Self-esteem among Jamaican children: Exploring the impact of skin color and rural/urban residence

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This study investigates the extent to which two different models predict the relation of self-esteem to skin color and rural/urban residence among Jamaican children. To explain this relation, Crocker and Major's Self-protective hypothesis and Harter's Additive model were examined among 200 African-Caribbean children from rural (n = 85) and urban (n = 115) elementary schools in eastern Jamaica. Support was found for both of these models. Specifically, the Self-protective hypothesis predicted higher self-esteem among rural children and the Additive model predicted higher self-esteem among older children for whom self-identification and ideal self skin color were both White. Implications for Jamaican children are discussed followed by potential application to other children of African descent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-359
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported, in part, by various funding sources from Williams College. We thank Allison Herling for her participation in this study as an interviewer and we extend appreciation to the staff and students of the participating Jamaican schools for their kind co-operation. A report based on different data from the same database was published in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology.

Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Black
  • Jamaican
  • Rural/urban
  • Self-esteem
  • Skin color
  • Social stigma


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