McKay, Michael, Boduszek, Daniel and Harvey, Seamus (2014) The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale: A bifactor answer to two-factor question? Journal of Personality Assessment, 96 (6). pp. 654-660. ISSN 0022-3891

Despite its long-standing and widespread use, disagreement remains regarding the structure of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES). In particular, concern remains regarding the degree to which the scale assesses self-esteem as a unidimensional or multidimensional (positive and negative self-esteem) construct. Using a sample of 3,862 high school students in the United Kingdom, 4 models were tested: (a) a unidimensional model, (b) a correlated 2-factor model in which the 2 latent variables are represented by positive and negative self-esteem, (c) a hierarchical model, and (d) a bifactor model. The totality of results including item loadings, goodness-of-fit indexes, reliability estimates, and correlations with self-efficacy measures all supported the bifactor model, suggesting that the 2 hypothesized factors are better understood as “grouping” factors rather than as representative of latent constructs. Accordingly, this study supports the unidimensionality of the RSES and the scoring of all 10 items to produce a global self-esteem score.

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