Research into The Power of Self Esteem

Effectiveness Of A Course In Self Esteem Enhancement

Dr K L Peat, Lecturer, University of Durham
Dr D A Wesson, Senior Lecturer, University of Northumbria

The following is a summary of a research paper using the Rosenberg Scale on transformative learning using The Power of Self Esteem course work as a case study. The Rosenberg Scale is a standard tool for measuring shifts in self perception.

Statistically, results show the course increased average participant self-esteem substantially and significantly, and that this increase was well maintained over a three-month period.

This research is a statistical evaluation of the Self Esteem Enhancement course first developed by Dr. K Bradford Brown in 1987. The research method uses the Rosenberg Scale, a common measure for self-esteem, with qualitative data from participant feedback at the close of the course and interviews with the same participants at monthly intervals after the course. Evalutation shows a significant change in Self Esteem among those taking the SEE course, as compared with the control group (trainee counsellors).

Both groups showed improved self-esteem over the test period although the control group tended to have higher self esteem initially.

It is noteworthy that despite the fact that the SEE group started lower, they ended up the same or higher than the control. The control group was made up of counsellors on a counsellor training course, and it is quite surprising to observe that SEE could match, much less exceed these outcomes, from a group with a non-professional sample.

Analysis of the individual items give clues to the specific effects of the SEE course. The largest improvement came in positive attitude and self-satisfaction, which are global attitudes. However all items except one improved significantly, the exception being “much to be proud of” which improves, but not statistically significantly – possibly because the course does not emphasis ‘competence’ as a primary basis for self-esteem. The sample reported some low initial self-respect and feeling ‘useless’, and both these factors improve significantly after SEE.

The following shifts of self perception were reported by participants:

• accepting themselves
• forgiving themselves for past errors
• accepting their fallibility
• increased self-confidence
• feeling stronger
• feeling empowered
• liking themselves
• trusting themselves
• valuing themselves
• being optimistic about the future
• being happier

Our next step will be to carry out interviews with further subjects to compare and expand these findings, and to continue to collect data.  Dr Peat intends to take samples from non-counsellor populations as a further control to see what a more normative population score would be for this scale.

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