Self-Esteem Among Adolescents In The United Kingdom


The presented proposal concentrates on social class and self-esteem among adolescents in the United Kingdom. It focuses particularly on the research of the main factors, influencing adolescent self-esteem from 13 to 16 years. The paper offers to investigate confirmation or refutation of the hypothesis that parental family, the process of upbringing and relations between the family members make the largest influence on self-esteem of an adolescent.

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Keywords: self-esteem among adolescents, main factors of self-esteem.

Social Class and Self-esteem among Adolescents in United Kingdom


Self- esteem consists of the main features of a person: his qualities, capacities, abilities, and characteristics of his behavior. Self-esteem reflects the peculiarities of person’s awareness of his behavior and actions, his motives and goals, it reflects the ability to see and evaluate his potential capabilities. The hallmark of self-esteem of an adult is a differentiation of his or her potential. An individual clearly recognizes and highlights those areas of life and activities, in which he is strong and understands where his opportunities are mediocre. Therefore, a person can achieve good results and overcome considerable difficulties. Teenager is inclined to generalize his personality features due to various factors, and he sees himself one-sidedly. It happens at the lifespan stage of the age of 13 – 16 years.

At the age of 13-16 years, self-esteem rises to a new level, enriches with new content, and acquires new functions. Most importantly, in the concerned age, the adolescent becomes aware himself as a person, gets certain mental qualities, and is included in a definite system of social relations. Teenagers knowledge becomes a generalized understanding of the world. Getting the awareness about himself in a constant comparison to other people, he begins to select actively and assimilate the norms and standards of the relationship. Thus, the stage of the lifespan between 13-16 years becomes a crucial period in the formation of self-esteem of a teenager. At the moment, the influence of various factors can be as detrimental for a teenager, and they can contribute to the formation of the character. Therefore, the study of factors influencing self-esteem of an adolescent during 13-16 years of the lifespan becomes relevant, important and urgent.

Literature Review

Problems of self-esteem of adolescents have already been considered by several authors, such as Abrams (2013), Allen and Allen (2009), Branden (1992), Gilbert (2010), Lovegrove (2002), Manning (2007), Neff (2011), and Rumsey (2012). The undertaken study proposes to use a theoretical approach of functionalism, as it is one of the components of the systems approach aimed to identify the functions of the individual elements together in their interdependence. In the case of self-esteem assessment, on the basis of the functionalism approach, the researchers define factors, which each author considers important in terms of impact on self-esteem of a teenager.

The literature consideration is characterized by several trends. Most of the authors tried to find the background of low self-esteem in the sphere of influence of the external environment, such as school and friends. In particular, Allen and Allen (2009) argued that the reason of low self-esteem can be associated only with the dominant behavior. Since the age of 13-16 years is characterized by going to school and socializing with peers as a dominant behavior, the low self-esteem might be influenced only by the aforementioned factors (Allen & Allen, 2009). Lovegrove (2002) made a study, which evaluated 671 students. The author found that in 44% of all cases, appearance of respondents affects their self-esteem. Rumsey (2012) and Abrams (2013) also agreed that the appearance is a major factor, and the main cause of low self-esteem of adolescents. Moreover, Abrams (2013) mentioned that the experienced physical trauma is often the central reason of insecurity and low self-esteem, which may be inherent in the adolescent years. Contrary, Rumsey (2012) argued that such conclusion may be generalized not only for a teenager. On the other hand, Neff (2011) and Gilbert (2010) said that during communication with other peers, an adolescent gains experience to evaluate himself according to various criteria accepted in the society. Communication with peers affects the self-esteem more than the loneliness and isolation. Self-esteem, according to can be an expression of a self-worth (Neff, 2011). If self-esteem of teenager falls, self-compassion comes immediately (Gilbert, 2010). Thus, Neff (2011) and Gilbert (2010) claim that peers and environment are the main factors of influence on self-esteem of a teenager, the age of whom is 13-16 years.

