The Correlation of Self-Esteem and Perceived Social Support

Allison Budd, Callie Buschman, Lucas Esch
Huntington University

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Abstract The present study examined this relationship with a sample from a small liberal arts university population. It was hypothesized that as perceived social support increased, individual self-esteem would also increase. Participants were full-time undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 25 and were chosen by convenience sampling. The Index of Self-Esteem (Hudson, 1982) and the Social Support Appraisals Scale (Vaux, Phillips, Holley, Thompson, Williams, & Stewart, 1986) were completed for examination. The data were analyzed using the Pearson-r coefficient. Using a .05 level of significance and 38 degrees of freedom, the r was 0.32. A correlation of 0.82 was found signifying a strong relationship between self-esteem and perceived social support. This supports the findings of Gecas (1972), Aberson (1999), and Sanaktekin and Sunar (2008). A larger, more representative sample size may be beneficial for future studies.

Introduction Self-esteem is a familiar term to many, but what exactly does it mean? Although a variety of definitions may exist, self-esteem for the purpose of this study can be defined as a personal judgment of worthiness that is expressed in the attitudes the individual holds toward her/himself (Sanaktekin & Sunar, 2008). Two distinct levels exist: high self-esteem (HSE) and low self-esteem (LSE). People with HSE generally feel more well-liked by people and tend to worry less about rejection than those with LSE. People with LSE tend to view themselves less favorably and lack self-concept, clarity, and certainty. They also tend to generalize failure in one area of their lives to overall failure causing them to have increased feelings of shame and humiliation (Maner & Park, 2009). Sanaktekin and Sunar (2008) noted that people with HSE see little discrepancy between their ideal and real selves, whereas an individual who perceives a great discrepancy is expected to have low self-esteem.  

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