1972) in two catagories, subjective awareness where you know yourself to be an object like a Car or a phone is an object and the other a more subjective view of oneself. So making comparisons of who you are and how you would like to be. One of the main factors that differentiating humans from animals is the awareness of self: to form an identity and then attach a value to it. This is used to describe a person’s overall sense of self-worth or self-value. Self-esteem is often seen as a personality trait, which means that it tends to be stable and enduring. It can involve a variety of believes about the self, such as the appraisal about one’s own appearance, believes, emotions and behaviour. Self esteem encompasses beliefs and emotions such as triumph, despair, pride and shame. Self esteem is a very important factor that determines an individual’s personality. Emerging adulthood is extremely important stage in building up one’s own identity and esteem.
Healthy self-esteem is based on ability to assess ourselves accurately and still be accepting to who we are. There are different domains in self-esteem. This effects self-esteem and how it grows in an adolescent.
- Physical appearance: Appearance is more important to girls’ self-esteem than to boys’, with body image a strong predictor of global self-esteem in ladies compared to men (Allgood-Merten, Lewinsohn, & Hops (1990)). In teen years girls’ self-esteem is more vulnerable than boys because they are more concerned about their bodies. This if not corrected may lead in adulthood and may cause the lady to lose more weight.
- Athletics: Even among children who play sports boys’ tend to have more athletes self-esteem. They believe they are more competitive. Theoretical models support that males will score more in athletic self-esteem than on females.
- Academics: Females prepare more and perform better academically and receive better grades than their male peers (Pomerantz, Altermatt, & Saxon (2002).). But this is not always true, when boys’ outperform girls’ the lady self-esteem suffers but when females perform at a higher level their self-esteem does not increase. Even in gifted children it is seen that girls’ outperform boys’.
- Social Acceptance: friendships, social relationships and peer relations ships are very important to build self-esteem.
- Family: the family can play a major role in the development of self-esteem and can help in affirming a child’s worth.
- Personal Self: it is one’s own evaluation about one self apart from the physical body and relationship with others.
Studies show that there is difference in self-esteem between males and females during adolescence. The most common difference is that males tend to have a higher self-esteem through the teen age years and continue into adulthood. Generally speaking, when it tends to drop, male’s self-esteem will not drop as low as female self-esteem, and a males positive feelings about self are likely to be much more stronger than female self-esteem (Robins et.al.2002). Recent mete-analysis and studies, however, have found that male adolescents and young adults have higher self esteem than their female counter parts, although the difference is relatively small (Bachman et al. 2011; Feingold 1994; Kling et al. 1999; Robins et al. 2002).
Emerging adulthood is a phase between adolescence and full-fledge adulthood which encompasses late adolescence and early adulthood (Arnett 2000). Arnett suggest emerging adulthood is the distinct period between 18 to 25 years of age where they explore various possibilities of life. The environment or the place of residence in which they raised contribute profoundly to the development of self-esteem, which includes school, home, neighbourhood, church etc.
To verify gender difference on self-esteem among under graduate students.
- There will be significant gender difference on self- esteem among undergraduate students.
- There will be significant mean difference on self- esteem on the basis of place of residence.
- There will be significant mean difference on self- esteem on the basis of year of study.
Sample of the study consisted of 120 students, 60 males and 60 females, equally drawn from 2nd year and 3rd year undergraduate courses of arts and science colleges of Ernakulum District, Kerala. They belong to the age group of 19-21 years. The participants from Urban/Rural areas were equally included in the study.
The instrument used for the study is Rosenberg’s self- esteem scale (RSES) developed by Dr. Morris Rosenberg. It measures both the positive and negative feelings about the self. This is the most widely used scale to measure global self-esteem. All items are answered using a 4 point Likert scale format ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree. The Rosenberg self-esteem scale presented high ratings in reliability areas and is closely connected with the Coopersmith Self-esteem Inventory.
Data was analysed using SPSS. t-test has been done to find out the mean difference on self esteem between the male and female under graduate student.
RESULT AND DISCUSSION
In the present study the investigator has made an attempt to explore gender difference on self-esteem among under graduate students. The data obtained from the respondents were scored appropriately and analysed to draw a meaningful inference on the obtained data.
The scores of self esteem were analysed using the t-test to see if there is any considerable mean difference on the gender basis.