Therefore, the aforementioned researchers and many other authors have investigated factors influencing self-esteem of teenagers, as well the impact of upbringing on teenagers. In addition, a large contribution to understanding the principles of humanism belongs to John Locke, who determines the choice of the most appropriate means of upbringing. John Locke (1692) insisted that the content and methods of upbringing should be relevant to the age, experience, capabilities, forces of children and their individual needs. Spenser (1861) spoken out very strongly against inconsistency in family upbringing.

The analyzed authors talked about self-esteem and external factors, in addition to upbringing. However, at the same time, the researchers gave a central place to the influence of the family and parents on the formation of self-esteem. The balance between education, relationships in the parental home and self-esteem of a teenager has been little studied.

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Research Question

At the same time, the problem of low self-esteem becomes a large scaled issue in the society. Often, the basis for future success can be formed in a teen age. Thus, the age of 13-16 is a turning point in the life of a person. Teenagers self-esteem is changing significantly, and the effect of the whole environment, such as the family of a teenager, remains poorly understood. Thus, the main research question of the proposal will be the identification of the major factors of influence on self-esteem and confirmation or refutation of the hypothesis that family, relationships within it, and the process of upbringing are the major factors that influence self-esteem of adolescents at the age of 13 -16 years in the UK.

Methodology of the Research

Methodology of social research is a collection of sociological research methods, techniques and approaches to their use. There are such methods of sociological research as quantitative, qualitative and mixed.

In the designed study, the author offers to use the mixed method of the research. The rationale for its use is the following. Qualitative methods provide insight into a social phenomenon. Current research is interested in understanding the phenomenon of self-esteem and factors of influence on it, the essence of the relationship between upbringing and self-esteem. The subject to assess is abstract, and the most appropriate way to evaluate it is the qualitative method. However, at the same time, the researchers have developed a questionnaire that will give the opportunity to understand if a social occurrence of low self-esteem is a massive (frequent) phenomenon, how it manifests itself, and how often the parent family affects low self-esteem of a teen from 13 to16 years. Thus, the tools of quantitative research method will be applied. Therefore, the project will use the mixed method.

Data Gathering Process

Representative sample of the research participants are the sample adolescents. Representative sample is a true reflection of the population, has the same profile of characteristics, such as age structure, class structure, the level of education. In order to make the sample representative, it will be comprised of adolescents from 10 schools according to two criteria: the level of income of their family and their school performance. It is proposed to implement with the following method. The survey will be distributed to random respondents (students at the school). When issuing a questionnaire, respondents will be asked about their age. Questionnaire will be given to the respondents whose age is from 13 to 16 years. At the same time, the questionnaire includes two questions about income brackets and school performance of the respondent. The rationale for choosing the two criteria is that low and insufficient family income can often be the cause of interfamily conflict. Clashes in the family, the poor quality of upbringing, according to our hypothesis, are the main causes of low self-esteem of an adolescent.

As discussed earlier, many authors point out the external influences on self-esteem of a teenager, such as relationships with friends and school performance. Therefore, performance is the second criterion for the selection of respondents. Selection of profiles to produce a representative sample will be random to create an insertion of an equal number of profiles with a specific response on the questions in a sample .The data gathering will include 10% of adolescents with each answer on the question about the level of income and the level of school performance (total percentage is 100% ).

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Questionnaire as a Tool of Data Gathering

Dear respondent!

We invite you to answer the questions that will take 10 minutes. We appreciate your cooperation with the researchers. Questioning is anonymous.

Instructions for completing the questionnaire.

1. Read a statement.

2 Rate the statement from 1 up 5 points.

If the statement describes you in 85-100% cases of life – 5 points, statement describes you in 60-85% situations of life – 4 points, 40-60% situations of life – 3 points, 15-40% situations of life – 2 points, 0-15% situations of life – 1 point.

Put the number of points under the number of the answer. From question number 17, circle the applicable variant of an answer.

