## Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate if there was any difference in mean self-esteem scores for boys and girls. Self-esteem has been recognized for its influences on the quality of life and perceptions about the world. The study design was a quantitative study involving 30 participants selected randomly. An independent-samples t-test was conducted for the two variables (gender and total scores for self-esteem). The result indicated that there was no statistically significant variance between mean self-esteem scores for boys and girls. It was therefore concluded that there was no significant variance between mean self-esteem scores for boys and girls, but further studies should explore other variables other than gender.

## Introduction

It is generally acknowledged that having high self-esteem is clearly advantageous to people (Heatherton & Wyland, 2003). High self-esteem makes individuals feel better about themselves. In addition, they can handle challenges effectively while minimizing the impacts of negative outcomes. Further, individuals with high self-esteem believe that they live in a favorable social world in which other people respect them. While Heatherton and Wyland (2003) had observed that some forms of negative outcomes were associated with exceptionally high-levels of self-esteem, it was generally concluded that many people who had high self-esteem had positive attitudes toward life and led productive lives.

On the other hand, people who have low self-esteem have a negative perception of their lives and the world. Such persons have a general dislike for self, which ultimately impaired their overall view of the world. Much evidence has linked cases of depression, loneliness, wariness, and exclusion and self-esteem. These relationships show that low self-esteem adversely affects people who have it. Therefore, self-esteem significantly influences the quality of life.

For achievement and productivity, a study showed that “high self-esteem is an important factor, and it strengthens the prediction of academic achievement in students” (Aryana, 2010, p. 2474). This was the case of pre-university students and their related academic achievements. Consequently, self-esteem is an extremely important factor for determining productivity and outcomes, and perhaps it could influence career outcomes or other vital life choices, even if the influence is marginal.

Self-esteem is critical for psychological well-being (Heatherton & Wyland, 2003). In fact, educators and other interested parties have taken a keen interest in it to assess its influences on individual levels (Aryana, 2010). In fact, some educators have a curriculum to advance self-esteem among students. Some recommendations to instill high-level of self-esteem have included promotion to higher grades even if learners have not attained the minimum required scores.

These forms of promotions are driven by the notion that positive self-esteem is vital, and that most societal adverse outcomes, such as violence, drug abuse, and crime among others are related to low self-esteem (Heatherton & Wyland, 2003). In this case, the negative impacts of low self-esteem are linked to societal negative outcomes. This evidence explains why self-esteem is important for consideration.

In fact, individuals who feel rejected suffer diverse conditions, including emotional challenges and other negative conditions. Social support is critical for such individuals. It helps to alleviate the effects of dislike. Overall, even if people who are passionate about high self-esteem have exaggerated their experiences, there is limited doubt that people who have low self-esteem, irrespective of gender, lead a challenging life. Hence, it is important to measure self-esteem using some standard tools, such as the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale.

## The aim of the Study

The aim of this study was to determine if there was any difference in mean self-esteem scores for boys and girls. The study was based on the view that individuals who have a positive view of themselves were generally considered as psychologically fit and healthy. Conversely, other persons who had low self-esteem were viewed as experiencing psychological challenges and perhaps could be depressed.

## Research Design

A quantitative research design was to compare the mean scores between two different groups of people – men and women. The study used pre-test and post-test design to understand whether there was a significant difference in the mean self-esteem scores for men and women. The research design was adopted to ensure that the study was based on a suitable statistical test for analysis (Bennett, Briggs, & Triola, 2014). Thirty participants were recruited randomly for the study designed to understand variations in self-esteem between genders.

A questionnaire containing a ten-item self-esteem scale was administered to participants and their total scores were recorded. Participants were informed that the questionnaire was designed to assess their self-esteem. Of course, there was no correct or incorrect response. In addition, they were also instructed that the best response was what they would indicate about their self-esteem, as they perceived it during the study. They were encouraged to recognize that the best response was what they thought about themselves when answering the study questions. Further, they were told to answer all the questions listed on the questionnaire even if they were not sure about the best response. After the questionnaire was administered, the quality of the questionnaire instruction was evaluated to determine if participants followed them to protect the reliability and validity of the data collected.

SPSS (Statistical software package) was used to analyze the collected data.

## Research Hypothesis

- H
_{0}: there is a significant difference in the mean self-esteem scores for boys and girls. - H
_{1}: there is no significant difference in the mean self-esteem scores for boys and girls.

