Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale

In the field of psychology, self-esteem has been widely recognized as a critical factor influencing an individual’s mental well-being. Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale (RSES), created by Dr. Morris Rosenberg, is a renowned tool to evaluate an individual’s overall self-worth or self-esteem.

Want to find out your own RSES score? You can take the test online here. It only takes about 2 minutes, is completely free, and you don’t have to submit your email or any personally identifiable information.

Structure of the Scale

The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale consists of 10 items, aimed at assessing a person’s general sense of self-worth. These items are statements related to self-respect and self-acceptance, answered on a four-point Likert scale ranging from “Strongly Agree” to “Strongly Disagree.”

The design is intentionally simple yet highly effective, providing accurate insights into an individual’s perception of themselves.

Usage and Application

Since its inception in 1965, this scale has been widely used across various settings including academic research, clinical environments, and counseling sessions.

  1. Academic Research: Helps in studying the relationship between self-esteem and other psychological factors.
  2. Clinical Practice: Assists in diagnosing and treating mental health issues related to low self-esteem.
  3. Educational Settings: Aids in understanding students’ self-esteem which can influence academic performance and social interactions.


The scores can range from 10 to 40, with higher scores indicating higher self-esteem. A score below 15 may suggest low self-esteem, while a score above 25 often indicates healthy self-esteem.

It’s essential to recognize that interpretation may vary slightly depending on context and population, and the assistance of a trained professional in interpreting the results is often recommended.

Validity and Reliability

The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale is praised for its high reliability and validity across different cultures and age groups. It’s adaptable and has been translated into various languages.


Some criticism has been leveled at the scale for its focus on global self-esteem rather than more nuanced aspects of self-concept. However, its broad application and consistent performance outweigh these concerns for most practitioners.


Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale stands as a seminal contribution to psychological assessments, playing an instrumental role in our understanding of self-esteem. It has survived the test of time and remains a first-choice tool for many professionals in various fields.

While it may not capture every nuance of an individual’s self-esteem, its accessibility, reliability, and effectiveness ensure its place as an invaluable tool for assessing this fundamental aspect of human psychology. It continues to provide a robust foundation for research, therapy, and personal development, shaping the way we approach and understand the concept of self-worth.

The scale’s brilliance lies in its simplicity and its ability to cut through the clutter to provide insights into something as complex as human self-esteem. Like a well-crafted knife, it does exactly what it is supposed to do – no more, no less. That’s why, after more than five decades, Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale remains a key tool in the kit of psychologists, therapists, and educators worldwide.

2 thoughts on “Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale”

  1. I just don’t think a quick quiz like this where you answer 10 questions can really measure a person’s self-esteem. It’s so much more complex than what can be captured by asking a bunch of questions with agree or disagree.

    • Hi Nancy,
      Thanks for your comment. I agree that the Rosenberg Scale can’t really measure self-esteem. That being said, within a certain context it can still be useful. If for example you’re doing a therapeutic intervention, or you want to gauge the impact certain events or activities have on a person’s self-esteem, and you want to do so in a somewhat replicable way across a larger group of people, then Rosenberg’s self-esteem scale can be a good to establish an individual baseline, and assess changes over time. Is it perfect? No, far from it, all kinds of factors go into it that aren’t taken properly into account here, from things like extreme oversimplification to the fact that a person who might undergo therapy could be biased to answer the questions in a more positive way because they want to believe that what they did and invested all that time in actually had some positive effect on them, or even just liking the therapist and not wanting to be a disappointment. So my approach would be to still use it, but be aware of its inherent limitations and flaws.


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