Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


Higher Education Administration PhD

First Advisor

Jerome D. Thayer

Second Advisor

Thesba N. Johnston

Third Advisor

Robert Fadeley


Problem. Counseling researchers and practitioners studying the self-esteem construct have had difficulty conducting consistent assessments. Varying approaches have led to ambiguous findings and inconsistent client assessments. There was a primary need for combining a clearly defined self-esteem construct with accepted methods of assessing clients. The instrument containing the combined assessment techniques was identified as the Self Esteem Protocol.

Methods. The preliminary phase of research consisted of developing 60 items for the Protocol by combining Maslow's self-esteem construct with acceptable assessment techniques. The items combined techniques by using a structured interview, test scores, and counselor observations. Six professional counselors previewed the items and made recommendations which facilitated Protocol development. Protocol evaluations were conducted with 128 members of the American Psychological Association, Division of Counseling Psychology. The 128 evaluators comprised three successive, random samples of 19, 58, and 51, respectively.

Results. Three assessment techniques were effectively combined in the Protocol. Evaluations from the first sample indicated that 27 items were appropriate for the study. Evaluations from the second sample indicated that the 27 items were appropriate for study in combination with client information. Evaluations from the third sample indicated that counselors could use the Protocol to estimate a client's self-esteem. The third sample also provided information about the Protocol's potential utility with various types of counselors. Protocol validity was based on evaluator agreement about Protocol usage.

Conclusions. This study was able to overcome validity hurdles by uniting theory and practice. Evaluation data demonstrated that the self-esteem construct was effectively utilized in the Protocol. The construct used in the Protocol does not represent all possibilities of self-esteem but rather commonalties accepted by the evaluators and consonant with theory.

Subject Area


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