Feeling Good in Spite of Failure: Understanding Race-Based Differences in Academic Achievement and Self-Esteem
AuthorAuf der Heide, Laura
Combinatoric Identity Theory
AdvisorWalker, Henry A.
Committee ChairWalker, Henry A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractStudies indicate that global self-esteem, an individual's overall sense of self-worth, and academic self-esteem, self-worth related to academics, are positively related to academic achievement. This relationship holds for white adolescents. However, while still positive, this relationship is weaker for African Americans, who have high global and academic self-esteem, but very low academic achievement. Patterns for Mexican Americans are less clear, but their global and academic self-esteem appear to fall between the range for white and African American adolescents, while their academic achievement is similar to that of African Americans. To address this, I construct Combinatoric Identity Theory (CIT), a symbolic interactionist theory that incorporates the importance of racial/ethnic and student identities into our current understandings of self-esteem and achievement. I then apply CIT to data collected on Mexican American and white tenth-graders.After a discussion of the relevant literature on education, self-esteem, and identity, I discuss my data collection strategy and techniques. This is followed by empirical analysis. Results indicate that identity processes do affect self-esteem, and that they operate in similar ways for Mexican American and white adolescents. Implications of these results and directions for future research are then presented.