Saturday, January 29, 2005

Biased Self-Esteem Study or Sensationalist News of Same? 

I had seen the media do a big hoopla about this self-esteem study, thinking, "there we go again..." I would like to remind people that the media loves to take one single little study in a very complex field and throw it out in a sensationalist, biased way. You don´t know how this study was designed, and you don´t even know if there are a million other studies that show this is not so. You don´t even know what the researchers here defined as self-esteem, and what exactly were they measuring and how.

Self-esteem is a necessary psychological process for mental health and happiness. I don´t want to make this a treatise on the subject, but it´s just ridiculous to say "because some students with less self esteem have achieved something, self-esteem is a human throw away thing."

This study must make all the people responsible for destroying self-esteem in youngsters ecstatic, they now must feel less guilty, and less stupid. And aren´t there a lot of these kinds of people?

Don´t buy it, self-esteem is fundamental for *life*. It´s a fundamental role of any teacher to "fuel" it in their students.

Update - Jan 31-2005- Response to AC´s comment to this entry. (Too big to write in the little comment window).

AC, hi,

I appreciated your comments. You actually wrote a lot in little space.
So, let me just say a couple of things. There are a million studies regarding self-esteem in people of all ages, demographics, etc. Published, reviewed, talked about, analyzed, etc. etc.

This statement that you made (that there were no previous studies on self-esteem) is lunacy. And where did it come from? From the stupid grrrr argh %$#@* infotainment misinformation article, yes? I saw a lot of people in blogs repeat the same thing! It was driving me crazy! People who never read a psychology study in their lives were being misinformed en masse. It´s like saying no one ever studied conflict, anger, depression. Psychology literature is filled with studies in these areas, including self-esteem!

Now, perhaps, there was something specific about the focus of this study where the researchers could claim it was something no one ever studied before, some detail. But to say no one has ever done a study on self-esteem is patently absurd. I suspect it was just a cheap tactic to get a lot of media attention for free, which I´m sure these researchers are delighted at. Which makes me even despise them more. Even though some things you mention do seem very interesting.

“If you want to say that self-esteem is fundamental, you can, of course — you just can't do it with a scientific basis at the moment.”

Actually, as I mentioned, there are thousands of articles that show self-esteem is fundamental, beneficial, and in certain instances, one of the variables that are life-saving in a crisis situation. This article has told you absolute gobbledygook regarding what exists and what doesn´t exist in terms of psychology studies. You are not going to make me list dozens of such studies here, are you? Take my word for it, or go to your university library, they´re there. You can probably find many on the Net as well.

“I'm not trying to be flippant or anything; it's just that my experience with self-esteem has never corresponded with the dominant paradigm.”

Didn´t think you were being flippant, quite on the contrary. I found your comments raised important points and I am glad the articles were useful to you.

I´m just lazy or I would have sat down and written a pretty post on self-esteem, serious, long, thoughtful, that explains to you other things I know about self-esteem, to give you perhaps the other side of the story, which may be different than what your other gf said too. Perhaps I will do it in bits. I would have some things to say about what is self-esteem, dynamics of self-esteem, your experience, and so on, but it doesn´t fit into 3 lines :-)

Maybe I will just wait for someone to do a nice critique of these studies and put the link here. :-)))

The sin of sloth is a most terrible thing... I´m lost...


I erred. Here's the article: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000CB565-F330-11BE-AD0683414B7F0000&chanID=sa008

They actually do cite previous self-esteem studies, and you are correct; there have been thousands. They also discuss why they think those studies are flawed.

Enjoy. Or don't. See you @ chase me ladies.

FWIW BTW, you have a really nice blog.
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