COLLECTIVE SELF-ESTEEM: A GOOD
PREDICTOR FOR WELL-BEING IN INDIAN CONTEXT
R.1, Byadwal, V.2
Scholar, Department of Psychology, B.H.U., U.P.,
Professor, Department of Psychology, B.H.U., U.P.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Inter-group relations, Collective self esteem, Well-being, Social well-being.
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
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.
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
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
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.
self-esteem would be good predictor of well-being among adolescents in Indian
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
1.Correlation coefficient across the dimensions of CSE and Well-Being
< .05 ** p<.01
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.
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.
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.
2.Stepwise multiple regression analysis using dimensions of CSE as predictor
variables and dimensions of MHC and Well-Being as criterion
Variable : Emotional Well-Being
Variable : Social Well-Being
Variable: MHC Total
*p < .05 ** p<.01
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tajfel, H., Turner, J. C. The social identity theory of intergroup
behavior: In Worchel S., W. G. Austin (Eds.), Psychology of intergroup
relations 1986. Chicago:
J. C., Hogg, M. A., Oakes, P. J., Reicher, S. D., Wetherell, M. S. Rediscovering the Social
Group: A self-categorization Theory 1987. New York:
Bourguignon, D., Seron, E., Yzerbyt,
V., Herman, G. Perceived group and personal discrimination: Differential
effects on personal self-esteem. European Journal of Social Psychology 2006;
Liebkind, K., Solheim, E. To identify or not to identify National
dis-identification as an alternative reaction to perceived ethnic
discrimination. Applied Psychology 2009; 58: 105-128.
Luhtanen, R., Crocker, J. A collective
self-esteem scale: Self-evaluation of one’s social identity. Personality and
Social Psychology Bulletin 1992; 18(3): 302-318.
Phinney, J. S., Cantu, C. L., Kurtz, D. A. Ethnic and American identity
as predictors of self- esteem among African American, Latino, and White
adolescents. Journal of Youth And Adolescence 1997; 26: 165-185.
Umaña‐Taylor, A. J. Ethnic identity and self‐esteem:
Examining the role of social context. Journal of Adolescence 2004; 27: 139-146.
Schwartz, S. J., Unger, J. B., Zamboanga, B. L., Szapocznik, J.
Rethinking the concept of acculturation: Implications for theory and research.
American Psychologist 2010; 65: 237-251.
Chae, M. H., Foley, P. F. Relationship of ethnic identity,
acculturation, and psychological wellbeing among Chinese, Japanese, and Korean
Americans. Journal of Counseling and Development 2010; 88: 466-476.
Kenyon, D. B., Carter, J. S. Ethnic identity, sense of community, and
psychological well‐being among Northern Plains American Indian
youth: Journal of Community Psychology 2011; 39: 1-9.
N. Collective Self-esteem as related to acculturation and commitment to school
in Latino and Southeast Asian immigrant and refugee adolescents. (Doctoral
Dissertation Abstracts International 1998; 59:1841.
Giang, M. T., Wittig, M. A. Implications of
adolescent’s acculturation strategies for personal and collective self-esteem.
Culture Divers Ethnic Minor Psychology 2006; 12: 725-739.
Nesdale, D., Mak, A.S. Ethnic identification, self-esteem and immigrant
psychological health. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 2003;
Finch, B. K., Frank, R., Vega, W.A. Acculturation and
acculturation stress: A social epidemiological approach to Mexican migrants
farm workers health. International Migration Review 2004; 38: 236-262.
Corey L. M. “The Mental Health Continuum” From Languishing to Flourishing in
Life. Pp. 601-617 in Foundations of Psychological Thought: A History of
Psychology 2009. (Eds) Barbara F. Gentile, Benjamin O. Miller. Los Angeles, CA:
C., Jetten, J., Iyer, A., Er-Rafiy, A. Negotiating dual identities: The impact
of group-based rejection on identification and acculturation. European Journal
of Social Psychology 2011; 41: 586-595.
I., Mähönen, T. A., Liebkind, K. Identity and
attitudinal reactions to perceptions of intergroup interactions among ethnic
migrants: A longitudinal study. British Journal of Social Psychology 2012; 51:
T. R., Blader, S. L. The Group Engagement Model: Procedural justice, social
identity, and cooperative behavior. Personality And Social Psychology Review
2003; 7: 349-361.
Berry, J.W., Phinney, J., Sam,
D., Vedder, P. Immigrant youth in cultural transition: Acculturation, identity
and adaptation across national context. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence
Erlbaum Associates 2006.