The Structure of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale: A Cross-Cultural Meta-Analysis

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The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES; Rosenberg, 1965) intends to measure a single dominant factor representing global self-esteem. However, several studies have identified some form of multidimensionality for the RSES. Therefore, we examined the factor structure of the RSES with a fixed-effects meta-analytic structural equation modeling approach including 113 independent samples (N = 140,671). A confirmatory bifactor model with specific factors for positively and negatively worded items and a general self-esteem factor fitted best. However, the general factor captured most of the explained common variance in the RSES, whereas the specific factors accounted for less than 15%. The general factor loadings were invariant across samples from the United States and other highly individualistic countries, but lower for less individualistic countries. Thus, although the RSES essentially represents a unidimensional scale, cross-cultural comparisons might not be justified because the cultural background of the respondents affects the interpretation of the items.

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