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T HE S ELF - ESTEEM FALLACY Erika Koelsch. OVERVIEW What is Self-Esteem? Self-Esteem and Behavior Analysis Classic Thinking about Self-Esteem The Self-Esteem.

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Presentation on theme: "T HE S ELF - ESTEEM FALLACY Erika Koelsch. OVERVIEW What is Self-Esteem? Self-Esteem and Behavior Analysis Classic Thinking about Self-Esteem The Self-Esteem."— Presentation transcript:

1 T HE S ELF - ESTEEM FALLACY Erika Koelsch

2 OVERVIEW What is Self-Esteem? Self-Esteem and Behavior Analysis Classic Thinking about Self-Esteem The Self-Esteem Fallacy The National Preoccupation with Self-Esteem Solutions A Case Study Results and Conclusions

3 W HAT IS SELF ESTEEM ? Self-Esteem and the “social self” (p. 101) Brown (1993) Self-Esteem as a delusion The educational model Is self-esteem a fad? Pseudoscience?

4 S ELF E STEEM AND B EHAVIOR A NALYSIS Self-Esteem is NOT a behavioral concept Why? Not objectively defined Cannot be measured No empirical evidence Not based on reinforcement contingencies Or is it?

5 C LASSIC THINKING ABOUT SELF - ESTEEM Perception of parents and caregivers Risk for various psychological or emotional disturbances Ego functioning, control and overall wellbeing Psychologists Embracing the Self-Esteem ideal No evidence Lack of effective behavioral change The Self-Esteem Fallacy

6 T HE SELF - ESTEEM FALLACY Psychologists’ Emphasis Psychologist’s Responsibility Branden (1994) All psychological problems are rooted in low self-esteem The California Task Force on the Importance of Self- Esteem Science based approach Correlation between behavior and self esteem

7 T HE N ATIONAL PREOCCUPATION WITH SELF - ESTEEM Baumeister et al. (1994) “In our view, America is not suffering from low self- esteem. It suffers from a spreading epidemic of self regulation failure.” Self-esteem vs. Good Character Childhood behavior results in Adult behavior Is this a behavioral perspective? Self-esteem can play a role Must be objective Establish reinforcement contingencies for dangerous and disruptive behaviors rooted in high self-esteem Must have behavior change to cause socially significant changes in life

8 S OLUTIONS Dawes (1994) “What constitutes a good life? What types of behavior are desirable? How should people feel about the world?” Focus on environmental and circumstantial causes How do our learners’ relate to these above concepts? Or do they?

9 S OLUTIONS C ONT. Schools Continue to have programs illustrating importance of self- esteem Hunter (2000) stated that school-based programs grounded in ideals to not engage in disruptive or “bad” behavior solely based on the effects these behaviors will have on self-esteem alone

10 A C ASE STUDY

11 S ELF - ESTEEM / INCLUSION ILLUSION A CASE STUDY 10-year-old boy Were needs being met? FAPE in regular education classroom? Behavior and Symptoms Aggressive Took food from others Nonverbal Not toilet trained Placement Regular education through elementary school with pull-out special education services (until 3 rd grade) throughout day and a one-to-one aide Contention Parents did not want child in resource room District stated they could not provide FAPE and meet needs of child in regular education setting Major Case Consideration Parents, inclusion expert, and various attorney’s stated that boy’s self- esteem was much higher while in regular education setting

12 S ELF - ESTEEM / INCLUSION ILLUSION A CASE STUDY Original Inclusion Plan- Included the following headlines Inclusion Builds Self-Esteem and Acceptance Buzzwords: Heighten feelings of acceptance, take ownership (e.g., the teacher takes ownership of student to make part of classroom community), Would not be velcroed to his aide, classmates would perceive the boy as a classmate instead of an outsider. Inclusion Must Be Maintained at All Costs to Prevent a Loss of Self-Esteem Buzzwords: Once boy was accepted, classmates would “tolerate” problem behavior, and he should remain in the classroom during problem behavior unless resulting in lack of ability for students to work. The More Opportunities for Inclusion, the More Approaches the Service Delivery and the Greater Opportunity to Raise Self-Esteem Buzzwords: Boy should participate and receive equal opportunities in classroom as other students. Oh, and this builds self-esteem too Inclusion is Learner Centered and Builds Self-Esteem Curriculum is designed to have boy have positive experiences in school, thus, increasing self-esteem.

13 O THER RESULTS Autism specialist Placement was not appropriate for boy’s behaviors and learning needs Author’s report Not motivated Aide did not assist in curricular work, but prevented or stopped disruptive behavior or stereotypy Raised question: How much valuable teaching has been lost in the last 5 years? No measure of higher self- esteem in regular education Why?

14 I N CONCLUSION … Self-Esteem vs Self- Respect Is self-esteem a fad?

15 A NY QUESTIONS ?

16 REFERENCES Baumeister, R.F., Smart, L., &Boden, J.M. (1996). Relation of threatened egotism to violence and aggression: The dark side of high self-esteem. Psychological Review, 103(1), Brown, J.D. (1993). Self-esteem and self-evaluation: Feeling is believing. In J. Suls (Ed.), Psychological perspectives on the self (Vol. 4, pp ). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Dawes, R.M. (1994). House of cards: Psychology and psychotherapy built on myth. New York: Free Press Hunter, J.D. (2000). The death of character. New York: Basic Books. Jacobson, J. W., Foxx, R. M., & Mulick, J. A. (2005). The Self-Esteem Fallacy. In Controversial Therapies for Developmental Disabilities; Fad, Fashion, and Science in Professional Practice (pp ). New York: Psychology Press. Smelser, N. (1989). Self-esteem and social problems: An introduction. In A.M. Mecca, N.J. Smelser, & J.Vasconcellos (Eds.), The social important of self-esteem (pp ). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.


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