The results given indicate that there is significant gender difference on self esteem. It is also seen that adolescent girls seem to have higher self-esteem than boys. It is during this period of development, adolescent girls mainly build their self-esteem and self-concept. During late adolescence and early adulthood girls tend to develop a sense of self. In accordance to the culture it might be possible that girls to have a higher level of self-esteem. They seem to be highly confident about their appearance and the way they carry themselves. This result might be also due to the high maturity level of girls.
Researches show that there are quite a number of reasons to feel this way. Girls seem to perform academically higher and this may also cause a rise in self esteem. They also are seem to have a sense of accomplishment and are able to do things better than the rest. Boys on the other hand may feel inadequate in many areas. At this age, it is a time when young men try to find their way and create their identity. It is when they do not get such a chance and do not get the kind of respect and acceptance from the society that they feel negatively motivated and a decrease in the level of self-esteem.
The environmental conditions and the surroundings that we live in contribute a major role in our self-esteem. It is seen in the above table that the sample residing in the rural area has higher level of self-esteem than those from urban areas. This may be due to the life style difference in rural and urban residence. People residing in the rural areas seem to be having a higher level of self-esteem. There may be many factors to contribute to this finding. Facing the realities of life and getting to engage in daily life activities may be a cause. Nowadays living in the rural population is not as difficult as it used to be. People are average on socio economic status and are working on a day today basis. Modern gadgets are on a hike with the rural community. Those who belong to rural area are more effective and efficient in dealing with the opportunities and resources. This in turn helps them in being independent and developing a higher self-esteem.
The result can also be assigned due to the impaired social interaction opportunities of urban residents comparatively. t-test has been conducted to find out the difference in self esteem between 2nd and 3rd year undergraduates.
From the table it is evident that there exists no significant difference between 2nd and 3rd year undergraduate students selected for the study. Since they belong to the age group of 19-21 years, there is not much difference in their self-esteem. They may have a different perspective on the view of ideas but generally have the same level of self-esteem.
Hypothesis 1 is accepted as it is found that there exists a significant mean difference between the two groups on self-esteem. Hypothesis 2 is also accepted as the mean difference is significant. Hypothesis 3 is rejected as it was found that the mean difference is not significant.
The present study focuses on whether there exists any gender difference on self-esteem among undergraduate students. Factors like the residential area and year of study of the participant is also taken into account. Findings of this study suggest that, gender difference on self-esteem among undergraduate students is significant. There is a considerable difference as girls stand high in self esteem. There is also significant difference in self esteem among students who live in the rural and urban areas. Children from the rural areas have a higher self-esteem. It is also seen that there is no significant mean difference between 2nd and 3rd year students.
- Allgood-Merten, B., Lewinsohn, P. M., & Hops, H. (1990). Sex differences and adolescent Depression. Journal of abnormal psychology, 99, 55-63.
- American Psychatry Association (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental Disorders (4thed, text revision). Washington, DC: American Psychatry Association.
- Arnett, Jeffery Jenson (2000). “Emerging adulthood: a theory of development from the late teens” American Psychology.
- Bachman, J. G., O’ Malley, P. M., Freedman-Doan, P., & Donnelan, M. B. (2010). Adolesent Self-esteem: Difference by race, ethnicity, gender and age. Self and identity.
- Douvan, E.,Adelson, J. The Adolescent Experience. Wiley, New York; 1966.
- Hall, G .A. in: Adolescence. Vols. I & II. Prentice-Hall, ENGLEWOOD Cliffs, NJ; 1904.
- Kling, K. C., Hyde, J. S., Showers, c. J., & Buswell, B. N. (1999). Gender difference in self-esteem: A meta-analysis. Psychological bulletin, 125, 470-500.
- Pomerantz, E. M., Altermatt, E. R., & Saxon, L. J. (2002). Making the grade but feeling distressed: Gender differences in academic performances and internal distress. Journal of educational psychology, 94, 396-404 .
- Robins, R. W., Trzesniewski, K. H. Tracy, J. L., Gosling, S. D., & Potter, J. (2002). Global self-esteem across the life span. Psychology and Aging, 17, 423-434.
- Rosenburg, M. (1986). Self-concept from middle childhood to adolescence. In J. Suls & A.G. Greenwald (Eds), Psychological perspectives on the self (PP 107-136) Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum