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Aim of the Study

By definition, self-esteem refers to the reflection of a person’s general subjective emotional assessment in regards to their own worth (Mark, 2003). On the other hand, self-presentation refers to the cautious steps undertaken by an individual to act in manners that create a given impression that in most instances is favorable to oneself (Sandal et al, 2011). In most instances, people struggle to get the best out of them (Blascovich & Tomaka, 1991). For instance, individuals aspire to be at the top in terms of dressing, language, and everything that they present to others (Toma, 2010). This is pushed by the notion that the more attractive an individual is, the more persuasive he/ she becomes (Elliott, 1982). For instance, a more attractive lawyer is believed to win more cases compared to the one that's not (Rui & Stefanone, 2013). As well, people who are well presented in their places of work in terms of dressing, presentation, and language are likely to be accorded more respect and better treatment at their places of work relative to those who are not in their level of presentation (Kramer, 2008). As a result, this likely impacts one's productivity at workplaces and lowers the general self-esteem of an individual (Heeman & Zizi, 2003). The self-presentation factor is influenced by several issues. Among the major issues are the person's self-esteem and its influencing factors (Lee-Won, 2014). Specifically, self-esteem is proven to moderate the impact of self-presentation in different sectors such as social media sites (Sprecher, 2013). Several past works of literature support the association between self-representation and self-esteem. Leary established that private-self-esteem is at the center of the system that keeps check of the relational values. As well, it was discovered that public self-presentation acts as a primary ground for the enhancement and maintenance of one’s relational value to others (White, Cutello, Gummerum, & Hanoch, 2018). This according to Tice (1992), substantially differs based on the culture in which case, the statement applies while in others, it does not. In a different study by Soraya (2010), the cultural environment including the people one interacts with at home, work, and school and their corresponding beliefs and expectations on an individual determines substantially the level of self-esteem and self-monitoring (presentation) as well as the association between the two.

While several studies have been conducted regarding self-presentation and self-esteem, dissimilar results are arrived at hence difficulty in making a meaningful conclusion thus creating a research gap. In line with the gap, this study is set to establish the influence of culture on the association between self-esteem and self-monitoring.

Study Questions

The study aimed to:

  1. Establish the association between self-esteem and self-presentation in Australia.
  2. Discover the relationship between self-esteem and self-presentation in Malaysia.
  3. Make a prediction regarding the difference in the association between self-presentation and self-culture between Australia and Malaysia.
  1. Is there a significant association between self-esteem and self-presentation in Australia?
  2. Is there a significant correlation between self-presentation and self-esteem in Malaysia?
  3. Does culture play a significant role in the relationship between self-esteem and self-presentation?
  1. There is a significant association between self-esteem and self-presentation among the Australian race.
  2. There is a significant association between self-esteem and self-presentation among the Malaysian race.
  3. Race plays an evident role in the association between self-esteem and self-presentation.

The study population was the psychology students from the Clayton and Caulfield (Australia) and Sunway (Malaysia) campuses of Monash University. From this, a total sample of 588 was acquired and used for the study.

This was a non-experimental empirical study design. The participating students were presented with the self-esteem and self-presentation questionnaires which formed the independent and dependent variables respectively.

The study had two materials: The self-monitoring scale (Snyder, 1974) that measures self-presentation and Rosenberg scale for measuring self-esteem. The participants were also presented with the demographic tool through which they stated their countries of origin, an important factor in establishing their cultural identity.

Before the study, ethical approval was granted by the Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (MUHREC). Thereafter, every participant was presented with the Self-monitoring scale and Rosenberg self-esteem (Rosenberg scale) which they filled. In accordance with the usual online survey practice, every participant was informed that this was a voluntary study and that they had the choice to withdraw from the study after that as responses were provided anonymously. The survey submission was considered as consent and hence it was not possible to withdraw from the study after the anonymous provision of responses.  

Data exploration was performed on the self-esteem and self-presentation variables. The recorded average score of self-presentation (M = 12.44, SD = 4.06) was lower than that of the self-esteem score (M = 18.88, SD = 5.09). The minimum and maximum scores of self-presentation were 1 and 23 respectively while that for self-esteem were 3 and 30 correspondingly. Both self-esteem and self-presentation were skewed to the left indicating that the data was not normally distributed and that most students recorded high scores for the two. This non-normality was further confirmed by the Kolmogorov-Smirnov that displayed a p-value of less than 5% level of significance for the two variables. These distributions are presented using the following histograms.

 Histogram for self-monitoring

Fig 1. Histogram for self-monitoring

Histogram for self-esteem

Fig 2. Histogram for self-esteem

The first test of association involved self-esteem and self-presentation without partitioning to countries and this is presented below.

Scatter plot for self-presentation vs self-esteem

Fig 3. Scatter plot for self-presentation vs self-esteem

There was displayed a positive association between self-esteem and self-monitoring implying that the level of self-monitoring increased with the value of self-esteem.

Next, an inferential Pearson correlation was tested for the association between self-monitoring and self-esteem among Australian and Malaysian students. There was established a weak insignificant negative relationship between the variables in Australia (r = -.04, p = .36) hence the hypothetical statement was rejected. In contrast, there was established a weak average significant positive association between self-monitoring and self-esteem among Malaysian students (r = .19, p = .03) thus leading to the acceptance of the hypothetical statement that the two variables are substantially associated.

