DOI: 10.1111/cdev.14052 ISSN: 0009-3920

Am I a good person? Academic correlates of explicit and implicit self‐esteem during early childhood

Dario Cvencek, Ružica Brečić, Elizabeth A. Sanders, Dora Gaćeša, David Skala, Andrew N. Meltzoff
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health


Implicit and explicit self‐esteem are not commonly measured in the same children. Using a cross‐sectional design, data from 354 Croatian children (184 girls) in Grade 1 (Mage = 7.55 years) and Grade 5 (Mage = 11.58 years) were collected in Spring 2019. All children completed explicit and implicit self‐esteem measures; math and language grades were obtained. For the explicit measure, older children showed lower self‐esteem than younger children, and girls showed lower self‐esteem than boys. For the implicit measure, there were no age effects, and girls showed higher self‐esteem than boys. Although both types of self‐esteem were positively associated with academic achievement, implicit self‐esteem was associated more strongly with language than with math achievement. Discussion is provided about why self‐esteem relates to academic achievement during childhood.

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