The most popular test of measuring self-esteem is the so-called Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES). It was developed by the American social psychologist and sociologist Morris Rosenberg in 1965 and quickly became the “go-to” way to assess how much we generally like ourselves.
The test is very easy and fast to do, produces immediate results, and has a very high reliability. It’s barely surprising then that much of the contemporary confidence research draws its complex conclusions based on relatively simple 10 questions—see them included below.
Intriguingly and worth mentioning, though, is that the scale has been found to yield different results depending on the audience—that is, research tells us that, for instance, adolescent boys have higher self-esteem than girls, and that adolescent White and Latina girls have lower and declining confidence compared to African-American in the same age group.
Yet, the take-away is this—when we hear about the recent grand and elaborate self-esteem studies and the links they find, the complex answers are often discovered though the 10 questions posited below, as the RSES still stands today as the most used and reliable barometer of our confidence levels.
The Rosenberg Self-esteem Test:
For the items marked with an (R), reverse the scoring (0 = 3, 1 = 2, 2=1, 3=0). Add the scores. Typical scores on the Rosenberg scale are around 22, with most people scoring between 15 and 25. The scale ranges from 0-30. Scores between 15 and 25 are within normal range; scores below 15 suggest low self-esteem.
Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale
Points: 3 2 1 0
Statements: Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree
- I feel that I’m a person of worth, at least on an equal plane with others.
- I feel that I have a number of good qualities.
- All in all, I’m inclined to feel that I’m a failure. (R)
- I’m able to do things as well as most people.
- I feel I don’t have much to be proud of. (R)
- I take a positive attitude toward myself.
- On the whole, I’m satisfied with myself.
- I wish I could have more respect for myself. (R)
- I certainly feel useless at times. (R)
- At times I think that I’m no good at all. (R)
 Greenberger E, Chen C, Dmitrieva J, Farruggia S. Item-wording and the dimensionality of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale: do they matter? Personality and Individual Differences 10/2003; 35(6):1241-1254. DOI: 10.1016/S0191-8869(02)00331-8