The failure of general self-ssteem: Self-esteem's aggravating affect on racial discrimination's relation to achievement

Abstract:
Psychological research and popular culture have repeatedly noted that general self-esteem is a positive contributor to well-being and performance indicators across a large variety of domains including education. However, whilst increased self-esteem may have a positive influence on educational outcomes, increasing evidence suggests that perceptions of racial discrimination may simultaneously have a negative impact on these outcomes. The current investigation used structural equation modelling techniques to examine the potential impact of Indigenous Australian students' general self-esteem and perceptions of racial discrimination upon performance on standardised spelling and math achievement measures. The results indicated that general self-esteem did not impact on Indigenous students' performance however, perceived racial discrimination impacted significantly and negatively on performance. In addition, a moderating analysis demonstrated that Indigenous students with a higher general self-esteem were more susceptible to the negative impact of racial discrimination than those with low self-esteem.

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