Self Concept: How We Express Ourselves

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Table of Contents

  • Self-concept
  • Research Design
  • Participants
  • Instrument
  • Procedure
  • Data Analysis

Understanding one's behavior and perceptions, or simply the self has been a major concern of psychologists and has been a conquest towards explaining one's self-concept, self-esteem, and self-identity. Self-concept is a collection of beliefs about oneself. It is described as the image one has about him/her. Self-concept is thought of as how an individual perceives his/her behaviors, abilities, and characteristics that are different when compare to other people. Self-concept is the totality of an individual's thoughts and feelings having reference to himself as an object (Rosenberg, 1979).

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Self-concept tends to be adjusting when people are younger and is still going through the process of extreme developments. As people go through various life changes, they start to form a more distinct understanding of themselves being able to account for what they like and what they value. During this period, adolescents are more liable to the influence of their peers and are prone to greater self-consciousness (Blakemore, Burnett, & Sebastian, 2008). Adolescents are greatly influenced and very wary of getting the appraisal of the people they look up to and they tend to engage in increasingly competitive activities and are more conscious about taking the perceptions of others (Manning, 2007)

An individual likely has some positive and negative self-concepts in different domains. A positive self-concept leads to a strong sense of self-worth, self-confidence, self-respect, and positive self-evaluation. A positive self-concept is the most important factor for adjustment and a safeguard against typical problem behaviors (Ybrandt, 2008). Individuals with a higher self-concept are expected to behave more appropriately and function well. On the other hand, a negative self-concept leads to frustration, problem behaviors, and even self-hatred. Internalizing these problems such as anxiety and aggression can predict certain delinquent behaviors and individuals are more inclined to personal and social adjustments.

Another deeming factor towards the formation of self-concept is gender. Researches have sought to point out the effect of gender on self-expression and identification. Women are perceived to be more anxious and emotional towards dealing with different situations. They are more likely to positively attribute themselves to qualities related to interdependence, such as likeability and social functioning (Stake, 1992). A stereotypic pattern of gender differences also points to men as having a high self-concept in terms of power, strength, and invulnerability, and independence.

The analysis of self-concept among BS Medical Laboratory Science students of LPU - Batangas is vital for its predictive capacity of various behaviors applicable in different situations in life, family, social interactions, and academic perspectives. An understanding of self-concept can help clarify and solidify one's stand about him/her and be able to change and adapt to proper behaviors. As stated by Helmut Lang, an Australian artist has developed an identity, a person will keep doing what is right for him/her and will be able to take the next step as she/he preferred. Overall, knowing self and having developed an understanding of it can be valuable and necessary for humanity as it essentially provides the condition for an individual's enrichment.

The study aimed to determine the level of self-concept among the students taking up a Bachelor of Science Major in Medical Laboratory Science. Specifically, it will describe the profile of the respondents in terms of gender and economic status. Furthermore, the study seeks to determine the level of self-concept of BS MLS students in terms of self-view, others' perceptions, and its positive and negative effects. Lastly, the study compared the respondents’ level of self-concept when grouped according to profile. This study also seeks to present mechanisms by which the level of self-concept can be improved.


Self-concept highly refers to how an individual expresses his/her own beliefs and the level of understanding about himself/herself. These are shaped and developed by continuous interaction and being immersed in a dynamic society. Self-concept is unique, dynamic, and ever-evolving. It influences a person’s identity, self-worth, self-esteem, self-evaluation, body image, and role in society. It translates to who we are, the decision and actions we make, and the various relationships we form. It is indeed the basis for all motivated behavior.

Thompson defined self-concept as a multi-dimensional construct that also discusses the dimension of self-worth. Self-concept encompasses an individual’s overall perception of his/her psychological and physiological being, whereas self-esteem is the discernment of worth an individual designates to his or herself.

Self-concept may be positive (high) or negative (low). A positive self-concept leads to a greater sense of self-worth, self-confidence, self-respect, positive self-evaluation, and healthy, productive life. The negative self-concept leads to frustration, maladjustment and may result even in self-hatred. Individuals with a high concept of self are expected to operate more effectively; this is evident in interpersonal competence, intellectual efficiency, and environmental mastery. In contrast, a negative self-concept is correlated with personal and social adjustment having conflicts with satisfactorily meeting the demands of the environment. According to Brandt, a positive self-concept is the most important factor for adjustment and a safeguard against typical problem behaviors. This highlights the importance of having a positive self-concept in various psycho-social contexts.

Wang et al discussions indicated that the boys had a better self-concept when compared to the girls. However, the overall conclusion suggested that the differences in self-concept among girls and boys are minimal and might not be considered as vital.

An extensive search of the literature on PubMed revealed that almost all studies conducted on self-concept corresponds to the adolescent age group and a larger breakdown of women are chosen as participants Therefore, the present study was planned among the medical undergraduate students to assess their self-concept.

