Recent scholars have dismissed the utility of self-esteem as well as programs designed to improve it. The authors challenge these contentions on conceptual, methodological, and empirical grounds. They begin by proposing that the scope of recent analyses has been overly narrow and should be broadened to include specific as well as global self-views. Using this conceptualization, the authors place recent critiques in historical context, recalling that similarly skeptical commentaries on global attitudes and traits inspired theorizing and empirical research that subsequently restored faith in the value of both constructs. Specifically, they point to 3 strategies for attaining more optimistic assessments of the predictive validity of self-views: recognizing the utility of incorporating additional variables in predictive schemes, matching the specificity of predictors and criteria, and using theoretically informed standards for evaluating predictor- criterion relationships. The authors conclude that self-views do matter and that it is worthwhile and important to develop and implement theoretically informed programs to improve them.
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