Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, 24:121

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


DOI: 10.1007/s10560-006-0070-9

Cite this article as:
Searcy, Y.D. Child Adolesc Soc Work J (2007) 24: 121. doi:10.1007/s10560-006-0070-9


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-esteemChildrenAdolescentsChild Development

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Work and Department of SociologyChicago State UniversityChicagoUSA