The relationship between self-esteem/self-concept and aggression in Black, Latino, and White middle school males

Date of Completion

January 2005


Black Studies|Education, Educational Psychology|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies




The tragedy that was Columbine High School convinced most people of the necessity of knowing more about the feelings of young adolescent males and the circumstances which give impetus to these feelings. It is generally agreed that we need to begin to identify the problems and the dynamics which attend them early on, as these young people stand on the cusp of adolescence. ^ This study collected and analyzed data for a group of suburban middle school boys, ages 11 to 14 to ascertain their feelings of aggression, their self-concepts and the relationships between the two. The relationships between these feelings and the following were also tested: age, race, and ethnic group. The Piers-Harris Self-Concept Scale (Ellen Piers, 1984) and the Aggression Questionnaire (Buss and Warren, 2000) were used to collect the data. A total of 95 boys were involved. Race and ethnic groups included black, white and Hispanic. ^ Analysis of variance and chi-square analyses were used to test for homogeneity of the sample according to race and age. No significant differences were found for either variable when the .05 level of significance was applied as a criterion for F and chi-square values. ^ Applications of analysis of variance and chi-square also indicated that the responses of the sample were not significantly different from the responses of boys in the norm groups for the instruments. ^ Application of a Pearson Product Moment Correlation Analysis to test for relationships between feelings of aggression and self-concept yielded a most important negative relationship (r = 54), i.e., when self-concepts of subjects went down, feelings of aggression went up. ^ This finding would seem to have implications of the first order for concerned teachers, parents and administrators. Further study of this topic is highly recommended. ^