4 years ago

Why Most Children Think Well of Themselves

Sander Thomaes, Constantine Sedikides, Eddie Brummelman
This research aimed to examine whether and why children hold favorable self-conceptions (total N = 882 Dutch children, ages 8–12). Surveys (Studies 1–2) showed that children report strongly favorable self-conceptions. For example, when describing themselves on an open-ended measure, children mainly provided positive self-conceptions—about four times more than neutral self-conceptions, and about 11 times more than negative self-conceptions. Experiments (Studies 3–4) demonstrated that children report favorable self-conceptions, in part, to live up to social norms idealizing such self-conceptions, and to avoid seeing or presenting themselves negatively. These findings advance understanding of the developing self-concept and its valence: In middle and late childhood, children's self-conceptions are robustly favorable and influenced by both external (social norms) and internal (self-motives) forces.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12937

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