Mean-level change and intraindividual variability in self-esteem and depression among high-risk children

Jungmeen Kim, Dante Cicchetti

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15 Scopus citations


This study investigated mean-level changes and intraindividual variability of self-esteem among maltreated (N = 142) and nonmaltreated (N = 109) school-aged children from low-income families. Longitudinal factor analysis revealed higher temporal stability of self-esteem among maltreated children compared to nonmaltreated children. Cross-domain latent growth curve models indicated that nonmaltreated children showed higher initial levels and greater increases in self-esteem than maltreated children, and that the initial levels of self-esteem were significantly associated with depressive symptoms among maltreated and nonmaltreated children. The average level (mean of repeated measurements) of self-esteem was predictive of depression at the final occasion for both maltreated and nonmaltreated children. For nonmaltreated children intraindividual variability of self-esteem had a direct contribution to prediction of depression. The findings enhance our understanding of developmental changes in self-esteem and the role of the average level and within-person variability of self-esteem in predicting depressive symptoms among high-risk children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-214
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009


  • Depressive symptoms
  • Intraindividual variability
  • Mean-level change
  • Self-esteem


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