Beyond An Informal Everyday Concept of Self-Esteem: A Latent State-Trait Model

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The present study investigated a state-trait model of self-esteem. Analyses focused on determining if the trait of the observables measuring state self-esteem is equivalent to the trait of the observables measuring trait self-esteem. N = 439 college students completed the Multidimensional Scale of Self-Esteem (MSES) on two measurement occasions spaced 10 weeks apart. Structural equation models were used to test latent state-trait measurement models and the relation between the state and trait components of self-esteem. The results suggest that (1) except for physical self-esteem, the multi-state-single-trait models are suitable for all self-esteem dimensions investigated. This holds for the state test halves as well as for the trait test halves. (2) Concerning the association between the components of trait and state self-esteem, results were supportive of a model, including two latent trait variables, assumed to explain the latent state variables for the respective state form and trait form for the dimensions of general self-esteem. These latent trait factors correlate substantively with .94 ≤ r ≤ .99.

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