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RehabMeasures Instrument

Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale

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The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale is a 10-item self-report measure of global self-esteem. It consists of 10 statements related to overall feelings of self-worth or self-acceptance. The items are answered on a four-point scale ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree.

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Instrument Details

Acronym RSES

Area of Assessment

Mental Health
Negative Affect
Positive Affect

Assessment Type

Patient Reported Outcomes

Administration Mode





  • Brain Injury Recovery
  • Cardiac Dysfunction
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Stroke Recovery

Key Descriptions

  • The RSES is commonly scored as a Likert scale.
  • The 10 items are answered on a four-point scale ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree.
  • To score the items, assign a value to each of the 10 items according to the instructions below:
  • For items 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7:
    A) Strongly Agree = 3
    B) Agree = 2
    C) Disagree = 1
    D) Strongly Disagree = 0
  • For items 3, 5, 8, 9, and 10 (reversed in valence):
    A) Strongly Agree = 0
    B) Agree = 1
    C) Disagree = 2
    D) Strongly Disagree = 3
  • The scale ranges from 0-30, with 30 indicating the highest score possible. Other scoring options are possible. For example, you may assign values 1-4 rather than 0-3; then scores will range from 10-40. Some researchers use 5- or 7-point Likert scales, and again, scale ranges would vary based on the addition of "middle" categories of agreement.

Number of Items


Equipment Required

  • Computer or Pencil

Time to Administer

less than 5 minutes

Required Training

No Training

Age Ranges


13 - 17



18 - 64


Elderly Adult

65 +


Instrument Reviewers

Initially reviewed by Timothy P Janikowski, PhD and his University at Buffalo Rehabilitation Counseling Master’s students, Tamika Hunter, Paul Ketterer & Carol Meer in 10/2014

ICF Domain


Measurement Domain



There were numerous discussions of looking at this RSES as a two dimensional model for positive and negative self-esteem versus the established Uni-dimensional Model of global self-esteem. Also, need for more research with disability populations. Also consider change in item scoring strategy using a 7 point likert rating scale that accounts for middle areas and no opinion options.

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Non-Specific Patient Population

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Standard Error of Measurement (SEM)

High School Students/Adolescents, Elderly In Taiwan, Heart Disease, Severe Mental Illness, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities,  University Students, Lower Limb Amputations, TBI, SCI, Stroke, Burn Victims, Substance Abuse, Single Parent Homes, Two Parent Homes, Different Family Member Homes, Across 53 Nations


Ex-prisoners: (Boduszek et al., 2013; , = 699)

  • SEM = .48

Cut-Off Scores

View at:


0-15 Low Self Esteem, 15-25 Normal Self-Esteem, 25-30 High Self-Esteem

Normative Data

This measure has been administered across many populations, nations, age ranges, and races. Studies have demonstrated both a unidimensional and a two-factor structure to the scale.

Test/Retest Reliability

High school juniors and seniors: (Rosenberg, 1965; = 5,024 )

  • Excellent test-retest reliability (ICC = 0.85 - 0.89)

Internal Consistency

University students in Spain: (Martin-Albo et. al, 2007; = 415)

  • Excellent internal consistency (ICC = 0.85 - 0.88) 

Criterion Validity (Predictive/Concurrent)

High school students:(Myers and Winters, 2002; = 1686) 

  • Excellent concurrent validity (0.77 to 0.88)

Construct Validity

High school juniors and seniors: (Rosenberg, 1965; = 5024 ) 

  • Excellent correlation with anxiety (-0.64)

  • Adequate correlation with depression (-0.54) and anome (- 0.43)

Content Validity

The items are a list of statements about an individual’s current feelings about oneself. There are 5 positively worded items and 5 negatively worded items. Each of the 10 items was shown to be differentially related to self-esteem (Gray-Little et al., 1997).

Face Validity

The use of self-report Likert type items is typical of self-report personality measures.

Floor/Ceiling Effects

One Study suggested that high levels of reported self-esteem is hard to differentiate, especially if a person has Narcissistic Personality , with p = .79-.89 (Roth, Decker, Herzberg & Brahler, 2008)


Gray-Little, Bernadette, Williams, Valerie SL, & Hancock, Timothy D. (1997). An item response theory analysis of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23(5), 443-451. 

Martin-Albo, J., Nuniez, J. L., Navarro, J. G., & Grijalvo, F. (2007). The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale: translation and validation in university students. Span J Psychol, 10(2), 458-467. 

Myers, Kathleen, & Winters, Nancy C. (2002). Ten-year review of rating scales. II: Scales for internalizing disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 41(6), 634-659. 

Rosenberg, Morris. (1965). Rosenberg self-esteem scale (RSE). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Measures Package, 61. 

Roth, Marcus, Decker, Oliver, Herzberg, Philipp Yorck, & Brähler, Elmar. (2008). Dimensionality and norms of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale in a German general population sample. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 24(3), 190.