3. Be sure about the anonymity.

Thank you for participating!

1. You are persistent and do not hesitate to make a decision even in case of difficulties?

2. Do you think that to obey is better than to command, to lead?

3. Comparing with the most people, you are more capable and smarter?

4. Do you feel that you are taken advantage of by other people?

5. Will you have time to do more than others in your life?

6. Do you want to change your appearance?

7. Do you always seek to be the first?

8. If you could re-live the last month, would you achieve more?

9. If you were seriously engaged in science, would you become a professor in the future?

10. Have you ever desired to get away from it all, to escape?

11. Is it difficult for you to tell yourself “no”, even if your desire is not feasible?

12. Are you lonely?

13. Do think that you will achieve in life much more than your peers?

14. Do you find it difficult to refuse someones request, to say “no” to another person?

15. Do you always insist to do all things differently?

16. Do you want to make changes in your character?

17. What are the relationships among your friends?

Good and strong.

Sometimes quarrels.

Frequent quarrels, the relationship is not strong.

The relationship is not real at all or another option.

18. What is the relationship between your parents?

Good and strong.

Sometimes quarrels.

Frequent quarrels, the relationship is not strong.

The relationship is not real at all or another option.

19. Do you know someone with low self-esteem? If so, what do you think is the reason?

His parents do not appreciate his ability and see vices.

His friends do not make any effort to assess who he really is.

He puts little effort to ensure that people learn him better.

Another option_____________________________________________________

20. What is the average level of his family month income?

Minimum, insufficient.

Minimum sufficient.


Above average.


21. What is your performance rate at school?

Only A.

A and B.

Only B, B and C.

Only C, C and D and lower.

Different rates.

Thank You for Your answers!

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Ethical Considerations

Often in the application of surveys, the opportunity to influence the respondent by the researcher is significant. In conducting the survey, four strategies have been included to avoid any ethical violations. The first point is the absence of any questions of too personal nature in a survey. Respondent will be informed about the anonymity of the questionnaire and will not be warned that a survey is about self-esteem. It means that the students will anonymously answer the questions without analyzing his self-esteem problems. Secondly, the question number 19 is formulated in a way to allow the respondent to feel more secure and answer sincerely to himself. It is better worded rather than asking about what kind of self-confidence he had. Thirdly, among the answers to the questions there is no answer, “because he is bad enough.” It will contain the cured effect. Respondent with low self-esteem will not be given the chance to put the blame on himself once again, he will reassess the situation. Fourthly , immediately after the survey, we propose to carry out a kind of training for which a paper model of a tree and colorful paints is needed. The respondent will be offered to wet his finger in any paint he will choose and make a fingertip on a clean sheet of paper. Then, his imprint will be cut out of paper and glued to the wood in the form of a leaf. Respondent will be said that the paint he chose is unique, his imprint is unique, and there is no similar imprint all over the world. The game is aimed to reassure the participants of their abilities and uniqueness.

Rigor of the Research

The researches can face different problems. They are violation of the ethical principles, falsification and fraud of research materials, unwillingness of the population to cooperate, etc. In the designed research, the ethical considerations might be a problem, because the proposed topic is personal. Another difficulty might be in the process of data collecting. The authors have addressed how to avoid the first challenge. The second challenge will be avoided by using direct planning and meticulous data gathering. Therefore, the research can be considered trustworthy and valid.


The question of self-esteem of adolescents is critical in the contemporary world. The designed research project proposes to shift the focus of contemporary research on the study of the factors influencing the formation of self-esteem of a teenager from 13 to 6 years old. Also, the proposal offers to confirm or refute the assertion that parental upbringing, and relations within the family are the main factors of self-esteem forming. In fact, the area of family dynamics requires further study. The mixed method of the research was proposed to use, data gathering process and questionnaire, which was developed with ethical considerations, was described. The study will be carried out meticulously that gives a basis to its validation and trustworthy nature.

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