Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 325–337

Adolescents' self-perceptions of their strengths

  • Sheila Williams
  • Rob McGee
Article

Abstract

A sample of 960 adolescents drawn from the general population was asked to complete a 22-item scale relating to their self-perceived strengths. The mean score for the 492 boys was 14.9 and that for the 486 girls was 14.4; the difference was not statistically significant. There were, nevertheless, differences for some of the items. In particular, more boys saw themselves as good at sport, confident, popular, having lots of hobbies, and attractive, while more girls saw themselves as reliable, kind, independent, and affectionate. Regression analysis suggested that boys' strengths depended upon parent, peer and school attachment, part-time work, and the number of physical activities with which they were involved. Girls' strengths were best predicted by parent attachment and the number of physical activities with which they were involved.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Armsden, G. C., and Greenberg, M. T. (1987). The inventory of parent and peer attachment: Individual differences and their relationship to psychological well-being in adolescence.J. Youth and Adoles. 16: 427–454.Google Scholar
  2. Costello, A., Edelbrock, C., Kalas, R., Kessler, M., and Klaric, S. A. (1982).Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children (DISC). Written under contract to the National Institute of Mental Health.Google Scholar
  3. Elley, W. B., and Irving, J. C. (1985). The Elley-Irving Socio-Economic Index 1981 Census Revision.N. Z. J. Ed. Stud. 20: 115–128.Google Scholar
  4. Elliott, D. S.; and Voss, H. L. (1974).Delinquency and Dropout. Lexington Books, Lexington, MA.Google Scholar
  5. Grove, W. M., and Andreason, N. C. (1982). Simultaneous tests of many hypotheses in exploratory research.J. Nerv. Ment. Dis. 170: 3–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Felsman, J. K., and Vaillant, G. E. (1987). Resilient children as adults: a 40 year study. In Anthony, E. J., and Cohler, B. J. (eds.),The Invulnerable Child. Guildford Press, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Hoffman, M. A., Ushpiz, V., and Levy-Shiff, R. (1988). Social support and self-esteem in adolescence.J. Youth Adolesc. 17: 307–316.Google Scholar
  8. Holahan, C. J., and Moos, R. H. (1983). The quality of social support: measure of family and work relationships.Bri. J. Clin. Psychol. 22: 157–162.Google Scholar
  9. Marsh, H. W. (1989). Age and sex effects in multiple dimensions of self-concept: preadolescence to early adulthood.J. Educ. Psychol. 81: 417–430.Google Scholar
  10. McGee, R., Feehan, M., Williams, S., Partridge, F., Silva, P. A., and Kelly, J. (1991). DSM-III disorder in a large sample of adolescents.J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 29: 611–619.Google Scholar
  11. McGee, R., and Williams, S. (1991). Social competence in adolescence: Preliminary findings from a longitudinal study of New Zealand 15-year-olds.Psychiatry, in press.Google Scholar
  12. McGee, R., Williams, S., Kashani, J., and Silva, P. A. (1991). Prevalence of self reported depressive symptoms and associated factors in a sample of mothers in Dunedin.Bri. J. Psychol 143: 473–479.Google Scholar
  13. Offer, D., Ostrov, J. D., and Howard, K. I. (1989). Adolescence: what is normal?Am. J. Dis. Child. 143: 731–736.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Poole, M. E., and Evans, G. T. (1989). Adolescents' perceptions of competence in life skill areas.J. Youth Adolesc. 18: 147–173.Google Scholar
  15. Reeder, A. I., Stanton, W. R., Langley, J. D., and Chambers, D. J. (1991). Adolescents' participation in physical activities during their fifteenth year.Canad. J. Sports Science, in press.Google Scholar
  16. Rosenberg, M. (1965).Society and the adolescent image. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.Google Scholar
  17. Scottish Council for Research in Education. (1976).The Burt Reading Test for Children: Revised. Hodder and Stoughton, London.Google Scholar
  18. Silva, P. A. (1990). The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study: A fifteen year longitudinal study.Paed. Perinatal Epidemiol., 4: 96–127.Google Scholar
  19. Stephens, T. (1988). Physical activity and mental health in the United States and Canada: evidence from four population surveys.Prevent. Med. 17: 35–47.Google Scholar
  20. Taylor, H. L., Jacobs, D. R., Schucker, B., Knudson, J., Leon, A. S., and Debacker, G. (1978). A questionnaire for the assessment of leisure time physical activities.J. Chron. Dis. 31: 741–755.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Veale, D. M. W. (1987). Exercise and mental health.Acta Psychiat. Scand. 76: 113–120.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Walker, L. S., and Greene, J. W. (1986). The social context of adolescent self esteem.J. Youth Adolesc. 15: 315–322.Google Scholar
  23. Werner, E. E., and Smith, R. S. (1982).Vulnerable but Invincible. McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  24. Williams, S., McGee, R., Anderson, J., and Silva, P. A. (1989). The structure and correlates of self-reported symptoms in 11-year-old children.j. Abnorm. Child Psychol. 17: 55–71.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheila Williams
    • 1
  • Rob McGee
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Preventive and Social MedicineOtago Medical SchoolDunedinNew Zealand
  2. 2.Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, Department of Paediatrics and Child HealthOtago Medical SchoolDunedinNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations