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Self-Concept of Students in Childhood and Adolescence:Structural and Developmental Issues

Das Selbstkonzept von Schülerinnen und Schülern in Kindheit und Jugend: Strukturelle und entwicklungsbezogene Aspekte

  • Fostering positive and realistic self-concepts of individuals is a major goal in education worldwide (Trautwein & Möller, 2016). Individuals spend most of their childhood and adolescence in school. Thus, schools are important contexts for individuals to develop positive self-perceptions such as self-concepts. In order to enhance positive self-concepts in educational settings and in general, it is indispensable to have a comprehensive knowledge about the development and structure of self-concepts and their determinants. To date, extensive empirical and theoretical work on antecedents and change processes of self-concept has been conducted. However, several research gaps still exist, and several of these are the focus of the present dissertation. Specifically, these research gaps encompass (a) the development of multiple self-concepts from multiple perspectives regarding stability and change, (b) the direction of longitudinal interplay between self-concept facets over the entire time period from childhood to late adolescence, and (c) the evidence that a recently developed structural model of academic self-concept (nested Marsh/Shavelson model [Brunner et al., 2010]) fits the data in elementary school students, (d) the investigation of structural changes in academic self-concept profile formation within this model, (e) the investigation of dimensional comparison processes as determinants of academic self-concept profile formation in elementary school students within the internal/external frame of reference model (I/E model; Marsh, 1986), (f) the test of moderating variables for dimensional comparison processes in elementary school, (g) the test of the key assumptions of the I/E model that effects of dimensional comparisons depend to a large degree on the existence of achievement differences between subjects, and (h) the generalizability of the findings regarding the I/E model over different statistical analytic methods. Thus, the aim of the present dissertation is to contribute to close these gaps with three studies. Thereby, data from German students enrolled in elementary school to secondary school education were gathered in three projects comprising the developmental time span from childhood to adolescence (ages 6 to 20). Three vital self-concept areas in childhood and adolescence were in-vestigated: general self-concept (i.e., self-esteem), academic self-concepts (general, math, reading, writing, native language), and social self-concepts (of acceptance and assertion). In all studies, data were analyzed within a latent variable framework. Findings are discussed with respect to the research aims of acquiring more comprehensive knowledge on the structure and development of significant self-concept in childhood and adolescence and their determinants. In addition, theoretical and practical implications derived from the findings of the present studies are outlined. Strengths and limitations of the present dissertation are discussed. Finally, an outlook for future research on self-concepts is given.

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Author:Isabelle Schmidt
Advisor:Isabelle Schmidt
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of completion:2018/08/02
Publishing institution:Universität Trier
Granting institution:Universität Trier, Fachbereich 1
Date of final exam:2018/07/11
Release Date:2018/08/02
Tag:Entwicklung; Fähigkeitsselbstkonzepte; Selbstkonzept; Selbstwert; Struktur; soziale Selbstkonzepte
academic self-concept; development; self-concept; self-esteem; social self-concept; structure
GND Keyword:Entwicklung; Selbstbild; Struktur
Institutes:Fachbereich 1 / Psychologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie

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