According to Scheirer & Kraut, self-concept is involved centrally in the learning process, either as a contributing cause or an important outcome. Beliefs about the role of self-concept in learning are supported by studies that have investigated the relationship between self-concept and school achievement.

There has been a moderate relationship between self-concept and measures of achievement, with correlations increasing where specific school-related self-concepts are examined (Burs, 1982; Byrne, 1984). In some principles, a student's self-concept is seen as influencing achievement outcomes through its effect on motivation. The relationship between self-concept and learning performance is at least reciprocal. They focused on the persistent relationship between self-concept and achievement among individuals, and its role of self-concept in ones’ motivation. It is not surprising that research attention has focused on the self-concepts of students grouped according to specific achievement characteristics.

One such group, learning disabled (LD) children, has been the subject of considerable research in terms of self-concept, particularly since the mid- 1970s. (Deci & Chandler, 1986) Emotional and motivational variables, including self-concept, are central to some learning disabilities either as initial causes or as factors that compound the source of the learning problems. The effects on Learning Disabled students of persistent failure are seen as negative and long-lasting, particularly in terms of effective and social-emotional development.

Low achieving students are frequently judged about higher achievers, often resulting to feel inferiority, lack of motivation, and interpersonal hostility. The negative effects of social comparison are likely to be intensified in situations where teachers view the poor performance of LD students as being caused by pervasive and permanently low levels of ability. Some of the important studies reported the comparisons between Learning Disabled and non-learning disabled students. Significantly lower scores for Learning Disabled students compared to where found. (e.g. Rogers et al., 1978; Smith, Zingale, & Coleman, 1978; Strang et al., 1978)

More consistent findings were obtained where specific school-related rather than global measures for self-concept were used. This implies that the average Learning Disabled student has an academic self-concept score that is 81% of LD students have lower academic self-concepts than the average NLD students. Further, it can be stated that self-concept enhancement is seen as a central goal of education and an important vehicle for addressing social inequities experienced by disadvantaged groups (Marsh & Craven, 2006). In their model of effective schools, Brookover and Lezotte (1979) emphasized that maximizing academic self-concept (ASC), self-reliance, and academic achievement should be the major outcome goals of schooling. However, achieving this outcome can be directly related to how educational institutions provide an effective learning environment to the learners.

Self-concept is a motivational factor that influences the performance of people in every sector. In this regard, it can be said that the self-concepts of children in school settings influence the learning/academic performance. In the western culture number of research studies proved the persistent relationship between self-concept and academic achievement, and the role of self-concept increases the motivational level of children in school settings. Since the mid-1970s number of research studies proved that low self-concept among children with learning disabilities is a major cause of poor academic performance in the school setting.

Only a few studies have been done in areas regarding the above-mentioned, most of them are related to reading problems. This is a neglected area, some studies are done abroad. Something which can be fruitful must have done to improve the learning process for disabled students, so they can increase the motivational level in academics, self-concepts, and various aspects of life.

Research Design

This study was conducted with the descriptive method of research. This type of research does not involve using experimentation to gather data, but rather to better define an opinion, attitude, or behavior held by a group of people on a given subject (FluidSurvey, 2014). Specifically, a survey descriptive method of research is considered to be quantitative because the results can be statistically analyzed.


The participants of the research are BS Medical Laboratory Science first-year students of Lyceum of the Philippines University. The researchers have chosen a group consisting of thirty-six members accounting for twelve men and twenty-four women. The sample chosen was drawn purposively as a group for the researchers to have better access and to save time in handing in the questionnaires.


A standardized survey questionnaire was administered to gather answers for evaluating the self-concept among the first-year students taking up Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science in the Lyceum of the Philippines University – Batangas. The researchers use RSQC or Robson Self Concept Questionnaire, a psychological scale used to measure self-esteem. The questionnaire consists of two parts: the student profile and attitude toward self-concept. The first part of the survey seeks to describe the profile of the respondents in terms of gender, and economic status by stating from what kind of school they graduated to whether private or public. The responses of the second part of the survey are consist of thirty items and evaluate the self-concept of students by assigning verbal interpretation ranging from mostly disagree, disagree, agree, and mostly agree. These verbal interpretations were then given scalar weight values of 0 to 7, with 0 as the lowest and 7 as the highest, to analyze statistically.


The researchers provided the questionnaires to students who were enrolled as first-year students taking up Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory because of their involvement in this study. The handling of the questionnaire was done personally by the researchers and they also facilitate the retrieval of responses to ensure the validity of the answers. The participants were informed of the purpose of answering the questionnaires and that the whole process is voluntary. To assure confidentiality, the participants were not asked to put on their names and were assured that the information will only be use for the research.

Data Analysis

The needed data will be tallied, encoded, and interpreted using different statistical tools such as frequency distribution and weighted mean. These tools will be used based on the objectives of the study. Frequency distribution allows the researcher to have a glance at the data conveniently by presenting how the sample is distributed in the measurement scale. The method comprises the summation of all the products together where theoretical assumptions can be drawn.

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