A Multidimensional, Hierarchical Self-Concept Page

Year: 1993

Author: Marsh, Herbert W.

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The self-concept construct is one of the oldest in psychology and is used widely in many disciplines. Despite its popularity, reviews prior to the 1980s typically emphasized the lack of theoretical basis in most studies, the poor quality of measurement instruments, methodological shortcomings, and a general lack of consistent findings. This situation called into question the usefulness of the self-concept construct.

In dramatic contrast, the last decade has seen considerable progress in theory, measurement, and research. This progress is due in part to a stronger emphasis on a multidimensional self-concept instead of global measures of self.

The purpose of this presentation is to summarize theoretical perspectives leading to the multidimensional, hierarchical model emphasized in subsequent papers. A major focus of this review is to show how this emphasis on a multidimensional self-concept has contributed to theory, measurement, research and practice.

This overview further substantiates the claim that self-concept cannot be understood adequately if its multidimensionality is ignored. I recommend that researchers use well-constructed multidimensional measures of self-concept instead of relying solely on global measures of self.