Development of domain-specific self-evaluations: A meta-analysis of longitudinal studies

Orth, Ulrich; Dapp, Laura C.; Erol, Ruth Yasemin; Krauss, Samantha; Luciano, Eva C. (2021). Development of domain-specific self-evaluations: A meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 120(1), pp. 145-172. American Psychological Association 10.1037/pspp0000378

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This meta-analysis investigated the normative development of domain-specific self-evaluations (also referred to as self-concept or domain-specific self-esteem) by synthesizing the available longitudinal data on mean-level change. Eight domains of self-evaluations were assessed: academic abilities, athletic abilities, physical appearance, morality, romantic relationships, social acceptance, mathematics, and verbal abilities. Analyses were based on data from 143 independent samples which included 112,204 participants. As the effect size measure, we used the standardized mean change d per year. The mean age associated with effect sizes ranged from 5 to 28 years. Overall, developmental trajectories of self-evaluations were positive in the domains of academic abilities, social acceptance, and romantic relationships. In contrast, self-evaluations showed negative developmental trajectories in the domains of morality, mathematics, and verbal abilities. Little mean-level change was observed for self-evaluations of physical appearance and athletic abilities. Moderator analyses were conducted for the full set of samples and for the subset of samples between ages 10 and 16 years. The moderator analyses indicated that the pattern of findings held across demographic characteristics of the samples, including gender and birth cohort. The meta-analytic dataset consisted largely of Western and White/European samples, pointing to the need of conducting more research with non-Western and ethnically diverse samples. The meta-analytic findings suggest that the notion that self-evaluations generally show a substantial decline in the transition from early to middle childhood should be revised. Also, the findings did not support the notion that self-evaluations reach a critical low point in many domains in early adolescence.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Orth, Ulrich; Dapp, Laura Claude and Krauss, Samantha


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology




American Psychological Association




Ulrich Orth

Date Deposited:

07 Jan 2021 17:00

Last Modified:

11 Jan 2021 08:23

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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