Self-doubt in late childhood and early adolescence

Abstract

This study examined the development of self-doubt in late childhood and early adolescence. Self-doubt was operationalized as the self-reported degree of uncertainty about the self's attributes. According to social-cognitive theory, self-doubt should decrease as social norms for self-evaluation are acquired through role-taking development. Seventy-five children at three ages-10, 13, and 16—were administered Selman's role-taking interview, a measure of social desirability, and a multidomain measure of self-doubt. Consistent with the social-cognitive model, self-doubt decreased with age during early adolescence. Role-taking ability increased with age. However, advances in role taking were not necessary for the resolution of self-doubt, nor could the decline in self-doubt be attributed to the tendency of older adolescents to conceal socially undesirable feelings. The findings support the view that adolescence is a period of consolidation for self-evaluations.

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Current interests include cognitive development and child psychotherapy, self-evaluation, and child psychopathology.

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Shirk, S.R. Self-doubt in late childhood and early adolescence. J Youth Adolescence 16, 59–68 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02141547

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Keywords

  • Health Psychology
  • Social Norm
  • School Psychology
  • Social Desirability
  • Early Adolescence