Preschoolers’ Self-Concepts: Are they Accurate?

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Title: Preschoolers’ Self-Concepts: Are they Accurate?
Creators: Erdmann, Amy
Advisor: Schoppe-Sullivan, Sarah
Issue Date: 2006-06
Abstract: The present study examined the accuracy of young children’s self-concepts through determining if young children’s perceptions of themselves agree with observers’ perceptions of their behavior. The study included seventy-five 3 ½ to 5 year old children who visited a research lab near The Ohio State University with their parents. During this visit, the child completed the video-assisted Child Self-View Questionnaire (Eder, 1990) with a researcher, which measures a child’s views of their self-concept on nine dimensions. After completing this questionnaire, children and their parents completed two videotaped activities together. The first consisted of drawing and labeling a family portrait, and the second required the cooperative building of a Lincoln log house (toy building set). These video episodes were coded for dimensions of child behavior: persistence, compliance, negative affect, positive affect, activity level and distractibility. The coded behaviors were then compared to the child’s responses on the Child Self-View Questionnaire. Analysis indicates that some degree of match between children’s self-concepts and observers’ perceptions of their behavior exists. Specifically and most consistently across tasks, when observers perceive children as higher in activity level and distractibility, children view themselves as more alienated and aggressive. A significant relationship also exists between a child’s views of their stress reaction (negative emotionality) and observers’ ratings of persistence (negatively related) and negative affect (positively related). A positive trend has also been found between a child’s view of their own social closeness and the observers’ views of the child’s positive affect. The results of this study provide valuable insight into the inner workings of a young child’s mind and help emphasize the importance of seeing and treating young children as competent perceivers of their own psychological characteristics.
Series/Report no.: The Ohio State University. Department of Human Development and Family Science Honors Theses; 2006
Keywords: Self-Concept
Sponsors: This research was supported by a grant from NICHD (HD 050235).
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