- Why most children think well of themselves
- Child Development
- Volume | Issue number
- 88 | 6
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
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.
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