Self-esteem Research, Theory, and Practice: Toward a Positive Psychology of Self-esteem Name: Course: Instructor: Date: Mruk, Christopher J. Self-esteem research, theory, and practice: toward a positive psychology of self-esteem. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company, 2006. Print. Introduction The Self-esteem research, theory, and practice: toward a positive psychology of self-esteem 2006 publication is notably a third edition in a series of books by Christopher Mruk.
Mruk is a leading researcher in self-esteem psychology and states who states that the third edition is meant to expand his line of thought and body of work. The book also adds recent findings to the psychological research field while defending Mruk’s findings from major criticism that have been outlined towards various ideologies. Mruk’s series of books have generated a lot of attention in the self-esteem research field to an extent of them being used as references in professional articles and websites on the topic. Mruk’s vast experience that is displayed in the book has led to various writing invitations regarding the other two books concerning self-esteem and various research investigations.
The book highlights the self-esteem field as one that would be damaged by criticisms made towards it on a professional level. The psychology of self-esteem has been expressed in the book as one that has matured with time with increasing wealth of new theories, ideas and research concepts. The book highlights challenges that are being faced by self-esteem research and psychology fields. A notable challenge had been the omission of self-esteem in the new vision of positive psychology as instituted by the American Psychological Association. This shows that the Association fails to recognize self-esteem as an important part of the positive psychology vision. Mruk’s publication therefore highlights the omission issue and dedicates a chapter in the book outlining its importance.
Book Summary The book comprises of seven chapters. The first six chapters have been recurrently produced in the previous editions while the seventh only appears on the third volume to offer a discourse on the crucial issue of self-esteem and positive psychology. The first chapter outlines crucial elements needed in defining self-esteem.
The chapter discusses the various definitions afforded about self-esteem as well as identifies problems noted within the definition aspect. For instance, definitions of self-esteem include worthiness, competence and varying proportions of competence and worthiness. Following this there is an explanation of how self-esteem can be described through a two-factor approach and approaches in formulating such definitions (Mruk 27). The second chapter deals with research problems and issues encountered in the self-esteem research field. Major paradoxes in the self-esteem field are discussed. For instance the word ‘self’ in self-esteem is discussed and the question of whether it is primarily sociological or psychological is highlighted. An evaluation is also conducted discussing whether self-esteem is a trait or a state. This paradox actually compares self-esteem in terms of character traits and a state.
As a trait, it could have different degrees such as high or low while as a state it is acquired and lost depending on different situations that a person may be facing. The function of self-esteem is also discussed and whether it exists as a calling or motivational need. Other paradoxes discussed include whether self-esteem is a process or a developmental product and whether it acts as a dependent or independent variable. Problems encountered while assessing self-esteem are also outlined. An additional discussion discussing problems encountered when using different scientific methods of research, the validity of the research and several conclusions is given (Mruk, 61). Major findings in self-esteem research are discussed in the third chapter.
Such findings include parental factors and self-esteem in relation to social values. The relation between gender and self-esteem is also discussed within the given chapter. A discussion of the ethnic, racial and economic factors affecting self-esteem is also addressed.
Cultural orientation in relation to self-esteem and sources of the same are also evidenced. The paradoxes are revisited and a further discussion is offered. Instruments that can be used in the assessment of self-esteem are discussed, along with several self-esteem enhancement techniques together with their integration (Mruk 104). The fourth chapter discusses major theories and programs in self-esteem. Traditional theoretical approaches are discussed including social learning, Jamesian and the humanistic traditions. In this chapter, the author also discusses contemporary empirically based approaches and some major programs used in the enhancement of self-esteem. Some of these approaches include Susan Harter’s Developmental approach and the Seymour Epstein’s Cognitive Experimental Self-Theory (Mruk 145).
The fifth chapter revisits the earlier discussed two-factor approach of defining and drawing meaning from self-esteem. Basic types of self-esteem are mentioned as low and high self-esteem and an explanation for each is made. The two factors of competence and worthiness are discussed in relation to self-esteem and different levels of self-worth in relation to the two factors are highlighted. The development of self-esteem from childhood, middle childhood to adulthood is discussed.
Links created between behavior and self-esteem is reexamined in the end of the fifth chapter (Mruk, 185). In the sixth chapter, an interesting study is carried out where two factors are used to formulate enhancement programs for self-esteem; the group setting and the individual setting as used in the enhancement of self-esteem. In both cases, several phases are followed in terms of weeks where various activities are described and performed every week. For instance in the group setting, from the first to sixth weeks, materials described include focusing, awareness, enhancing (on worthiness and competence), management and follow up sessions, respectively.
The individual setting is only discussed as a whole and the validity of the methods is analyzed at the end of the chapter (Mruk 222). The seventh chapter, as earlier noted talks about the self-esteem and positive psychology. The chapter discusses self-esteem and the original concept of humanistic positive psychology and the positive psychology concept as discussed while excluding self-worth. Basic ideas, themes and focuses of positive psychology are discussed in the chapter. Similarities and differences between the two versions of positive psychology are highlighted and discussed quite in depth. The relationship between positive psychology and self-esteem acts as the conclusive part of the discussion in the book (Mruk 254).
Critique The book, being a third edition, is very repetitive when contrasted in terms of the highlighted issues. For instance, the first chapter deals with definitions of self-esteem. This is observed similarly in the other two books.
The structure of the book also matches the other two such that it is hard for the author and his publisher to choose a title for the work. Though Murk says that the book defends self-esteem and highlights different issues that were omitted in the previous volumes, he only dedicates one chapter to these issues, which evidences the book as a repetitive source. The book offers previously discussed topics and only add little modifications in form of research. This shows that not much work was put into the book and that the author should have just documented the new findings in a shorter book other than using almost three hundred pages to repeat most of the previously done work. Moreover, the level of research that Mruk adds onto the book is not as extensive as he suggests in his description of the same. This is because the work adds ideas he suggests as continuations of the previous work that he fails to establish in the other two volumes. Murk gives himself too much credit as he fails to mention any other authors in his book almost as if to signify that he did not get any help from other sources.
However, in the beginning of the book Murk mentions an author that shares his opinions. Murk fails to compare various works of people to create different opinions for the reader in the creations of a broader scope and limits the content to his own findings almost as if to suggest that his findings are the only correct ones in the field of self-esteem research. Works Cited Mruk, Christopher J. Self-esteem research, theory, and practice: toward a positive psychology of self-esteem. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company, 2006.