Self-concept and self-esteem: How the content of the self-concept reveals sources and functions of self-esteem
The relations of content of self-concept to self-esteem may reflect the role of different factors in developing self-esteem. On the basis of theories describing sources of self-esteem, we distinguished four domains of self-beliefs: agency, morality, strength and energy to act, and acceptance by others, which we hypothesized to be related to self-esteem. In two studies, involving 411 university students, the relationship between self-esteem and self-concept was examined. The results confirmed relative independence of these four domains. Self-evaluation of agency was the strongest predictor of self-esteem, followed by self-evaluation of strength and energy to act, and self-evaluation of acceptance by others. Self-evaluation regarding morality turned out to have either no or negative relationship with self-esteem. The results supported the theories assuming that either perception of one's own agency or acceptance by others are sources of self-esteem.