Self-concept of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian students: Competence and affect components and relations to achievement

A. Katrin Arens*, Gawaian Bodkin-Andrews, Rhonda G. Craven, Alexander Seeshing Yeung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research on differences and similarities in self-concept of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian students did not consider the possible differentiation between competence and affect components. As a result, it is unknown whether previously found differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students' self-concepts are the result of their beliefs about their abilities or their feelings about specific domains. Thus, the present study aims to examine and compare the structure, the mean levels, and the relations to achievement measures of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian students' self-concepts in academic and non-academic domains when taking the competence-affect separation into account. Self-concepts in math, English, school, physical ability, and art were measured with 1809 secondary school students including 343 Indigenous students. For Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, confirmatory factor analyses demonstrated that all self-concept facets measured could be separated into competence and affect components although the correlations between competence and affect components were high, particularly for art and physical ability self-concepts. Non-Indigenous students demonstrated higher levels of school competence, English competence, English affect, and math competence self-concepts. Indigenous students displayed higher levels of physical ability competence self-concept while no group differences could be found for school affect, math affect, physical ability affect, and art competence and art affect self-concepts. Invariance tests revealed an invariant factor structure and invariant relations between the multiple self-concept facets and achievement factors across Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Hence, the present study adds to our understanding of the similarities and differences regarding Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian students' self-concepts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-103
Number of pages11
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • Achievement relations
  • Affect self-perceptions
  • Competence self-perceptions
  • Indigenous students
  • Self-concept


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