Self-Concept in kindergarten and first grade children: A longitudinal study on structure, development, and relation to achievement

Dapp, Laura C.; Roebers, Claudia M. (2018). Self-Concept in kindergarten and first grade children: A longitudinal study on structure, development, and relation to achievement. Psychology, 9(7), pp. 1605-1629. Scientific Research Publishing 10.4236/psych.2018.97097

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The self-concept refers to a multidimensional construct that organizes a person’s self-perceptions into a hierarchical structure comprising global and specific facets. Children’s self-concept, however, is believed to be less differentiated and less realistic, as children tend to systematically overestimate their abilities. Since little research has been conducted with children before the beginning of formal schooling, the present longitudinal study aimed to explore the structure of kindergarten children’s self-concept, its development during the transition to school, as well as the links between self-concept and achievement in first grade. Counteracting the positively biased self-ratings in children, self-concept was assessed by an innovative measurement instrument that allows for fine-tuned self-evaluations. Structural Equation Modeling showed that kindergarten children’s self-concept is already organized in a multidimensional structure, and thus, differentiates much earlier than previously believed. Like the self-concept of adults, kindergarten children’s self-concept is composed of domain-specific facets, comprising literacy, mathematical, peer-related and teacher-related self-concept aspects. Moreover, gender stereotype conforming differences—like boys having a higher mathematical and girls having a higher social self-concept—already seem to develop at such a young age. Upon first grade entry, children’s academic self-concept increases and becomes positively related to achievement, indicating at least some realism in children’s self-perceptions. Taken together, the findings provide new insights into the structure, development, and validity of young children’s self-concept, contributing substantially to the generalizability of a multidimensionally organized self-concept.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Developmental Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Dapp, Laura Claude and Roebers, Claudia


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology




Scientific Research Publishing




Jennifer Ruth Sprenger

Date Deposited:

20 Mar 2019 07:46

Last Modified:

20 Mar 2019 07:46

Publisher DOI:





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