Study Hypotheses

Discussion and Conclusion

The study sought to establish the association between self-esteem and self-monitoring across cultures, a case study that involved Australia and Malaysia. It was established a non-insignificant association between self-esteem and self-monitoring (presentation) in Australia hence, the statement that "There is a significant association between self-monitoring (presentation) and self-esteem in Australia” is rejected. In contrast, there was discovered a significant association between self-monitoring and self-esteem in Malaysia hence the statement that “There is a significant association between self-monitoring (presentation) and self-esteem in Australia” is accepted. This has confirmed the existence of cultural differences in the association between self-esteem and self-monitoring (presentation) between the Australian and Malaysian races. In comparison to the past works of literature, then this study result is similar to the one by Wonseok and colleagues (2018) who discovered that though there exists a relationship between self-esteem and self-presentation (monitoring), the level of significance and the direction of such association was dependent upon cultural background of an individual. Particularly, as discovered by Anna and Herbert (2017) stated that the standard code of physical presentation, as well as the type of cultural perception, influences the relationship between self-monitoring and self-esteem. For instance, there are cultures where people are less concerned regarding the physical appearance of others and thus have a better way of handling everyone (Jungsik, Seongsoo, & Wansuk, 2010). In such cultures, matters pertaining to self-esteem and self-monitoring are rare hence insignificant association between these two variables (Elmira & Oxana, 2017). In contrast, cultures that are highly sensitive to physical appearance and self-presentation tend to portray a stronger association between self-esteem and self-presentation hence explaining the difference between Malaysian and Australian students (Meeus, Beullens, & Eggermont, 2019). Therefore, this leads to the conclusion that culture is a substantial factor in establishing the relationship between self-esteem and self-monitoring.

This study was however limited to the error of omission where only culture is tested despite having many substantial influencers of the relationship between self-monitoring and self-esteem like gender and age. Therefore, I suggest a further study that will take into consideration many influencers of the association between self-esteem and self-monitoring which will involve univariate ANOVA.

In conclusion, the study established an insignificant association between self-esteem and self-monitoring among the Australian students and a significant association between self-esteem and self-monitoring among the Malaysian students. Therefore, this confirms the evidence that cultural background has a substantial impact on self-monitoring and self-esteem among people. The study results are important not only for the study purposes but also in addressing the influence of culture in self-presentation. It can therefore be used alongside other works of literature to set up a future study on the influence of culture on the above psychological factors. Hence, alongside other studies, a conclusion regarding the exact influence of culture on self-esteem and self-monitoring can be established.

Methodology

References

Anna, M., & Herbert, S. (2017). The Long-Term Benefits of Positive Self-Presentation via Profile Pictures, Number of Friends and the Initiation of Relationships on Facebook for Adolescents’ Self-Esteem and the Initiation of Offline Relationships. Frontiers in Psychology.

Blascovich, J., & Tomaka, J. (1991). Measures of self-esteem. In J. P. Robinson, P. R. Shaver & L. S. Wrightsman (Eds.). Measures of personality and social psychological attitudes, pp. 115-160.

Elliott, G. C. (1982). Self-esteem and self-presentation among the young as a function of age and gender. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 135-153.

Elmira, D., & Oxana, T. (2017). Exploring the relationships between self-presentation and self-esteem of mothers in social media in Russia. Computers in Human Behavior, 73, 20-27.

Heeman, K., & Zizi, P. (2003). Cross-cultural Differences in Online Self-Presentation: A Content Analysis of Personal Korean and US Home pages. Asian Journal of communication, 13(1).

Jungsik, K., Seongsoo, L., & Wansuk, G. (2010). Culture and self-presentation: Influence of social interactions in an expected social relationship. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 14(1), 63-74.

Kramer, N. C. (2008). Impression management 2.0: The relationship of self-esteem, extraversion, self-efficacy, and self-presentation within social networking sites. Journal of Media Psychology, 20, 106-116.

Leary, M. R. (2004). The Self We Know and the Self We Show: Self-esteem, Self-presentation, and the Maintenance of Interpersonal Relationships. In M. B. Brewer & M. Hewstone (Eds.). Emotion and motivation, 204–224.

Lee-Won, R. J. (2014). Who puts the best "face" forward on Facebook?: Positive self-presentation in online social networking and the role of self-consciousness, actual-to-total friends ratio, and culture. Computers in Human Behavior, 39, 413-423.

Mark, R. L. (2003). The Self We Know and the Self We Show: Self-esteem, Self-presentation, and the Maintenance of Interpersonal Relationships.

Meeus, A., Beullens, K., & Eggermont, S. (2019). Like me (please?): Connecting online self-presentation to pre-and early adolescents' self-esteem. 2019;21(11-12):. New Media & Society, 21(11-12), 2386-2403.

Mehdizadeh, S. (2010). Self-presentation 2.0: narcissism and self-esteem on Facebook. Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw, 13(4), 357-64.

Rui, J., & Stefanone, M. A. (2013). Strategic self-presentation online: A cross-cultural study. Computers in Human Behaviour, 29, 110-118.

Sandal et al. (2011). Personal values and intended self-presentation during job interviews: A cross-cultural comparison. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 60(1), 160-182.

Snyder, M. (1974). Self-monitoring of expressive behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 30, 526-537.

Sprecher, S. B. (2013). Self-esteem among young adults: Differences and similarities based on gender, race, and cohort (1990-2012). Sex Roles, 264-275.

Tice, D. (1992). Self-concept change and self-presentation: the looking glass self is also a magnifying glass. J Pers Soc Psychol, 63(3), 435-51.

Toma, C. (2010). Affirming the self through online profiles: Beneficial effects of social networking sites. 1749-1752.

White, C., Cutello, C., Gummerum, M., & Hanoch, Y. (2018). A Cross-Cultural Study of Risky Online Self-Presentation. Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw, 21(1), 25-31.

Wonseok, J., Erik, P. J., & Janice, C. (2018). Self-esteem moderates the influence of self-presentation style on Facebook users’ sense of subjective well-being. Computers in Human Behavior, 85, 190-199. 

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