The Failure of general self-esteem

self-esteem’s aggravating affect on racial discrimination’s relation to standardised achievement

Gawaian H. Bodkin-Andrews, Genevieve F. Nelson, Rhonda G. Craven, Alexander S. Yeung, Katrina A. Newey

Research output: Contribution to journalConference paper


Psychological research and popular culture have repeatedly noted that general self-esteem is a positive contributor to well-being and performance indicators across a large variety of domains including education. However, whilst increased self-esteem may have a positive influence on educational outcomes, increasing evidence suggests that perceptions of racial discrimination may simultaneously have a negative impact on these outcomes. The current investigation used structural equation modelling techniques to examine the potential impact of Indigenous Australian students' general self-esteem and perceptions of racial discrimination upon performance on standardised spelling and math achievement measures. The results indicated that general self-esteem did not impact on Indigenous students' performance however, perceived racial discrimination impacted significantly and negatively on performance. In addition, a moderating analysis demonstrated that Indigenous students with a higher general self-esteem were more susceptible to the negative impact of racial discrimination than those with low self-esteem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian Association for Research in Education conference proceedings 2008
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventAustralian Association for Research in Education Conference - Brisbane
Duration: 30 Nov 20084 Dec 2008

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