Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, 24:121

First online:

Placing the Horse in Front of the Wagon: Toward a Conceptual Understanding of the Development of Self-Esteem in Children and Adolescents

  • Yan Dominic SearcyAffiliated withDepartment of Social Work and Department of Sociology, Chicago State University Email author 

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Existing research on self-esteem among children and adolescents has focused on defining self-esteem, measuring self-esteem, and indicating variables that influence self-esteem. However, limited research and thought has been given to explain conceptually how self-esteem is developed and maintained. This paper suggests that the existing literature lacks a theoretical conceptualization of how self-esteem is developed and provides a three-pronged conceptualization indicating that associations, activities, and aural support develop and maintain self-esteem. The conceptualization provided has research, policy, and programmatic implications.


Self-esteem Children Adolescents Child Development