Gender differences in self-esteem: A meta-analysis

Kristen C. Kling, Janet Shibley Hyde, Carolin J. Showers, Brenda N. Buswell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

927 Scopus citations


Two analyses were conducted to examine gender differences in global self-esteem. In Analysis I, a computerized literature search yielded 216 effect sizes, representing the testing of 97,121 respondents. The overall effect size was 0.21, a small difference favoring males. A significant quadratic effect of age indicated that the largest effect emerged in late adolescence (d = 0.33). In Analysis II, gender differences were examined using 3 large, nationally representative data sets from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). All of the NCES effect sizes, which collectively summarize the responses of approximately 48,000 young Americans, indicated higher male self-esteem (ds ranged from 0.04 to 0.24). Taken together, the 2 analyses provide evidence that males score higher on standard measures of global self-esteem than females, but the difference is small. Potential reasons for the small yet consistent effect size are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)470-500
Number of pages31
JournalPsychological Bulletin
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1999


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