Self-Esteem

Scale: Self-Esteem Questionnaire – Global Self-Worth Scale

What it measures:

  • A youth’s level of global self-esteem.

Intended age range: 8- to 18-year-olds.

Brief description: The Global Self-Worth Scale is a subscale of the Self-Esteem Questionnaire, which measures 5 contextual dimensions of self-esteem (e.g., peer relations, family, sports/athletics) in addition to global self-esteem. The 8-item subscale assesses overall perceptions of self-esteem. Sample items include “I am happy with the way I can do most things” and “I sometimes think I am a failure (a loser).” Each item is rated on a 4-point scale: Strongly disagree, Disagree, Agree, or Strongly agree.

Rationale: The scale was selected because of its relative brevity, evidence of reliability and validity across cultures, and appropriateness for use with youth from a wide age range. A Chinese, Italian, isiXhosa, and Afrikaans translations of the measure are also available.

Cautions: It is important to keep in mind that a youth's self-reported self-esteem may be influenced both by limitations in introspective abilities and by a desire to present oneself in a positive light. Research indicates that additional aspects of self-esteem involving less controlled (i.e., automatic) and non-conscious self-evaluations can affect behaviors and well-being. These aspects of self-evaluation are best assessed by measures of implicit self-esteem, whereas the SEQ (and nearly all other survey-based measures) assesses explicit self-esteem (i.e., conscious). Programs might also consider administering the context-specific scales of the SEQ when the aim of the program is to raise self-esteem in a particular domain.

Special administration information: None.

How to score: Each item is scored on a 4-point scale from 1 (Strongly disagree) to 4 (Strongly agree). Three items are reverse coded: “I sometimes think I am a failure (a loser),” “I often feel ashamed of myself,” and “I wish I had more to be proud of.” The total score is the average of all 8 items (after reverse coding).

How to interpret findings: Higher scores on the Global Self-Worth Scale reflect a greater level of self-reported overall self-esteem.

Access and permissions: A copy of the Global Self-Worth Scale can be found here and the full version of the SEQ can be found here. The measure is available for non-commercial use with no charge.

Alternatives: The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale is a good alternative for those interested in measuring self-esteem in pre-adolescence, adolescence, and young adults. This 10-item measure has demonstrated reliability and validity in middle school, high school, and young adult samples and has been translated in a number of different languages. A list of items and a description of the measure can be found here.


Citation: DuBois, D. L., Felner, R. D., Brand, S., Phillips, R. S. C., & Lease, A. M. (1996). Early adolescent self-esteem: A developmental-ecological framework and assessment strategy. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 6, 541-578.

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