The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES)

A 10-item, self-report questionnaire that measures the level of children’s self-esteem. The RSES inquires about children’s current feelings, using “I” statements (i.e.“I feel I have a number of good qualities…”). The items consist of five positively and five negatively worded scenarios. All ten items are answered on a 4-point scale–Strongly Agree (3), Agree (2), Disagree (1), and Strongly Disagree (0). Total possible scores range from 0 to 30, with higher scores indicative of higher levels of self-esteem. A score between 15 and 25 is considered normal, and a score below 15 is suggestive of low self-esteem. If desired, the 4-point response scale can be changed to varying point allotments (i.e. 5- or 7-point scales) that provide more response options and higher overall score totals.

Related Publications

Rousseau, C., Drapeau, A., & Rahimi, S. (2003). The complexity of trauma response: a 4-year follow-up of adolescent Cambodian refugees. Child Abuse & Neglect, 27(11), 1277-1290.

Amone-P’Olak, K., Jones, P. B., Abbott, R., Meiser-Stedman, R., Ovuga, E., & Croudace, T. J.(2013). Cohort profile: mental health following extreme trauma in northern Ugandan cohort of War-Affected Youth Study (the WAYS Study). SpringerPlus, 2(300).

Behrendt, A. (2008). Associated with the Fighting Forces in Liberia: a Cross Section Study in Lofa Country.

What it measures

Pyschosocial and emotional wellbeing


The Morris Rosenberg Foundation





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