## Study Variables

Only two study variables were of interest to the researcher in assessing the difference in mean self-esteem scores for boys and girls. These variables included sex for boys and girls and the total self-esteem scores.

*Table 1: Frequency.*

The sex variable represented boys and girls who participated in the study to determine if there is a significance mean self-esteem score between the genders.

The total self-esteem score reflected the total score for a study participant who answered the ten-question questionnaire administered.

While other variables, such as education, socio-economic status, health, and marital status were important for the study, they were not included in the analysis. It is imperative to recognize that factors such as health could have critical impacts on the self-esteem of an individual.

## Statistics

*Table 2: Statistics for scores.*

There were no missing values in the study.

Table 1 indicated that 14 boys and 16 girls took part in the study, which represented 46.7 percent and 53.3 percent respectively.

Table 2 showed that there were 30 valid results for both boys and girls who took part in the study. In addition, the table also showed that there were 30 valid results for total scores for self-esteem for participants.

Table 3 showed all the frequencies for total scores for self-esteem among participants who took part in the study.

*Table 3: frequencies for total scores for self-esteem (see appendix)*

## A measure of central tendency

A mean was used to measure the central tendency of the collected data. The following table indicates the results.

*Table 4: A measure of central tendency – the mean.*

The mean for boys and girls was determined as 1.53 while the mean for total scores for self-esteem was determined as 29.63. These figures reflected the sum of the numbers divided by the number of numbers used in the study. The mean scores in this study presented the represented values for the study variables. As such, the sum of the groups were converted into a single value to demonstrate the measure of central tendency or average scores for variables. Thus, it was important for condensing all the figures using averages.

*Table 5: descriptive statistics (see appendix)*

## A measure of dispersion

The standard deviation was used to explain the measure of dispersion for gender and total scores for self-esteem. These figures indicated how variable the data were. The standard deviation for boys and girls was 0.507 while the standard deviation for total scores for self-esteem was 7.209. These figures indicated that the spreads for the data were not large or low and, therefore, data were not far away from the mean values.

## Statistical Test

According to Pallant (2005), an independent-samples t-test is used when comparing the mean score, on some continuous variable, for two different groups of subjects (Pallant, 2005, p. 206).

In this study, the research hypothesis concentrated on determining if there was a significant variation in the mean self-esteem scores for boys and girls who participated in the research. The two variables chosen were categorical (an independent variable – boys and girls) and continuous (a dependent variable – total scores for self-esteem).

The purpose of the independent-samples t-test was to indicate whether there was a statistically significant variation in the mean scores for the two groups. That is, the t-test was used to determine if boys and girls differed significantly based on their self-esteem levels as indicated by their respective scores.

## Justification for Using the Test

The independent-samples t-test was therefore the best test for this study because of the two variables for a comparison of mean scores on quantitative results between boys and girls.

*Table 6: Table for t-test.*

Based on the group statistics, these values seemed right, and there were no missing values and wrong codes entered for boys and girls (Pallant, 2005).

The results of Levene’s test for equality of variances showed that the variance (variation) scores for the two groups (boys and girls) are the same. In this result, the Sig. value was larger than.05 (it was.85). The figure indicated that the assumption of equal variances was not violated in the study. Hence, the Equal Variance Assumed score was used to report and interpret the results.

Sig. value (2 – tailed) was used to determine if the two groups had a significant variance based on the outcome of the Levene’s test for equality of variances (Pallant, 2005).

In this study, Sig. value was above.05 (it was.083). The value was above the recommended cut-off of.05. This implied that there was no significant variation between boys and girls. It was therefore concluded that there was no statistically significant variance in the mean self-esteem scores for boys and girls.

## Interpreting the result

An independent-samples t-test was performed to compare the self-esteem scores for boys and girls. There was no significant variation in scores for boys (*M*=32.07, *SD*=6.833) and girls

[*M *= 27.50 *SD *= 7.043; *t *(28) = 1.798, *p*=.083].

*Table 7: Independent Samples Test (see appendix)*

## Discussion

The study was conducted to determine if there was a statistically significant variance in the mean self-esteem scores for boy and girls. The study results indicated that there was no significant variation in scores for boys and girls. As such, the null hypothesis (H_{0}) was rejected.

