The Dynamics of Self-Esteem: A Growth-Curve Analysis


self-esteem, adolescent, growth-curves


Research on adolescent self-esteem has been inconsistent regarding development patterns and processes, with some scholars concluding that self-esteem is a static construct and others concluding that it is a dynamic construct. A potential source of this inconsistency is the lack of attention to intraindividual changes in self-esteem across adolescence and to gender-specific developmental patterns. Building on previous research, we use a growth-curve analysis to examine intraindividual self-esteem changes from early adolescence to early adulthood. Using 7 years of sequential data from the Family Health Study (762 subjects ages 11–16 in Year 1), we estimated a hierarchical growth-curve model that emphasized the effects of age, life events, gender, and family cohesion on self-esteem. The results indicated that age had a curvilinear relationship with self-esteem suggesting that during adolescence self-esteem is a dynamic rather than a static construct. Furthermore, changes in self-esteem during adolescence were influenced by shifts in life events and family cohesion. These processes were different for males and females, particularly during early adolescence.

Original Publication Citation

Baldwin, Scott A., and John P. Hoffmann. 2002. “The Dynamics of Self-Esteem: A Growth Curve Analysis.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence 31(2): 101-113.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Youth and Adolescence




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor