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COLLECTIVE SELF-ESTEEM: A GOOD PREDICTOR FOR WELL-BEING IN INDIAN CONTEXT

COLLECTIVE SELF-ESTEEM: A GOOD PREDICTOR FOR WELL-BEING IN INDIAN CONTEXT

Tiwari, R.1, Byadwal, V.2

1Research Scholar, Department of Psychology, B.H.U., U.P.,

2Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, B.H.U., U.P.

 

Abstract

Background: Human is social being and the most important expression of this sociality is that we live, and have to live in social groups. In India, people share a common political identity with different cultural, social and religious identity and the construct of social identity is very important for the study of psycho-social researches. Several studies in west indicated that social/ethnic identity was strongly correlated with mental health.

Aim: The objectives of this study to explore the role of social identity in context of mental health and examined the relationship between collective self-esteem and well-being of the adolescents.

Methodology: It is a co-relational study. The data were collected from students enrolled in 9th -12th grade in Indian school setting located in Araria(Bihar), Azamgarh and Varanasi(Uttar Pradesh) and New Delhi(NCR) which represents rural, urban and metro settings of India. Collective Self-Esteem Scale (Luhtanen & Crocker, 1992) and Mental Health Continuum-Short Form (Keyes, C.L.M., 2009) were used to measure social identity and well-being.

Results: Analysis revealed that there are significant but very low correlation between emotional well-being and collective self esteem (p<.01). The result of this study revealed that there are significant and strong negative correlation between collective self-esteem and social well-being (r=-.85, p<.01) and overall well-being of the participants (r=-.747, p<.01). The step wise regression analysis also indicates that collective self esteem may be a good predictor for well-being in Indian context.

Conclusion: India is a multi-cultural nation but the style of multiculturalism of India is very different from western culture. Collective self-esteem was positively correlated with well-being in western culture but in Indian culture, a strong negative correlation was found between collective self esteem and well-being of the adolescents. This indicates that there is a need to pay greater attention on social/cultural variables to predict well-being and to make good intervention to promote wellness of adolescents.

Key Words: Inter-group relations, Collective self esteem, Well-being, Social well-being.

Introduction

Humans are social beings. The most important expression of this sociality is that we live, and have evolved to live, in social groups. In any culture, usually people live in plural society. Plural society is that society in which a number of different groups (with different cultural backgrounds) live together and share a common social or political identity. Social identity is defined as- the individual’s knowledge that he belongs to certain social groups together with some emotional and value significance to him of the group membership.1 This definition indicates that it has greater dependency on group and our perception towards group. The social identity theory has a long travel with social categorization theory,2 rejection-identification model 3 and rejection-disidentification model4 and these theories were more interested in perceived discrimination from out-group and more in-group orientation. India is a multicultural nation and has the nature of plural society but its nature of multiculturalism and plural society is very different in comparison to western world. The basic division point of these cultures and sub-cultures are religion, language, and region. In western world religion does not play very important role in social identity (due to uni-religiosity) but in India, religion and jaati/up jaati/gotra play very important role in social identity. Among all of these factors, religion play dominant role to form social identity in Indian context.

Collective self-esteem                                                                  

The concept of collective self-esteem was given by Luhtanen and Crocker5. They argued that the measurement of self esteem of individual based on his group was highly neglected in psychological studies and for this argument they developed Collective Self Esteem Scale which has four constructs. These are- Public CSE – individuals’ perceptions of how others evaluate their social groups; private CSE – personal evaluations of one’s social groups; membership CSE – individuals’ attitudes towards their performance (worthiness) as a member of their social group; and identity CSE– the extent to which individuals believe their social groups are important parts of their self concept or identity. The concept of CSE is very similar to positive evaluation of their group like ethnic identification of Berry.

Well Being and Mental Health

 In early time well-being and mental health were associated with absence of negative psychological functioning/symptoms but after Erikson (1959), Allport (1961), Rogers (1961), Maslow (1968); the direction of well-being is turned towards positive psychological functioning. WHO defined mental health as- “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

When we come into another culture, we choose some strategies to adjust to the other culture. At the processes of inter-group relationship, there were needs some changes in our cognitive, emotional and behavioral patterns. Any type of change in our psycho-social states disturbs our whole psychological, emotional and behavioral functioning and this tend to adjust with our social and psychological environment and resources. This adjustment disturbs the pre-established psycho-social state of individual including self acceptance, positive relations with others, autonomy, and creates stress. By this point of view, in early time of psychological studies, there was more emphasis on psychological well-being rather than emotional well-being and social well-being.

