high self-esteem and aggression

Patricia S. Bowne pbowne at omnifest.uwm.edu
Thu Feb 29 07:32:02 EST 1996

What are these tests for self-esteem really measuring?
I always liked the formula by (I think) William James,

"self-esteem = accomplishments/pretensions"

but most of the questionnaires I see referenced seem to
be measuring only pretensions. Is there any study which
investigates whether people really feel the confidence
they express, or whether these folks who consider themselves
above average are just blowing smoke in the hopes that
they can convince the researchers?

Also, Christina Hoff Summers in "Who Stole Feminism"
argues that the famous(?) study showing a drop in
self-esteem among girls in middle school in fact
reflected greater maturity among girls - that about that
time girls stopped believing they were going to become
rock stars and supermodels, while boys continued to
believe they would become sports stars and presidents.
Does anyone know more about this? Perhaps we need more 
attention to how this is measured across the board!

Pat Bowne

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