Survey Variable: Self-Esteem

Figure 1. See also Table A1.

How people think and feel about themselves can be an important factor in shaping their behaviour, both in terms of political participation and more widely. One particularly important factor may be whether you hold yourself in high regard: those who think of themselves as having high levels of ability may be more confident, and this may help them to get involved in a range of contexts. In this light, the survey asked respondents how true the following statement is of them: “I have high self-esteem.” As Figure 1 (above, using weighted data) shows, people generally hold themselves in moderately high regard.[1] A plurality of more than a quarter (28.4%) place themselves just above the half-way point on the scale, and more than half of people (55.3%) place themselves in the upper half of the scale. More than one in five (22.8%) opt for the middle point on the scale, meaning that a further one in five (21.8%) indicate lower levels of self-esteem. Thus, most people think of themselves as being able and having a good level of worth, without going as far as to think very highly of themselves. People without these levels of moderate-to-high self-esteem are in a minority but, as we will investigate, may be disproportionately represented amongst those who undertake little political activity.


[1] The variable has no missing values and there was no need to recode or combine it with any other variables. As such, there is also no need to transform it or combine it in order to offer a different perspective (e.g. by taking an average or counting the answers alongside answers to other questions) when describing the results.

Published by joegreenwoodhau

Joe Greenwood-Hau is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Government & Public Policy at the University of Strathclyde, where he works on the Capital, Privilege and Political Participation in Britain and Beyond project.

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