Self-esteem is a dimension of self-concept. Self-esteem is the value people place on themselves. We learn our self-esteem in various social contexts. Self-esteem may also be called self-worth.
Self-esteem is generally viewed as a person’s evaluation of their overall self-worth or value, which may include some informal and idiosyncratic summing up of intelligence, skills, likeability, appearance, and other personal attributes considered important in their society. People with high self-esteem see themselves as valuable contributors to their group, culture, or more broadly, their nation. Although self-esteem is subjective, scores on measures of self-esteem provide a basis for identifying what constitutes the commonly used terms of high and low self-esteem. A general finding is that people are motivated to maintain high self-esteem and defend one’s self esteem against challenges. A large portion of the recent interest in self-esteem is related to the interest in terror management theory (TMT), which posits that self-esteem functions as a buffer against threats to one’s existence, anxiety, and meaninglessness.
Recent theorizing suggests self-esteem develops in the interplay of children with early attachment figures. In this view, attachment theory and terror management theory converge as self-esteem develops in the context of close relationships and serves a protective function (See Pyszczynski et al., 2004 for a review). A widely used measure of self-esteem is the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965).
Pyszczynski, T., Greenberg, J., Solomon, S., Arndt, J., & Schimel, J. (2004). Why Do People Need Self-Esteem? A Theoretical and Empirical Review. Psychological Bulletin, 130(3), 435–468. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.130.3.435
Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/9781400876136