Longitudinal Links Between Self-Esteem and the Importance of Self-Direction Values During Adolescence

Ella Daniel, Maya Benish-Weisman, Ariel Knafo-Noam, Anat Bardi

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Self-direction values (e.g., independence, curiosity) are among the most important values to people worldwide. However, it is not clear what encourages their development. We propose that self-esteem may be associated with the development of self-direction values because feelings of self-worth provide the confidence needed for independent pursuit. As both independence and self-esteem develop during adolescence, we examined longitudinal associations
between self-direction values and self-esteem in adolescents. Study 1 (NT1 ¼ 527, 55.6% girls, Mage¼ 16.24, SD ¼.71, NT2 ¼ 198) included two annual waves of data collection. Study 2 (Noverall ¼ 486, 55.6% girls, initial Mage¼ 13.76, SD ¼.51, NT1 ¼ 418, NT2 ¼ 420, NT3¼ 426, NT4 ¼ 387) included four annual waves. In the studies, a cross-lagged panel model and a random-intercept cross-lagged panel model showed that adolescents who feel worthy are more likely to experience an increase in the importance of values of independent thoughts and actions relative to other values. Partial support was found for the opposite direction of association. The results were replicated across longitudinal studies of varying duration and across measures. We discuss the results in light of theories of self-esteem, values, and specifically the development of self-direction values.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20–32
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
Issue number1
Early online date27 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • values
  • longitudinal study
  • adolescence
  • Self-esteem
  • self-direction

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