This study result supports findings of past studies that have demonstrated that there is not significant variance in the mean self-esteem scores for boys and girls. For instance, a study conducted by Aryana (2010) noted similar results in gender and self-esteem scores. Further analysis of other variables that could influence self-esteem, such as academic performance, revealed significant relationships.

The author argued that academic motivation could have been responsible for the variance in levels of academic scores. There were instances in which effects of gender difference were important, specifically in academic achievements. Such achievement could in turn influence one’s level of self-esteem. This implies that the self-esteem among individuals of both sexes in not a function of gender alone. From the findings of Aryana (2010), it was observed that self-esteem was an essential factor in academic performance among students. However, it was also observed that such differences in academic scores could also be traced to the level motivation rather than self-esteem.

Gender is considered a factor that significantly influences self-esteem (Aryana, 2010; Heatherton & Wyland, 2003; Mcmullin & Cairney, 2003). Contrary to results of this study, multiple researchers have noted statistically significant variance between the level of self-esteem between boys and girls or men and women (Aryana, 2010; Mcmullin & Cairney, 2003). Several variations have been noted between men and women based on their scores of self-esteem based on recommended measures.

These differences have been associated with various gender stereotype adopted (Aryana, 2010). It is believed that goals related to independence and autonomy tend to influence self-esteem of men while the level of self-esteem among women is linked to goals associated with sensitivity and interdependence.

Further, Mcmullin and Cairney (2003) also found out that women had lower levels of self-esteem relatively to men (p. 75). In fact, the authors focused on different age groups. The authors also observed that other past studies done by Josephs, Markus, and Tafarodi (1992) also indicated stronger and constant variation in gender and self-esteem – men had higher levels of self-esteem relative to women. The authors however noted that boys and girls started with extremely the same levels of self-esteem when they aged between 11 years and 13 years, but they slowly developed different self-esteem levels during teenage years through to adulthood.

Boys were noted to acquire a favorable sense of self-worth, which girls lost over the years. Further, evidence suggests that lower levels of self-esteem in woman and girls are used to explain possibly higher rates of anxiety and depression among women and girls relative to men and boys (Mcmullin & Cairney, 2003). In psychological health, multiple explanations could be explored to explain variations between men and women. Social structural experiences among men and women are different perhaps from early childhood, and these experiences are reflected in positions and power men have in society. Such power and positions, in turn, affect self-worth and appraisals.

Consequently, based on such power, positions, responsibilities, support, and worth placed on men, they largely tend to have high self-esteem relative to women (noted in Rosenfield, 1999). While this point of view generally leans toward gender difference, it is observed that it can also be used to explain the variance in self-esteem noted between men and women. It is also imperative to note that self-esteem variation can also be observed among men. For instance, lower class men, for example, tend to have less influence compared to upper class men. This variation is noted as age increases, and the possibilities for men to pursue treasured masculine pursuits wane significantly (Mcmullin & Cairney, 2003).

One major limitation of the study was that it was only restricted to two variables. Other confounding variables, such as age, health, and social status among others, were not explored in this study. In addition, the study sample was restricted to 30 participants, which could restrict its generalization.

The aim of this study was to determine if there was any difference in mean self-esteem scores for boys and girls. It was concluded that there was no statistically significant variance between boys and girls based on mean self-esteem scores. Further, studies should be conducted to determine other factors that could influence self-esteem mean scores between boys and girls.

## Appendix

*Table 3*

*Table 5*

*Table 7*

## References

Aryana, M. (2010). Relationship Between Self-esteem and Academic Achievement Amongst Pre-University Students. *Journal of Applied Sciences, 10*, 2474-2477. Web.

Bennett, J. O., Briggs, W. L., & Triola, M. F. (2014). *Statistical Reasoning for Everyday Life* (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/Addison Wesley.

Heatherton, T. F., & Wyland, C. L. (2003). Assessing Self-esteem. In S. J. Lopez, & C. R. Snyder, *Positive Psychological Assessment: A Handbook of Models and Measures* (pp. 219-233). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Mcmullin, J. A., & Cairney, J. (2003). Self-Esteem and the Intersection of Age, Class, and Gender. *Journal of Aging Studies, 18*(1), 75-90. Web.

Pallant, J. (2005). *SPSS Survival Manual.* Australia: Allen & Unwin.