Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling

Articles

Questioning the General Self-Esteem Vaccine: General Self-Esteem, Racial Discrimination, and Standardised Achievement Across Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Students

Gawaian H. Bodkin-Andrewsa1 c1, Marjorie Seatona2, Genevieve F. Nelsona3, Rhonda G. Cravena4 and Alexander S. Yeunga5

a1 Centre for Educational Research, University of Western Sydney, Australia. g.bodkinandrews@uws.edu.au

a2 Centre for Educational Research, University of Western Sydney, Australia.

a3 Centre for Educational Research, University of Western Sydney, Australia.

a4 Centre for Educational Research, University of Western Sydney, Australia.

a5 National Institute of Education, Singapore.

Abstract

Psychological research and the popular media culture have repeatedly noted that self-esteem positively contributes to life satisfaction and performance indicators across a large variety of domains. However, while varying measures of self-esteem may be argued to have a positive influence on outcome measures, increasing evidence suggests that perceptions of racial discrimination may also have a negative impact across a wide variety of outcomes. The current investigation used structural equation modelling techniques to examine the potential impact of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian students' General Self-Esteem and their perceptions of racial discrimination on spelling and maths achievement. Results indicated that General Self-Esteem displayed little or no significant relations with the performance measures, yet perceived racial discrimination significantly and negatively predicted both spelling and maths achievement for the Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. In addition, no significant latent interaction between General Self-Esteem and perceived discrimination was identified, raising questions for the self-protective properties of General Self-Esteem, at least for achievement outcomes.

Keywords

  • perceived discrimination;
  • self-esteem;
  • education;
  • Indigenous Australians;
  • structural equation modelling;
  • latent interactions;
  • invariance testing

Correspondence

c1 Address for correspondence: Gawaian Bodkin-Andrews, Centre for Educational Research, Bankstown Campus, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith South DC, NSW 1797, Australia.