Self-Esteem: Defining, Measuring and Promoting an Elusive Concept


  • Adrian Lohan
  • Fiona King


Self-Esteem, SEN, Special Educational Needs


Self-esteem has been a much debated construct in the educational sphere and interest in the area continues to flourish in classroom and research contexts. While the merits of targeting self-esteem have long been accentuated (Emler, 2001; MacIntyre, 2005; Cooper and Jacobs, 2011), the validity of the construct has also been questioned in light of modest empirical support. Recently, clearer definitions of the concepts involved and more reliable means of assessing these variables have helped allay doubts about its validity. However, a number of challenges persist in this regard, most notably in the context of learners with special educational needs (SEN). In light of recent calls for schools to explicitly plan for, monitor and measure the self-esteem of pupils with SEN alongside cognitive-academic outcomes (National Council for Special Education (NCSE), 2014), a review of research and practices in this area is timely. It is hoped that this review will provide some guidance for teachers in terms of defining, measuring and promoting self-esteem outcomes.




How to Cite

Lohan, A., & King, F. (2021). Self-Esteem: Defining, Measuring and Promoting an Elusive Concept. REACH: Journal of Inclusive Education in Ireland, 29(2), 116–127. Retrieved from