Original Research

Self-Esteem Among Children in Grade R in an Urban South African School

Anita Keller, Manfred Max Bergman
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 2, No 2 | a18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v2i2.18 | © 2012 Anita Keller, Manfred Max Bergman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 2014 | Published: 30 December 2012

About the author(s)

Anita Keller,, Sweden
Manfred Max Bergman, University of Basel Switzerland, and visiting professor at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

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This paper presents the first assessment of the Behavioural Rating Scale of Presented Self-Esteem (Haltiwanger, 1989) in South Africa. The analyses are based on teachers’ evaluation of self-esteem of 57 young isiZulu and Sesotho-speaking children attending a South African government-funded urban primary school. Although we found Cronbach’s Alpha to be very high (α = .96), an exploratory factor analysis revealed a possible two-factor solution. However, the second factor did not match the two-factor solution reported in previous research (Fuchs-Beauchamp, 1996) and explained only a small amount of total variance. No self-esteem differences were detected between boys and girls, or between isiZulu- and Sesotho-speakers. The association between subjective summary ratings of self-esteem by teachers and the PSE scores in Soweto matches the associations measured in the US by Haltiwanger (1989). Interestingly, teachers’ subjective assessment of children’s future leadership status correlated positively with evaluation of the children’s self-esteem, while teachers’ subjective assessment of being burdened by major problems in the children’s future did not. Measurement issues relating to ecological validity, culture-sensitivity, and subsequent work on self-esteem of children and education in South Africa are discussed.


Behavioural rating scale of presented self-esteem, Soweto panel research programme, young school children


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