tom XXII / numer 2Elisa Delvecchio, Adriana Lis, Hanna Liberska, Jian-Bin Li, The level of self-esteem among Polish adolescents in a cross-cultural context

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DOI: 10.14656/PFP20170201


Self-esteem refers to one’s general sense of worthiness as a person. Literature
stresses that low self-esteem in adolescence is a risk factor for negative outcomes
in important life domains. Research also suggests that people in different
cultures (e.g., collectivism vs. individualism) may have various perceptions and
evaluations about themselves due to distinct self-constructions. Poland is a country
that used to be collectivist but now is undergoing the process of social and economic
system transformation, which is taking Polish culture closer to individualistic countries.
This study investigated Polish adolescents’ level of global self-esteem as well
as the two dimensions of self-esteem (i.e., self-liking and self-competence) in a cross-
-cultural perspective by comparing the results with an individualistic country (Italy)
and a collectivistic country (China). The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) was
administered to Polish, Italian, and Chinese adolescents. The results showed that:
(1) Polish adolescents scored lower both on global self-esteem and self-competence
than their Chinese and Italian counterparts; (2) gender did not play a significant
influence in the global self-esteem or in the two dimensions; and (3) there were
significant interactions between gender and the global self-esteem and the two
dimensions: Italian boys reporting higher levels of global self-esteem, self-liking
and self-competence than Italian girls, and Polish boys reporting lower level of self-
-liking than Polish girls. The findings of this study indicate that self-esteem in Polish adolescents is also influenced by culture-specific issues that cannot be limited to
the individualism-collectivism framework. Implication for professionals and researchers
are discussed.
Key words: self-esteem, self-liking, self-competence, adolescence, cross-cultural