Gender bias in the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale

Thumbnail Image
Perdew, Audrey
Holtgraves, Thomas
Issue Date
Thesis (B.?)
Honors College
Other Identifiers

There is evidence that supports that global self-esteem scores on the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) are dependent on whether the verb "think" or "feel" is used in the individual items. This affects males and females differently such that "feel" lowers self-esteem for females but not for males (Holtgraves, 2014). This research study further investigates this effect by exan1ining how these wording effects in1pact the gender difference in self-esteem scores. This research also investigates the possibility that the RSES is biased against women by comparing self-esteem scores on the original scale to scores on three slightly altered versions (one that uses only "feel" one that uses only "think," and one that does not use "feel" or "think"). Additional tasks such as reporting the frequency of emotional experiences and generating a list of emotional words were included and explored in relation to self-esteem scores and as possible causes of the above effect. The experiment was constructed and analyzed as a 4 (RSES Version) x 2 (Participant Gender) factorial design. The present research failed to replicate the results of Holtgraves (2014), but exploratory analyzes revealed interesting trends between self-esteem scores and emotional experiences.