William James explicated the concept of self-esteem in 1890 when he posited that the relationship between one’s expectations for oneself and the experience of successes in life contribute to variations in self-esteem. Self-esteem (i.e., self-concept, self-worth) is often regarded as the positive or negative subjective emotional evaluation of one’s abilities, skills, and general qualities that motivates thoughts and behaviors. Self-esteem can be measured by various self-report instruments, and high and low levels are associated with a range of different developmental circumstances. While it is thought to be a relatively stable personality characteristic, temporary fluctuations in self-esteem can occur. Self-esteem is a significant predictor of outcomes across the lifespan, such as academic attainment, employment trajectory, satisfaction with interpersonal relationships, and overall happiness. This entry discusses relevant ...

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