Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Sex differences in the self-concept in adolescence

  • 906 Accesses

  • 91 Citations

Abstract

This paper examines an aspect of the self-concept — salience of the self or self-consciousness — which has generally been neglected in the past. In an empirical study of nearly 2,000 children and adolescents, it was found that striking sex differences emerge during the adolescent period. Girls are considerably more self-conscious than boys, more vulnerable to criticism, and more concerned with promoting interpersonal harmony. Overall, adolescent girls are increasingly “people-oriented” while boys stress achievement and competence. It is suggested that these differences reflect the social definitions of sex roles.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Beers, J. S. Self-esteem of black and white fifth-grade pupils as a function of demographic categorization. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, Louisiana, February 28, 1973.

  2. Coopersmith, S. The antecedents of self-esteem. San Francisco: Freeman, 1967.

  3. Douvan, E., & Adelson, J. The adolescent experience. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1966.

  4. Freeman, J. Growing up girlish. Transactions 1970, 8 36–43.

  5. Horney, K. Our inner conflicts. New York: Norton, 1945.

  6. Horney, K. Neurosis and human growth. New York: Dover, 1950.

  7. James, W. The principles of psychology. New York: Dover, 1950. (Originally published, 1890.)

  8. Mead, G. H. Mind, self and society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1934.

  9. Piaget, J. [The moral judgment of the child] (Translated by M. Gabain). Glencoe: Free Press, 1948. (Originally published, 1932.)

  10. Riesman, D., Denney, R., & Glazer, N. The lonely crowd. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1950.

  11. Rosenberg, M. Occupations and values. Glencoe: Free Press, 1957.

  12. Rosenberg, M. Test factor standardization as a method of interpretation. Social Forces 1962, 41 53–61.

  13. Rosenberg, M. Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965.

  14. Rosenberg, M., and Simmons, R. G. Black and white self-esteem: The urban school child. Rose Monograph Series. Washington, D. C.: American Sociological Association, 1972.

  15. Simmons, R. G., Rosenberg, F. R., & Rosenberg, M. Disturbance in the self-image in adolescence. American Sociological Review 1973, 38 553–568.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Florence R. Rosenberg.

Additional information

The work of the second author is currently supported by a Research Development Award from the National Institute of Mental Health, #5-K1-MH-41, and MH-197541-01. Grateful acknowledgement is made to Morris Rosenberg for helpful comments.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Rosenberg, F.R., Simmons, R.G. Sex differences in the self-concept in adolescence. Sex Roles 1, 147–159 (1975). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00288008

Download citation

Keywords

  • Empirical Study
  • Social Psychology
  • Adolescent Girl
  • Adolescent Period
  • Social Definition