Review of Literature

According to social and cultural psychologists, any type of change in our psycho-social states disturbs our whole psychological, emotional and behavioral functioning and this tend to adjust with our social and psychological environment and resources. This adjustment disturbs the pre-established psycho-social state of individual including self acceptance, positive relations with others, autonomy and creates stress. There are a series of studies which indicate the association between ethnic identity and well-being. A significant but modest assoc.iation between ethnic identity and self-esteem has consistently emerged in studies of adolescents and college, students7,8 Ethnic identity has been found to be more strongly related to psychological well-being,9 and to general indices of positive affect.10 Studies revealed that greater CSE should be related to a preference for high ethnic identity. In the study used of a single composite score of collective self-esteem and found that CSE was positively correlated with one’s ethnic identity. This study also revealed similarities in CSE among integrationists, separationists and assimilationists which were each greater than marginalizationsts.11 and in a study 427  ninth grade and high school students were participated. Among those participants 31% were White, 21% were Asian, 20% were Latino, 6% were African-American and 22% were mixed. The result of this study revealed that ethnic identity is generally linked to self-esteem at the personal and collective level. Individuals with higher ethnic identity believe that others have more positive views about their ethnic group (higher public CSE). This study also revealed that high ethnic identity is associated with greater feeling regarding the importance of ethnicity to one’s self-concept (identity CSE) and worthiness as an ethnic group member (membership CSE). This study found that higher out group orientation was found to be associated with higher personal self-esteem, higher public CSE, higher membership CSE, and lower negative private membership CSE. Individuals with positive personal and collective self-esteem are more likely to seek relationship with members of other ethnic groups. They suggested for more empirical studies on out-group orientation strategies and self-esteem measures.12

To examine the relationship between ethnic identification and psychological health a study was done. result of this study revealed that ethnic identification was influenced more by cultural distance and personal self-esteem emerged as the single significant predictor of psychological health.The greater the personal self-esteem, the less psychological distress was experienced by the participants.  This study also revealed that the importance of ethnic self-esteem lies elsewhere than in the prediction of immigrant’s psychological health.13 Finch, B. K., Frank, R., and Vega, W.A. (2004) conducted another study on 1001 adult migrant farm worker in Fresno, California to examine in the effect of acculturation variables on physical and mental health result of this study was found  that discrimination is associated with higher level of depression and instrumental social support is inversely related to depression. And language conflict and legal status stress are inversely related to good physical health and discrimination and mental health also become marginally significant. 14

Present Study

The present study was an attempt to investigate the relationship between collective self esteem and well being among adolescents of India. The present study has three major objectives. These are- To find out the relationship between collective self esteem and well being; to find out the relationship between domains of collective self-esteem and domains of well-being; and to explore the relative importance of collective self-esteem and it’s sub constructs in predicting well-being.

On the basis of above review of literature this study hypothesized that:

1- There would be positive relationship between collective self-esteem and well-being.

2- Domains of collective self-esteem would be also positively related with well-being.

3-Collective self-esteem would be good predictor of well-being among adolescents in Indian context.

Method

Sample

Participants of this study were 200 adolescent students from public schools of New Delhi, Varanasi and Azamgarh Districts of Uttar Pradesh, and Araria districts of Bihar but there were 150 students were completed the study in proper way. These were as representation of metro, urban, semi-urban and rural setting of India. These schools were contacted on the basis of demographic variable of metro, urban and rural settings. The students were participated in this study after getting the consents of Principle as well as the consents of the students also. They showed high level of interest to participate in this study. The adolescents were composed of 77 male (52%) and 73 female (48%) participants. The age ranged from 14- 18 years. The subjects were convinced to participate in this study on credit basis.

Measures and Tools

Collective Self-Esteem Scale (Luhtanen & Crocker, 1992)5

This scale was developed to assess individual differences in collective, rather than personal self esteem. This scale consists of 16 items to be rated on a 7 point Likert scale. It has four sub-scales- membership esteem, private collective self esteem, public collective self esteem and importance to identity. The Cronbach’s alpha of complete scale and sub-scale were found range from 0.83 to 0.88. The internal consistency for complete scale and sub scale were ranging from 0.63 to 0.86. This scale has satisfactory test-retest reliability. The 6-week test-retest correlation was ranging from 0.58 to 0.68. This scale was standardized in Indian setting and found significant at .01 levels.

