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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Themes in adult self-esteem Gilchrist, Phyllis Margaret


This exploratory study, using the Critical Incident Technique (Flanagan, 1954), examined what enhances or detracts from adult self-esteem. A sample of 13 females and 7 males, ages 24 - 49, from a small urban church were selected as a study group from a normal adult population. Critical Incident interviews, lasting one and a half hours, resulted in 113 incidents. Subjects also completed a form recording age, sex, marital status and also completed the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. These data were used to compare subject characteristics to categories formed from the critical incidents. From the incidents, five basic categories were formed: Confirmation by Others, Overcoming Deficits, Acceptance by Others, Sense of Mutuality and Sense of Achievement. Categories contained 16 to 27 incidents each and each category was contributed to by at least 50% of the subjects. These categories demonstrated an acceptable level of interjudge reliability. Comparison between the investigator and a colleague in categorizing 50 incidents resulted in 92% agreement. Secondary examination between subject characteristics and categories indicated that the majority of data came from 30 to 36 year-olds and that no low self-esteem subjects were represented in the study.

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