Validation of the Chinese version of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale: evidence from a three-wave longitudinal study

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Background: The 10-item Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) is a widely used tool for individuals to self-report their self-esteem; however, the factorial structures of translated versions of the RSES vary across different languages. This study aimed to validate the Chinese version of the RSES in the Chinese mainland using a longitudinal design. Methods: A group of healthcare university students completed the RSES across three waves: baseline, 1-week follow-up, and 15-week follow-up. A total of 481 valid responses were collected through the three-wave data collection process. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was performed on the baseline data to explore the potential factorial structure, while confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was performed on the follow-up data to determine the best-fit model. Additionally, the cross-sectional and longitudinal measurement invariances were tested to assess the measurement properties of the RSES for different groups, such as gender and age, as well as across different time points. Convergent validity was assessed against the Self-Rated Health Questionnaire (SRHQ) using Spearman’s correlation. Internal consistency was examined using Cronbach’s alpha and McDonald’s omega coefficients, while test–retest reliability was assessed using intraclass correlation coefficient. Results: The results of EFA revealed that Items 5, 8, and 9 had inadequate or cross-factor loadings, leading to their removal from further analysis. Analysis of the remaining seven items using EFA suggested a two-factor solution. A comparison of several potential models for the 10-item and 7-item RSES using CFA showed a preference for the 7-item form (RSES-7) with two factors. Furthermore, the RSES-7 exhibited strict invariance across different groups and time points, indicating its stability and consistency. The RSES-7 also demonstrated adequate convergent validity, internal consistency, and test–retest reliability, which further supported its robustness as a measure of self-esteem. Conclusions: The findings suggest that the RSES-7 is a psychometrically sound and brief self-report scale for measuring self-esteem in the Chinese context. More studies are warranted to further verify its usability.

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BMC Psychology



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