Mental Health Continuum- Short Form (MHC-SF; Keyes, C.L.M., 2009)15

This scale is derived from MHC-LF. It measures three types of well-being- emotional, psychological, and social well being. It consists of 14 items ( in which 3 items for Emotional Well Being, 5 items for Social Well Being and 6 items for Psychological Well Being) to be rated on 6 point scale. The Cronbach’s alpha of complete scale and sub scale is greater than 0.80 which show that the scale has high internal consistency and is reliable. The test-retest reliability of the MHC-SF over three successive 3 month periods averaged 0.68 and 9 month test-retest was 0.65. This scale was standardized in Indian setting and found significant at .01 levels.

Procedure

After taking the consent of principle, the students of class 9th -12th (which were present) were addressed by the researcher. After providing proper and elaborative information about the study their consents were taken. They showed high level of interest to participate in this study. After given the proper instructions related with CSE and MHC-SF, the scale of CSE and MHC-SF were given to the subjects to assess the CSE and Well-Being. Participants were asked to take their own time to complete the both scales. All participants were asked to ensure that they have responded to each items of every scale/questionnaire. Average time was taken by participants were 20 minutes. 200 students were participated in this study but only 150 of them completed the study in proper way. 27 of them left the study and 20 of them submitted the scales without completed that, rest 153 of the students submitted the scales. 3 students of them responded more than one of many items. 150 students were taken finally as respondents in this study.

Statistical procedure

The collected data was entered into SPSS programme and relevant analyses were performed to test the hypothesis. The analyses include the use of correlation coefficients, and step-wise multiple regression analysis on the dimensions of CSE and MHC-SF.

Results

In order to determine whether the collective self-esteem is related with well being of adolescents, correlation coefficient was calculated by performing Spearman correlation. The obtained results were displayed in table 1.

Table 1 present the result of Spearman correlation in which collective self-esteem was used as one construct and well being was used as second construct. The result indicates that there is strong negative correlation was found between social well being, MHC- Total and collective self-esteem.

Table 1.Correlation coefficient across the dimensions of CSE and Well-Being

 

Social well being

Emotional well being

Psychological well being

MHC-Total

Membership CSE

-.819**

.246**

.071

-.714**

Private CSE

-.751**

.269**

.090

-.637**

Public CSE

-.829**

.186*

.005

-.755**

Importance to identity

-.860**

.217**

.046

-.766**

CSE Total

-.850**

.244**

.056

-.747**

*p < .05             ** p<.01

There are four sub-constructs in CSE and three sub-constructs in MHC, the table also indicates that membership CSE, private CSE, public CSE, importance to identity, and CSE Total was also strongly correlated with social well-being but in negative direction (p<.01). Membership CSE, private CSE, importance to identity, and CSE Total was significantly correlated with emotional well-being but the correlation coefficient is very low (p<.01). Public CSE was also found significantly correlated with emotional well being (p<.05). The table also indicates that membership CSE, private CSE, public CSE, importance to identity, and CSE Total was also strongly correlated with MHC-Total but in negative direction (p<.01). Psychological well being was not significantly correlated with membership CSE, private CSE, public CSE, importance to identity, and CSE Total. Before we started the study, we hypothesized that CSE as well as it’s constructs would be positively related with well-being and it’s domains but the results which this study was indicated; the first and second hypothesis of the study was rejected with the findings of strong negative correlation between CSE and social well being as well as MHC-Total score. The relation between emotional well-being and CSE was slightly supported the first hypothesis but there were very low correlation between them. Psychological well being was not found correlated with CSE significantly.

The findings of correlations are discouraging and show that CSE is negatively correlated with well-being but it does not show the relative significance of various dimensions of CSE in predicting well being of the adolescents. Thus, to address this objective (third hypothesis), a series of step-wise multiple regression analyses was conducted using various dimensions of CSE as predictor variables and various dimensions of well being as criterion variable. The results were summarized in table 2.

The result of stepwise regression analysis using various dimensions of Collective self-esteem as predictor and dimensions of well-being as criterion (table-2) revealed that importance to identity emerged as a best predictor of all dimensions of well-being except emotional well-being explaining a total variance of approximately 59% to 74% of the various domains of well-being.

Table 2.Stepwise multiple regression analysis using dimensions of CSE as predictor variables and dimensions of MHC and Well-Being as criterion

Predictor

R

R2

R2 Change

F Change

Beta

t-value

Dependent Variable : Emotional Well-Being

Private CSE

.269

.072

.072

11.546**

.269

3.398**

Dependent Variable : Social Well-Being

Importance to Identity

.860

.740

.740

421.374**

-.860

20.527**

Membership CSE

.868

.753

.013

7.683**

-.253

2.772**

Dependent Variable: MHC Total

Importance to Identity

.766

.587

.587

210.04**

-.766

14.493**

Public CSE

.777

.603

.017

6.187**

-.328

2.487

           *p < .05                          ** p<.01

Private CSE was the single best predictor for emotional well-being. Public CSE was the second predictor for well-being (MHC-Total) and membership CSE was the second predictor for social well-being. Beta values of different predictors indicated mixed pattern of relationship. Private CSE (.269) was positively correlated with emotional well-being whereas importance to identity (-.860) and membership CSE (-.253) was negatively correlated with social well-being. Beta value of importance to identity (-.766) and public CSE (-.328) were also indicated that these were negative correlated with MHC-Total (well-being). This pattern of findings suggest that well-being of an individual can be best Private CSE was the single best predictor for emotional well-being. predicted by the components of collective self-esteem in Indian context, particularly by importance to identity.

Discussion

The present study was aimed to find out the correlation between collective self-esteem and different domains of well being. This study was also aimed to find out predictive ability of collective self-esteem in context to well being. The findings of this study contradict the findings of previous studies in west which stated that collective self-esteem would be positively correlated with well-being 11,12,16,17,18 The major findings of this study were- If a person has high level of positive feelings about their social group, the social well-being and well-being of that individual would be poor. But there is less effect of this on his emotional well-being and psychological well-being and if an individual has moderate level of positive feeling about their social group, the well being of that person (social, emotional and psychological well-being) would be better.

Among the dimensions of collective self-esteem, importance to identity emerged as best predictor for relationship between collective self-esteem and well being domains. Importance to identity was defined as the extent to which individuals believe their social groups are important parts of their self concept or identity. The finding of this study also contradicted the findings of the studies in west which stated that ethnic identification was positively correlated with psychological well being, positive affects and low level of stress.4,10.8 One possibility of this result would be rejection-identification model  and rejection-disidentification model3,4 According to RIM, the experience of being a target of prejudice increases level of identification with their group for out-group members. This identification buffers against the harmful effects of perceived discrimination on well-being and self-esteem and RDIM leads one step forward to it. RDIM stated out that when the motivation of positive national/out-group identity are blocked (by rejection of host community/out-group members), the willingness to engage in inter-group contact and their attitudes are negatively affected.

The nature of Indian multiculturalism is very different to western world. In India, the society is composed with many religions, jaaties, up-jaaties. Indians face too many languages, sub languages; food habits, dressing style, customs, and community level activities, etc. Relational orientations which are chosen by them are also many different types for different domains of life and separation strategies is one important strategies for Indians in the domains of religion, languages, festivals, community level activities. This would make them separate from other groups of society and rejection-identification model and rejection-disidentification model3,4  would play very significant role here. We can seek affection and social support from our group which leads to better emotional and psychological well-being. But the separation, makes negative consequences in social settings and create stress among individuals.19,16,4,17,18 This separation would lead to poor social well being and well being of adolescents in Indian context.

To sum up, the findings of this study carried out with importance of individual level variables like importance to identity to explore the nature of social and community level relationships.

Limitations

The first limitation of this study is very small sample size. This study was carried out only on 150 participants of different groups and sub-groups of India. The second limitation of this study was conducted on only on adolescent participants which was transition period for emotional, cognitive and social development. Adult participants were not taken for this study. The third limitation of this study was only few states (New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar) and few areas (NCR, Varanasi, Azamgarh, Araria) were taken for this study. Other areas and states were not taken for this study. These limitations might affect the generalization of the findings of this study.

Conclusion

In general, the study on emotional well-being and social well-being were near at neglected in the area of psychological researches. There are few studies available on the relationship between collective self-esteem and social, emotional and psychological well being. The area of social identity and well-being was highly neglected in Indian social-cultural settings. Another aspect of social identity (religious identity) was also neglected in psychological studies. These areas should be explored by more empirical evidences and relational orientations chosen by individuals in Indian context should also explored by more empirical evidences in Indian context.

References

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